It’s a sad thing that it’s not surprising when a major university has a shitty response to a sexual assault. Jezebel recently listed 55 schools which are under federal investigation for poorly handling claims of rape.
Not on that list is James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. But they will be soon, because good god did the school fuck up in a way that would be amazing if it weren’t so wretched.
Three fraternity brothers, who were found responsible by the school of sexually assaulting a fellow student then sharing a video of the crime, were punished with “expulsion after graduation.”
Yes, the school let them get a degree, then said they couldn’t come back. From the Huffington Post:
The school found the men responsible for sexual assault and harassment in the spring break 2013 attack on Sarah Butters, and determined that they shared the video widely with others on the JMU campus in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 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 assault took place on spring break last year.
Butters was in Florida during Spring Break 2013, when the assault took place, drinking with the three men, who she said she considered trusted friends. While still in Florida, she said she learned of the video and confronted the men, who denied it. Once she returned to campus, she said she found that the video was being shared and discussed on an online gossip forum. Eventually, she got a copy.
The video shows Butters topless and being groped, while the men laugh and pull her onto their laps, trying to remove the bottom of her bathing suit. It includes audio of Butters saying, “This isn’t okay, this isn’t a good idea.”
There are about a thousand fucked up things in those two paragraphs. I don’t even know where to begin. But it’s all trumped by the shittiest of shitty fucking responses from the school. This is how the prestigious James Madison University handled the situation.
Butters filed a formal complaint with the judicial affairs office in January 2014. Following a series of hearings, where Butters provided screenshots of text messages from people saying the men had shared the video with other students, Bacon 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.
JMU’s slogan, in case you were wondering, is “changing the world, one person at a time.” Butters says she’s worried that the response will prevent more victims from coming forward.
What is a girl going to think that I had video proof and I still have to see these boys on campus?” Butters asked. “How would she ever feel comfortable coming forward?”
Changing the world, one person at a time. Read the whole story here, if you want to be further enraged.