Campus Safety Officer Robert Gardner was arrested for sexual assault in June, and the college still hasn’t released an official statement, or anything even closely resembling one. (If this is the first you’re hearing about all this, well, Happy Wednesday, I guess.) Though there’s no official information about the arrest/conviction, (though I’ve heard from reliable Skidmore students that Gardner has been fired) I felt something of an obligation to share some thoughts that I know are shared by many Skidmore students.
Now, this didn’t happen at Skidmore. This happened off-campus, and the alleged victim is not a Skidmore student. But it’s a college issue nonetheless. Think about if a professor had his or her name attached to a sex scandal to any degree. Of course it should (and hopefully would) be addressed, because it has to do with the college and those are affiliated with it to any degree. The same applies here.
I also understand how complex, difficult, and delicate a matter it must be for the powers-that-be to address such an issue. There’s a lot at stake, especially with the academic year beginning and new students arriving, so having this in the spotlight can’t be something that the college is dying to have on their hands. I’d also imagine that the fact that this happened in the greater Saratoga area (and is presumably being handled by the Saratoga Police Department) must also complicate the relation of information for the college.
Also, I’m not trying to imply that Gardner should never have been hired in the first place (or even that he shouldn’t have remained employed by the college for 35 years), because I know nothing about him and his record as an employee. In general, I try to assume the best in people, and I really don’t have the background information to point fingers about things I know so little about. (Though, if it turns out that this isn’t the first time his name has been brought up in something like this, then I would definitely have a different opinion.)
Lastly, I do believe that me being a Skidmore student does not guarantee me the right to know everything about all things related to this campus. I saw many people get very indignant about not hearing anything about Gardner’s arrest just the day after it happened, but I was a little more hesitant to get upset. I wanted to give the administration the benefit of the doubt that they’d say something soon.
But they didn’t. And they haven’t.