Some Williams Alumni Ask College To Mandate Expulsion For Rape

BOSTON — Williams College is coming under growing pressure from alumni who are pushing for the school to expel students who commit sexual assaults.

The petition was started by Lexie Brackenridge, who as a freshman two years ago reported to Williams that she was raped.

The college found that her alleged assailant violated its policy on sexual misconduct, and suspended him for three semesters.

Brackenridge’s petition asks Williams to change its policy to mandatory expulsion for rape, for attempted rape when the assailant tries to get the victim drunk, and for repeat offenders.

More than 600 people, including alumni and parents of current students, have signed the petition so far.

Sarah Bolton, a dean at Williams, says in a letter on the school’s website that mandatory expulsion for sexual assault can result in social pressure that discourages survivors from reporting and makes school officials less likely to find assailants culpable.

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  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    Expulsion after felony conviction in a criminal court, I assume?

    • http://www.wbur.org/people/fthys Fred Thys

      The petition asks for mandatory expulsion after a factual finding of rape by the college.

  • Howard Carter

    I am just not buying the ‘more people will report rape if they know we may let their assailant back on campus’ logic. I find it shocking that there is even a discussion of allowing an individual who is found guilty of rape in a campus forum back on campus. If you find that a student raped someone… expel them. The fact that I even have to write such a thing boggles my mind.

    • rjmcmahon

      Hi Howard,

      I’d probably lean towards expulsion but I’d want to know more first. In some ways a mandated expulsion merely shifts the problem to somebody else. I guess I’d like to know if there are any programs that are effective towards reducing recidivism. http://sapac.umich.edu/article/198

  • Kristina S

    I completely agree for repeat offenders and those who use drugs to deceive the victim.

    For all other situations, this is such a delicate situation. On one hand, the victim should be free to not confront their rapest, and should not have to change schools. However, a person guilty of sexual assault still has the right to earn a degree. We must also face the fact that sexual assault and violence toward women is often learned through cultural experience.

    If universities choose to transfer or expel convicted rapists, they should first implement awareness training and clear communication of zero tolerance. And women/men must not exploit the policy to revenge unrelated harms.

    • rjmcmahon

      I wonder about a few things:

      o Will expulsion deter the behavior by perpetrators?
      o Does expulsion merely push the problem to somebody and somewhere else?
      o Does expulsion play into a cultural belief that we can create a world without criminal by removal vs. behavioral techniques?

      My thoughts are do the most effective things to reduce campus sexual assault for all campuses, i.e. reduce the nationwide numbers. I don’t know what those are but one instinct suggests publicly listing the sexual offenders names to all college campuses that agree to abide by the same policies.

  • 1kenthomas

    The knee-jerk idea that pressing criminal charges is likely to get anywhere useful… reveals a lack of knowledge of the judicial system, at best. A reported rape is unlikely to be prosecuted; if prosecuted, said prosecution is likely to be a far more difficult affair for the victim, than the accused; and in the end, given juries today, the chance of actual prosecution is low.
    That is not justice.

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