To Nancy Truesdell and Mark Burstein,
Thomas Skoog was arrested for possession of child pornography. Lawrence University left a rapist unchecked and, without fear of repercussion, he continued to commit sex crimes because Lawrence taught him there were no consequences for his actions. Today, my head has been swimming with unanswered questions about the extreme oversight that lead to this sex offender being allowed to commit more crimes. I have written down just a few of the more pressing questions here, but first, I would like to lay down some of the assumptions I’m working off of.
My first assumption is that this crime is a direct result of Thomas Skoog being allowed back on campus. Without real, tangible consequences for his crimes, his actions had no weight, and he was given license to continue committing crimes without fear of repercussion or need for self-reflection.
Second, the Lawrence University administration must have been able to foresee this outcome when they let Thomas Skoog back on campus. This assumption is based on the fact that the student body absolutely saw this coming. When we discussed Thomas Skoog, we discussed him as an active threat to our campus and the larger Appleton community. These concerns were also voiced to the administration. The administration has no excuse for not seeing this coming because everyone else did and made their voices heard.
Based on these assumptions, here are my questions:
- If a crime is not only foreseeable but also preventable, why would you choose not to prevent it?
- When a student body screams, “We don’t want a rapist on our campus,” why would you choose not to listen?
- The administration understood that bringing a rapist back to campus would lead to more sex crimes and decided that was inconsequential. Who is going to hold themselves accountable for this?
- This crime was preventable and Lawrence University administration had the power to prevent it, so the administrators are complicit in the crime. Who in the administration will take on that responsibility?
- What consequences will there be for those that made the decision to return Thomas Skoog to campus?
- Who, at an individual level, will own this mistake? Or will Lawrence continue its pattern of letting those responsible for crimes go unchecked?
- What shifts in the way the administration conducts itself will prevent a mistake of this magnitude from ever occurring again?
- Going forward, how will the administration make a more concerted effort to listen to its student body and make decisions based on our concerns?
— Leo Leventhal, class of 2018