Op-ed: ‘Not a threat’
Read a letter from our editor, Sam Seekings, about this submission here.
Content warning: This article contains sensitive language regarding physical and sexual violence.
You have probably read about how terrible the school’s reporting process is for Title IX, and that is unquestioningly true. I want to discuss for a minute how it hurts not only the people reporting, but causes active threats to remain on campus, as well as the failures of so many offices across this campus to stop a serial offender from continuing to hurt female students.
There is a student on this campus who has physically assaulted me and several other students, all female. For me, he sprained my wrist and, in a separate instance, choked me until I passed out. For others, he pinned them down and thrusts against them until they do what he wants them to do (according to Title IX this is physical, not sexual assault). He has also sexually assaulted and/or raped multiple women. If I know of multiple instances, I imagine that there are several I don’t know about, but that is not why I am writing this today. My issue now is that he continues to do it to this day, with instances as frequent as last weekend. I gave my statement regarding him to the Washington University Police Department in early February. As of the time I gave my statement, Washington University had been alerted of multiple victims of rape or attempted rape, as well as physical assaults by this individual since his first year. I had myself contacted several members of the Office of Residential Life to warn them of my concerns regarding this individual’s behavior months before this incident, again to no visible response. WUPD finally appeared to respond when this person was overheard planning to murder his ex and her current boyfriend.
A week after this event, I was contacted by the chief of police himself, telling me that they had taken him to Student Health Services for a mental health evaluation and was found to be “not a threat” to himself or others. They passed my case along to the Office of Student Conduct.
Tuesday, April 10, I was contacted by an underclassman I trust, telling me that he sexually assaulted her friend last weekend. I still had not heard back about my case from the Office of Student Conduct, so I walked into the office to ask why he was able to do this. I was given a meeting where the person I spoke to seemed far more concerned about my emotional state than the fact that they have taken no action on a very real threat to students’ safety. He spoke to the male friend I brought with me about how best to calm me down.
I went into the Office of Student Conduct to find answers. How was this happening? I’d told them everything I knew months ago. Why is he still here, on campus, assaulting women? Why had they not returned my call from a week beforehand when I asked about the status of my case? I got no answers. I was just told that they were “familiar with this individual.”
There are so many offices on campus that know about him. There are so many offices that have done nothing to prevent a serial offender from continuing to hurt people. These offices include: Student Health Services, WUPD, Title IX and Student Conduct.
Yet he’s “not a threat.” Yet he was still able to sexually assault someone in the last week.
I’ve tried doing this the right way, I really have. But I can’t let people get raped because I try to go through the right channels. There has to be a way the University can keep students safe from known threats.
He’s still here and he’s still dangerous.