Sexual Misconduct

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SGA to Present ‘It’s Happening Here’ Lecture Series

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Poster design by Dipesh KC.

This Wednesday and Friday, the It’s Happening Here campaign will be holding a two-part lecture series to “raise awareness about how students, faculty and staff and join together to combat sexual and gender-based misconduct at Skidmore.”

On Wednesday, April 15th at 6:30pm in Davis, Tim Mousseau will be giving a lecture entitled “Retaking Our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation.” A Sexual assault survivor, Mousseau is an active voice on college campuses in educating students about leadership and empowering them to take a stand against sexual assault. Be sure and check him out on Twitter.

On Friday, April 17th at 3:30pm in Davis, Liz Seccuro will be giving a lecture entitled “Social Media & Sexual Violence: How Technology Helps & Harms Students & Campuses.” Seccuro is a victim’s rights advocate and author of the memoir Crash Into Me: A Survivor’s Search for Justice. You can find her on Twitter, as well as her website.

All these events seem both interesting and incredibly relevant to the current landscape of social activism in fighting sexual and gender-based misconduct, so we highly suggest you attend one (or both) of the lectures and support the great work SGA and many members of the community are doing.

Skidmore Extends Suspension of Student Accused of Sexual Assault

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Photo credit: Simon Klein.

Photo credit: Simon Klein.

Following a hearing on March 13th, the administration has denied the readmission request of a student suspended for drugging and raping another student, Reina Kiefer.

The student’s suspension has been extended for another two years—until spring of 2017—at which time he will he eligible for another hearing regarding readmission in the fall of 2017 (at which point Kiefer will have graduated).

“Although the decision feels incomplete, it is certainly a victory,” Kiefer wrote regarding the ruling.

Skidmore’s decision to extend the student’s extension follows an organized protest of more than 100 students, as well as an online petition created by a group of alumni. The petition, which as of now has over 1300 signatures, calls for a change in Skidmore’s policy that would expel students found guilty of sexual assault.

Alumni Create Online Petition to Change Policy on Readmission

Friday, March 20th, 2015
You can't ignore the post-it's.

You can’t ignore the Post-it’s.

A group of Skidmore alumni have started an online petition on Change.org to send a message to the administration that “Skidmore College must change its policy on readmittance of those found to have committed sexual assault.” They go on to say that “[w]here the College has made a finding that a student has committed sexual assault, the penalty should be expulsion.” Click to continue »

Addison Bennett and Soraya Attia Write Open Letter on Sexual Misconduct

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Thursday evening, the Skidmore community received the the following email sent on behalf of SGA President Addison Bennett ’16 and Senior Class President Soraya Attia ’15:

Dear Friends, Peers, Classmates, and all Skidmore Community Members,

As members of this community, we are writing in support of the recent efforts to bring attention to sexual and gender-based misconduct (SGBM) at Skidmore. This is an issue we have been working as SGA to address since the start of the academic year. Through the It’s Happening Here campaign and our work with the Advisory Council on SGBM, we have made strides to effect concrete policy changes that prioritize student safety and promote a zero-tolerance environment. Reina Kiefer’s readmission hearing protest on March 13 is one of the many examples of activism we have been calling for this year. We urge students to attend this peaceful protest to show our Student Body’s support for survivors across our campus. SGBM happens far too often at Skidmore and, as students, we must stand up together and work to prevent it.

It is time to become the zero-tolerance campus we wish to be. When a community member commits a sexual crime, we should not welcome that person on our campus. SGA has been working with the Advisory Council, the Vice President/Dean of Student Affairs, and other parties to make significant revisions to the SGBM policy, including:

  1. Changing sanction language to state that the College expects the SGBM Hearing Board to expel students found in violation in all cases of SGBM.
  2. When the Board does not choose expulsion, it must justify its decision in a written rationale for the case’s official record, which would be available to both parties.
  3. Expanding definitions of SGBM to include types of misconduct Skidmore does not currently account for, such as emotional and financial abuse.

Thanks to the work of the many student leaders and the responsiveness of the Advisory Council to our serious recommendations, we are proud to announce that changes along these lines and more are likely to be added to the official policy very soon.

​We know the numbers. Too many students of all gender identities experience SGBM while at college. Furthermore, the statistics available to us at this moment suggest that offenders will take advantage of other individuals more than once. According to Jed Rubenfeld in his 2014 New York Times article, Mishandling Rape, “Research suggests that more than 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by a relatively small percentage of college men — possibly as few as 4 percent — who rape repeatedly, averaging six victims each. Yet these serial rapists overwhelmingly remain at large, escaping serious punishment.” At the start of this year, we knew we needed to work toward practices that acknowledge this reality and adequately sanction all sexual offenders.

We are proud to say that progress has already been made so that students will not have to go through what Reina is going through moving forward.  However, at this moment, there are wrongs that must be corrected if Skidmore truly does hold its community values to a high standard. We are here to represent and stand by each and every student on this campus and to advocate for what is right.

​As student leaders — but most importantly, as Skidmore students — who have taken on this task of advocating for changes to our policy and culture, we have been heartbroken and humbled to hear stories from our friends and peers who have experienced SGBM at Skidmore. Whatever our policies may state, in the very real experiences of these innocent survivors, Skidmore does not always appear to prioritize their needs over those of the individuals found in violation.

To Hearing Board administrators and faculty: We implore you to remember the voice of the student body and the changes we have been advocating. Do not allow rapists to be a part of our community.

To the students: We urge you to take notice of this issue, educate yourself, and take steps to establish yourself as our ally against SGBM. We look forward to changes not only to our policy, but also to our culture, and we need your commitment to achieve that end.

To survivors: We admire your strength, and we offer you our advocacy as peers and friends. Please know that you have the support of an overwhelming majority of students and their representatives through SGA. We respect the difficult burden that you must bear, and we hope that the increased attention drawn to this issue will serve to combat without causing further harm.

We hope that our friends, peers, and classmates become our allies in setting Skidmore’s community standards on sexual and gender-based misconduct to a level as high we believe they should be.

Sincerely,

Soraya and Addison

Protest Against Readmission Hearing Scheduled for March 13th

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The hand says it all.

With over 1300 people invited on Facebook and YikYak buzz aplenty, you’ve likely heard about the Readmission Hearing Protest by now, but just in case, you haven’t, here it goes…

On Friday, March 13th, at 2:00pm, the school will holding a hearing for the readmission of a student convicted of three violations of Skidmore’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (who had thereby been suspended from campus for a year), which both the student in question and his victim will be attending. As a response to the hearing–in addition to the perpetrator’s violation of his sanctions when he visited campus last weekend–the victim is holding a peaceful and silent protest that same day at 1:00pm, right before the hearing begins, in the space right outside Gannett. Click to continue »

SGA Outlines New Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Campaign

Monday, February 16th, 2015

(Editor’s Note: Below is an op-ed we received from SGA President Addison Bennett and Senior Class President Soraya Attia entitled “It’s Happening Here: SGA’s Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Campaign.” While neither Bennett nor Attia write for the site–wouldn’t that be a mind-fuck and a half?–they reached out to us about publishing the piece, and we think it’s a good message to get out there, as it very much concerns all of us. That being said, we encourage you to read the memo and share your thoughts on a very important issue–either in the comments section or with Attia and Bennett personally.) Click to continue »

REMINDER: Community Dialogue is Still a Buzzword

Monday, September 15th, 2014

In approximately two hours, Rochelle Calhoun will kick off a week of events hosted by the administration designed to make you (yes, you) feel more informed and involved in this little community we call Pleasantville Skidmore. All joking aside, the campus Advisory Council is hosting the first of three dialogues on the revised Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct policy today in Davis at 4pm.  Click here to read the new policy and peruse the rest of the Sexual Misconduct site, which the administration unveiled in light of the Robert Gardner arrest.

If you can’t make the dialogue this afternoon there will be a second open forum on Wednesday Oct. 8th at 12:00pm in Gannett. If you can’t make that one, then there will be another held on Tuesday, November 4th at 7:30pm in Davis. So your excuses for not attending are dwindling pretty quickly.

In addition to these dialogues, FDR-wannabe Phil Glotzbach is opening up his office to the community this Wednesday Sept. 17 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. Even if you have nothing to complain about, stop by and say wassup to your esteemed President.  Of course, this is assuming you can find his office on the fourth floor of Palamountain.

Finally, this Friday the 19th at 3:30pm in Zankel, Pg and SGA President Addison Bennett will be presenting the State of the College Address, which I didn’t know was a thing.  If it’s anything like the State of the Union address, it’s sure to be filled with lies and disappointment.

And don’t forget, SGA elections are Thursday and Friday this week. Vote or die!!!

 

President Glotzbach Releases Official Statement on Campus Safety Officer’s Arrest & New Sexual Misconduct Prevention Initiatives

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Following the arrest of campus safety officer Robert Gardner on charges of sexual misconduct back in late June, President Phillip Glotzbach has sent out a series of emails regarding the incident. What with this being a concern for many alumni, parents, and others not presently on the student email list, the official statement on Gardner’s arrest can be read below.

To Members of the Skidmore Community:

Earlier today, I announced a number of new steps we are taking to expand our response to the issue of gender-based and sexual misconduct. This issue afflicts not only higher education but also the larger communities in which we live, and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure the safety of every member of our community.

Given the heightened sense of concern regarding this issue, I believe it important to update you on an incident that occurred earlier this summer. We were dismayed to learn that a member of our Campus Safety staff was arrested for an alleged sexual abuse. He was off-duty at the time, the events in question occurred off campus, and the other person was unrelated to the College. The employee was immediately suspended, banned from campus, and no longer works at the College.

It is our usual practice not to comment on individual personnel matters; however, these allegations are a matter of public record. As we begin the new academic year, I want to assure you that the College responded immediately and appropriately as soon as we were notified of the incident.

As always, we have been cooperating with local authorities and appreciate their continued efforts in helping to keep our community safe.

Sincerely,

Pg

Philip A. Glotzbach
President

Shortly before–as mentioned in the statement–President Glotzbach sent out an email to the student body outlining steps that the administration has taken to address the growing issue of sexual and gender-based misconduct on college campuses and “foster a campus climate of respect, care, and safety.”

These steps include the creation of a new comprehensive website on sexual and gender-based misconduct; three public forums to be held over the course of this upcoming semester; and an addition unto the New-Student Orientation of a new program entitled “The First 6 Weeks” that will “address a wide range of issues during this important transitional moment for students.”

I strongly encourage you to read through the email and peruse the new website, as it contains very thorough information on sexual misconduct, how to respond to any such misconduct, and what we as a community can do to address this important issue.

Dean Calhoun Addresses Robert Gardner’s Arrest

Monday, August 18th, 2014

After we emailed her yesterday asking for a comment on the recent arrest (and alleged firing) of Campus Safety Officer Robert Gardner, Dean of Students Rochelle Calhoun has responded and indicated that we will be hearing from President Glotzbach at some point this week. You can find her full response below. Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to get in contact with Dean Calhoun or any other college official on the whole affair.

Dear Skidmore Unofficial,

Thank you for your e-mail and the opportunity to address your concerns.

The College did address the incident involving a former employee immediately.  What we did not do was to immediately inform the Skidmore community that we had addressed the incident as it related to our campus.  What I want you to know is that the College takes issues of sexual and gender-based misconduct very seriously.  It is the seriousness with which we view this issue that has shaped our planned response.  We have been working on a comprehensive response to the community.  Our response to this important issue includes:

  • a clear message from the President about our institutional values and expectations
  • a new website that brings together information about our  revised policies and resources (both on-and off-campus)
  • an announcement of a series of open forums where we can come together as a community to discuss issues of sexual and gender-based misconduct and our shared community values
  • an update to the community about the incident this summer

You can anticipate receiving a letter from President Phil Glotzbach this week. We have been working diligently for some weeks now to be ready to get a message out to our community before the beginning of the new academic year.  Once you receive the letter, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any suggestions or concerns.

I appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.  I hope that we will continue to be engaged together in this important dialogue.

All the best,

W. Rochelle Calhoun
Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs

Sexual Assault Reported on Campus

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Per a Campus Safety email:

Date of Incident: Early morning hours of 03/24/2013
DescriptionA female victim reported to College Authorities that after a night that included the consumption of alcohol, she returned to the common area in her residence hall where she was approached by a male subject.  The male subject then proceeded to bring her back to his room and have intercourse with her without her consent and during which time she was in and out of consciousness.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be banging my head against a rock for a while.