Three male students at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, sexually assaulted a female student, then distributed video of the assault. The woman filed a formal complaint with the school's judicial affairs office, and, after a series of hearings, the director of judicial affairs found the three men "responsible for sexual assault and sexual harassment, punishing them with expulsion after graduation. The men would not be allowed to walk at commencement and were prohibited from coming to campus after they got their degrees."
Got that? They'll be expelled after they graduate.
The unusual "expulsion after graduation" sanction allowed two of the men to graduate on time in May. The third plans to remain on campus for his senior year in 2014-15.The woman subsequently filed a complaint with "federal officials about the school's handling of the attack," which "has prompted an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights." This, after she was obliged to go through an appeals process with the university, which resulted in the upholding of the original post-graduation expulsion ruling.
Throughout the course of trying to find some kind of real justice, her grades slipped, causing her to lose her financial aid, and she has had to withdraw from the university.
[S]he filed a complaint with the Education Department on April 30, because of the sanction and because she believed the men were afforded more rights than she was, allowing them more time to file appeals and more access to relevant documents. She said the fears the school's response will prevent other sexual assault victims from coming forward.After the university gave three sexual predators what is effectively a suspended sentence, and forced their victim through a ringer that resulted in her having to leave university, which will certainly deter other female students from even bothering to report being assaulted, this is the breathtaking statement from JMU, care of university spokesperson Bill Wyatt: "James Madison University takes very seriously any allegation of sexual assault and is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for every member of the JMU community."
"What is a girl going to think that I had video proof and I still have to see these boys on campus?" [she] asked. "How would she ever feel comfortable coming forward?"
Nope and nope. That is audacious garbage. If JMU's administration understood, or cared about, the most basic thing about sexual predators—that is, that predators prey—they would not even try to send out a spokesperson to claim with a straight face that allowing predators to stay on campus is indicative of a commitment "to providing a safe and inclusive environment."
They are simply banking on the fact that most people will look at this case and assume it's yet another case of "good boys making a bad decision," that it was all just a mistake, a big misunderstanding. That is, if they aren't busy just calling the victim an outright liar.
JMU is actively abetting rapists, by allowing them to stay on campus and by discouraging victims from reporting.
Lisa Maatz, vice president of government relations at the American Association of University Women, said the sanction undermines campus safety and sends the wrong message.And they're doing it so brazenly, it's hard to believe that's not precisely the point.
"What if they rape another woman while they're allowed to finish their degrees? When this type of outcome happens, it seems like the school has dismissed the survivor's very real trauma and negated her courage in coming forward," Maatz said.