As many of you already know, a student who was determined by our university to be guilty of rape is returning to campus Fall Term 2015. This stirs up many thoughts and feelings for everyone; we as a campus are all affected by his return. He has been deemed “recovered” by the administration, because he met the counseling requirement of the university’s policy.
I think we all have to ask ourselves if someone can become a better person by being forced into counseling. Is a year enough time to change 20 years of being the person who raped one of our own? The university would rather try to fix the rapist with a year of suspension and obligatory “learning” instead of protecting the student population.
This individual defended his innocence throughout the judicial and university processes. Ultimately, he was suspended until the survivor graduated, which will occur this spring. The big question is, why put all Lawrence students in danger by letting him return? Why does the university put students’ safety in jeopardy by granting second chances for people previously determined guilty by the Lawrence system?
It seems that stress could be avoided for many people on this campus if we instated a zero tolerance policy. We need to start realizing the severity of this crime, and respecting the victims and survivors involved by standing by them and turning rapists away from our campus. I want all survivors at Lawrence to know that I believe you and I stand by you.
It’s time for a change.
— A member of Student Alliance Against Sexual Harassment and Assault (SAASHA)