And I thought Amherst was bad at this..

<p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/us/how-one-college-handled-a-sexual-assault-complaint.html?action=click&contentCollection=Americas&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/us/how-one-college-handled-a-sexual-assault-complaint.html?action=click&contentCollection=Americas&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>"Detective Choffin mischaracterized witness statements, put the words of one student in the mouth of another, and stated that he “never saw any discrepancies or alterations” in what the two football players told the authorities, even though they had initially lied about having sexual contact with their accuser. And while Anna’s blood-alcohol tests had been done many hours after she last had a drink, he also stated unequivocally that her level “would not make a person impaired to the point of blacking out.'"</p>

<p>What a horrendous story. Unfortunately, an all too familiar plot involving excessive drinking, fraternity parties and football players. HWS’s actions appear to be indefensible; I can’t imagine that there is a response that can possibly counter the facts in the NYT article. When my daughter and I visited the lovely campus, we were quite taken in and I advocated for her to apply. I certainly would not do so today, and I imagine that women and their families are going to think much longer and harder before applying in the future. </p>

<p>Horrendous indeed. I actually stopped several times before finishing the NYT piece. As a mother of two college age daughters, I can’t help but think of my sweet girls, their young friends–how this ordeal will scar the victim, her family and her classmates… . A nightmare. </p>

<p>When my older D applied she (me too) was so impressed. HWS is school that does so many things right: wholisic admissions, meaningful merit awards, generous need based aid, personal attention, service learning, opportunities abroad, a career center that acts like professional placement firm. If she hadn’t accepted a spot off another school’s wait list for economic reasons, she would have been this girl’s classmate, possibly even her friend or roommate. </p>

<p>Bringing this incident to light, provides another avenue to create a new direction for HWS. How the administration chooses to handle the media micro scope, title IX procedure will define the future of the school. Hopefully they muster enough collective courage to look deep and shift the campus culture towards a more inclusive and compassionate community. </p>

<p>I cannot imagine any parent of a prospective student, male or female, allowing an application to this school. Period. Clearly, the pressure to exonerate “valuable” football players at the expense of expendable women is overwhelming. Clearly, the culture at this school is invested in glossing over any “unpleasantness,” however horrible, to protect the school’s image. I hope they fry in the hell of bad press they have created for themselves.</p>

<p>HWS appears to be in frantic spin control mode. Their president, Mark Gearan wrote a letter to the campus community (<a href=“http://www.hws.edu/about/statements2.aspx”>http://www.hws.edu/about/statements2.aspx</a>) and a lengthy rebuttal is on the colleges website (<a href=“http://www.hws.edu/about/nytimes/”>http://www.hws.edu/about/nytimes/</a>). Despite their allegations of content taken out of context and repeated statements about how seriously HWS takes sexual assault, there was precious little actual rebuttal of the New York Times charges. Most tellingly, they castigate the NYT for acquiring an unauthorized copy of the hearing transcripts. I guess that is all you can do if you can’t call into question the facts contained in a verbatim transcript.</p>

<p>The college president writes in the above link “It is clear to me that even though we believe we handled the circumstances fairly and within the constraints of the law, and that we made decisions based on the evidence, there is no sense of satisfaction other than the knowledge that we treated everyone with compassion, kindness and respect.” compassion, kindness and respect???</p>

<p>Unfortunately, I think that this is par for the course. Colleges are businesses and when push comes to shove they care most about their reputations. It’s disgusting.</p>

<p>HWS students and alumni aren’t satisfied either:
<a href=“http://www.■■■■■■■■■■/petitions/to-president-gearan-and-the-hws-senior-staff-president-gearan-and-hws-senior-staff-take-action-to-prevent-further-mismanagement-of-campus-assault-cases”>http://www.■■■■■■■■■■/petitions/to-president-gearan-and-the-hws-senior-staff-president-gearan-and-hws-senior-staff-take-action-to-prevent-further-mismanagement-of-campus-assault-cases</a></p>

<p>… and here are letters to the Editor of the NY Times, in response to the sexual assault article:
<a href=“http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/opinion/the-rape-case-hobart-and-william-smith-and-readers-respond.html?_r=0”>http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/opinion/the-rape-case-hobart-and-william-smith-and-readers-respond.html?_r=0</a></p>

<p>One was from Maureen Collins Zupan, the Chairwoman of the HWS Board of Trustees. She wrote, “The Hobart and William Smith Colleges community is heartbroken by our student’s experience, and we deeply regret the pain she has suffered. Her experience does not reflect the environment, values and traditions we have built and maintained for nearly two centuries at Hobart and William Smith.”</p>

<p>Yet, a couple of paragraphs later, she asserts, “…we stand by the results of our process.” If the process exonerated the accused men, then why is everyone so heartbroken?</p>

<p>“process” What process? </p>

<p>This school is going to face some serious repercussions come app season 2014-15.</p>

<p>Maybe some students can now move HWS from “Reach” to “Safety”.</p>

<p>More like removing HWS from the list and applying to schools which demonstrate that they value the safety of their female students. </p>

<p>^ this. We considered HWS briefly and it was in the running as a potential match with around 8 others that she might have added to the list. Only needed a reason to drop it and voila. A reason.</p>

<p>The same New York Times reporter wrote a follow-up article yesterday:
<a href=“http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/nyregion/support-for-a-student-grows-as-college-examines-its-sexual-assault-policies.html?_r=0”>http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/22/nyregion/support-for-a-student-grows-as-college-examines-its-sexual-assault-policies.html?_r=0</a></p>

<p>The article notes that HWS students started a Facebook page, “William Smith Stands with Anna”:
<a href=“HWS Community for Change stands with Anna - Home | Facebook”>HWS Community for Change stands with Anna - Home | Facebook</a></p>

<p>It’s great to see current and former students pressing their administration to change their policies in the face of the mounting evidence that the colleges and the District Attorney so thoroughly blew pretty much every aspect of this sexual assault case.</p>

<p>Throughout this sorry affair, colleges officials continue to cry how ‘heartbroken’, ‘disheartened’, ‘in pain’ and ‘sorrowful’ they are, while at the same time asserting that they did nothing wrong, that their procedure ‘meets or exceeds best practices’. If they did nothing wrong and the accused football players were properly exonerated, then why all the gnashing of teeth? And, if the adjudication process was so great, why all the pledges to change and improve the process? This whole thing stinks of spin control and minimizing legal liability. I hope that not a single woman applies in the coming year. </p>

<p>It is interesting to me that administrative comments PRIOR to the New York Times story were much more apologetic and conciliatory. At a Title IX meeting in May of this year (<a href=“http://hwstheherald.com/wordpress/2014/05/09/students-demand-change-title-ix-brunch/”>http://hwstheherald.com/wordpress/2014/05/09/students-demand-change-title-ix-brunch/</a>), President Gearan stated, “As the president, I would apologize to you and every student that felt that way (that the sexual assault investigation was botched),” responded Gearan as the session neared a close. “If we can’t get it right here with 195 acres and our community, how are we going to be agents of change in the world at large?”</p>

<p>So, in May, he was willing to apologize and admit that they didn’t ‘get it right’. However, after the July NYT article, he is merely ‘disheartened’ and ‘sorrowful’, and is now asserting that they essentially DID ‘get it right’.</p>

<p>The administration handled this case terribly, including its aftermath. Even though the administration doesn’t speak for its student body, I don’t think anyone who respects women should apply to this school.</p>

<p>In her Letter to the Editor of the NYT, HWS Board of Trustees Chairwoman Maureen Collins Zupan wrote,</p>

<p>“During the past year, Hobart and William Smith Colleges have worked with national leaders in the field and have completed a review of our sexual misconduct policy. One of the country’s leading experts on the issue, Brett A. Sokolow, affirmed the conclusions of this case and observed that our process meets or exceeds best practices for higher education.”</p>

<p>It was therefore interesting to read this article about Brett Sokolow on Buzzfeed, “Meet the Sexual Assault Adviser Top Colleges Have On Speed Dial” (<a href=“http://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/meet-the-sexual-assault-adviser-top-us-colleges-have-on-spee):”>http://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/meet-the-sexual-assault-adviser-top-us-colleges-have-on-spee):</a></p>

<p>“Brett Sokolow wrote to the alleged assault victim, Anna, that he had been engaged by her school to act “as of counsel” in connection to the Title IX complaint filed on Anna’s behalf with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights. A hearing panel had cleared Anna’s alleged assailants; Sokolow had been hired to conduct an ‘external, administrative’ investigation of that decision, as he later explained. But Anna didn’t know that Sokolow had also helped train the panel that cleared her alleged assaulters — or that he would later be the one to review that very same panel’s work for the school and then publicly defend the panel’s practices.”</p>

<p>The article goes on to note that business is “very, very good” for Sokolow’s company, the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (<a href=“http://www.ncherm.org/”>http://www.ncherm.org/</a>). In particular, they are touting their new annual flat-fee “Resolution Services” for handling sexual misconduct ‘claims’ (<a href=“http://www.ncherm.org/services/ncherm-resolution-services/”>http://www.ncherm.org/services/ncherm-resolution-services/</a>). In the pitch for these services, NCHERM asks, “What if you never had to pay a sexual misconduct claim again? What if you could avoid costly investigations and OCR audit expenses? What if you never had to hire a pricey law firm to defend you on these cases?”</p>

<p>Oh yes, clearly an independent outside reviewer. And, shocking that Sokolow would conclude that HWS’ process ‘meets or exceeds best practices’!</p>

<p>I wonder where Gary Trudeau got the inspiration for his August 10 ‘Doonesbury’ comic?</p>

<p><a href=“http://assets.amuniversal.com/626b8610ee7a01317e82005056a9545d”>http://assets.amuniversal.com/626b8610ee7a01317e82005056a9545d</a></p>

<p>That BuzzFeed Article (<a href=“http://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/meet-the-sexual-assault-adviser-top-us-colleges-have-on-spee#4azir3z”>http://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/meet-the-sexual-assault-adviser-top-us-colleges-have-on-spee#4azir3z</a>) on HWS’ Sexual Assault Flack, Brett Sokolow must have struck a nerve, as he felt compelled to post a point-by-point rebuttal of BuzzFeed’s “vague ethical smears”: <a href=“http://www.ncherm.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Buzzfeed-response-July-2014.pdf”>http://www.ncherm.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Buzzfeed-response-July-2014.pdf</a> .</p>

<p>My favorite quote: “Our neutrality assures a reliable finding based on evidence, without political pressures or bias”.</p>

<p>My second favorite quote: “We make money from our work. So do you. This is news?”</p>

<p>Wow, the rebuttal smells of the same arrogant and condescending attitude. Birds of a feather.
To me, one positive light in this whole mess is the articles and letters written by many very sharp (and outraged) HWS alum. Clearly these graduates learned to construct well considered and persuasive arguments. Hopefully their alma mater will listen. </p>

Administrators from a number of major campuses across the country are trying to counter companies such as NCHERM who basically profit from rape. Most notably, the Administrator Researcher Campus Climate Collaborattive (ARC3 - http://campusclimate.gsu.edu/) has put together a free campus climate survey tool that will allow colleges to conduct a well-researched survey that will help determine the level of safety students feel on campus. ARC3 also provides scoring tools and documentation for implementation. Their hope is to minimize the corrosive effects of ‘consultants’ who are driven by a profit motive, followed by protection of their clients. This looks promising.

Here is a list of the participants: http://campusclimate.gsu.edu/connect-us/madison-summit-february-2015/
I don’t see anyone from HWS on the list.