Student forced off school blog because someone labeled him a ‘rapist’ on a bathroom wall
The mysterious and incessant lists of alleged rapists popping up all over Columbia University’s campus have already had an effect.
The fliers, proclaiming “RAPISTS ON CAMPUS,” lists four names, one of which was apparently a staff writer for Bwog, an independent, student-run campus blog. Since the lists garnered media attention, editors at the news site have asked for the staff member’s resignation.
“Our decision does not reflect a position on the innocence or guilt of this former staff member, nor does it comment on, take position on, support, implicitly or explicitly, any allegations of fact or law made against such person.”
“On May 7, allegations that a member of our staff had violated Columbia University’s Gender Based Misconduct policy were brought to our attention by an anonymous tip,” a statement released from Bwog Tuesday night said. “As a reiteration of our continued work against rape culture, we have taken steps to ensure that the makeup of Bwog’s staff, without question, reflects this. Accordingly, we asked this staffer to permanently and immediately resign from their position, and they agreed.”
The distributed lists of names labeled three persons “found ‘responsible’ by the University” and one “serial rapist.” It is not clear which of these was the staff member.
Despite asking for the writer’s resignation, Bwog says it is not presuming the writer’s innocence or guilt.
“Our decision does not reflect a position on the innocence or guilt of this former staff member, nor does it comment on, take position on, support, implicitly or explicitly, any allegations of fact or law made against such person,” the statement reads.
Columbia University currently faces 23 federal complaints by students who claim the university violated the Clery Act and Title IX by failing to handle allegations of sexual assault on campus.
The writings on the bathroom walls were labeled “graffiti” by university officials, meaning whoever wrote the names could be held accountable by the university for vandalism and destruction of school property. However, a university spokesperson declined to comment on the writing or the fliers, instead issuing a vague general statement.
“To avoid chilling complaints from coming forward and to respect all parties involved, the University does not comment on the particulars of disciplinary proceedings regarding sexual misconduct,” Robert Hornsby emailed Campus Reform. “In addition, the University is mindful of the multiple federal laws that govern these matters and provide important protections to survivors of sexual violence and to students engaged in our investigative process. These laws and our constitutional values do not permit us to silence debate on the difficult issues being discussed.”
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