Students “Stand with Lena” against Brown’s sexual assault policy

Yesterday, at about 11:00 a.m., some 50 students and community members gathered at the Van Wickle Gates to hear Lena Sclove ‘15.5 speak about her experience as a rape victim at Brown. The above is a video recording of her speech, in which Lena discusses the attack, reporting the sexual assault, pursuing disciplinary action, and the ultimate decision of the administration to suspend her rapist for only one year. Despite her having appealed the decision, he will be back next fall, while she still has three semesters left at Brown. For more information, read The Herald’s article here, and Bluestockings Magazine’s response to the press conference here.

A petition has been started by students that asks the university to require “anyone found responsible for sexual misconduct be suspended until the person they have assaulted graduates, or until two years have passed (whichever is longer).”

Dean Klawunn sent out an email yesterday afternoon, acknowledging that “important discussions of sexual assault awareness, prevention, and related conduct policies are taking place at Brown and on campuses across the country,” and stating that today’s Brown University Community Council meeting will discuss the university’s policies regarding sexual assault. The meeting will be from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in Hillel, and it’s open to all interested students.

1 Comment

  1. Bianca Figueroa-Santana

    I am a Brown alumna (currently at Columbia law). I was completely devastated to read the article on the Huffington post about Lena’s assault. I cannot attend the Community Council Meeting for logistical reasons, but I’ve pasted below an email I wrote to Ms. Klawunn this morning. I would be much obliged if someone would read it out loud at the Council Meeting. I think it’s important to have alumni voices heard. Brown’s response tarnishes our reputation as a whole, and I’d like the administration to know that the eyes of alumni are watching and that we expect the University to do the right thing. As an alumna, I stand with Lena.

    Dear Ms. Klawunn,

    I read this morning about Brown’s appalling response to sexual violence on campus (namely, the lenient sanctions imposed on a violent rapist). I am currently a graduate student at Columbia, which confronted similar outrage from its student body about a month ago. I distinctly remember thinking at that time that, given our values and strong sense of community ethics at Brown, my alma mater would be the Ivy League to watch for progressive, sensitive responses towards sexual violence.

    Unfortunately, I have been disappointed. It shames me to check my email in the morning and discover several [“several” originally italicized] emails from colleagues, classmates, and friends with links to the following article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/23/brown-university-rapist-strangle_n_5201644.html. As someone who has always spoken highly of Brown and credited Brown with much of her success, it hurts me to lose respect for our great institution. It is not Brown’s fault that sexual violence occurs on campus–sexual violence occurs everywhere–but by readmitting sexual predators Brown abdicates its responsibility to its student body and sows injustice.

    When will the leading institutions of our nation take a hard line against clearly criminal behavior? When will Brown choose not to be complicit in sexual violence? Until then Brown will only merit my qualified respect.

    Sincerely,
    Bianca Figueroa-Santana

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