Dartmouth petition calls for protection against sexual assault

Women's rights group launches petition to strengthen sexual assault punishments at Dartmouth College.
By Danielle Haynes  |  March 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM
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Women's rights group UltraViolet launched a petition asking Dartmouth College to protect its students from sexual assault after a student was attacked on campus.

The group said a Dartmouth student was sexually assaulted on campus after her name was posted to an online "rape guide" used by the school's students on the anonymous Bored@Baker website. Website access is restricted to users with Dartmouth email addresses.

UltraViolet started the petition, saying the school should do more to protect its students from such acts.

"Disturbingly, this also isn't the first time that Dartmouth has found itself in a very public controversy over its handling of campus rape cases," the petition, which had about 50,000 signatures, reads.

"Student groups have asked the school to list expulsion as the punishment for rape in the student handbook and to block campus internet access to the website where the "rape guide" was posted. But school authorities haven't taken any of these recommendations seriously.

"The crisis of sexual assaults on campus must be stopped. Take student recommendations seriously and expel rapists, list rape as a punishable offense and expulsion as the preferred punishment in the student handbook, and block access to the 'rape guide' on campus."

Dartmouth College issued a statement in reaction to the petition Thursday.

"It is important to note the offending post was authored by a single individual and did not appear on a Dartmouth-hosted site, nor is it one run by Dartmouth students," the statement from Justin Anderson, the Dartmouth's assistant vice president for media relations, reads.

"The post was removed and the author, who is not presently enrolled, was identified and faces the college disciplinary process.

Further, we investigate every instance of sexual assault reported to the college and offer multiple levels of support and resources to every survivor. In this particular case, no report of sexual assault has been made to the college by the individual. We continue to remain in contact with her to ensure she is getting all of the support we can provide."

Anderson said the school's Board of Trustees unanimously approved a move to endorse new, increased punishments for cases of sexual assault.

[New Hampshire Union-Leader]

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