Hobart and William Smith scandal

Hi, I just read about that sex scandal that hws had in 2014.Should I even visit the school anymore. Do you think it changed?

You have good reason to be unsettled by that case. As an opinion, however, I think you should visit HWS, and then reexamine the implications of the case in the context of your personal impressions of the school.

I looked up the scandal. I don’t want to say this happens everywhere because I have hope that there are safe havens, colleges that lead the way in rejecting and punishing sexual assault.

But I do believe it is far more common than the term “scandal” implies. It’s not just HWS.

If you want to attend a college that is a leader in handling sexual assault you will need to look for that specifically. If you just want to get a sense of whether HWS is a place to avoid you need to look at the incident in the context of sexual assault in general. Very sadly, what happened there–pathetic attempt at an internal “investigation” of sexual assault–is common. What is less common is hitting the national news.

To keep yourself safe, make frequent and unabashed use of campus shuttles and safe ride systems. These are set up to reduce drink driving and keep you safe without restricting your freedom. The incident does not define this one college, but the culture in general.

I know a few who have gone there recently. I negative reports or concerns.

I encouraged S19 to take a look at HWS as a low match/safety. We went and visited in January, and he really, really, liked it. At this point, with only 2 reach schools left to hear from and his other top choice colleges being more than we want to pay at full sticker price, HWS is becoming a front-runner. He’s going up for an accepted student day and I’m thrilled, because I am really impressed with what the school has to offer. I might be more concerned if it were my daughter who was considering going, but at the same time, these things happen at all schools. I think you should go, ask lots of questions, and decide for yourself whether you would feel comfortable there.

My older daughter looked at it, the year after the big New ayork Times story. That, plus distance kept her from applying. At that point, I knew of one woman, who went there in the 90’s who had a bad experience. Since then, I have learned of a woman who started recently and transferred after a year due to a sexual harassment situation. I know these things go on at most or all campuses, but I wouldn’t let my younger daughter go there, there are too many other options, and something seems off.

If the campus culture remains a concern, then HWS would seem unsuitable for female and male students.

@needhi14 @Beenthere22 I consider the perpetuation of “generalizations” about colleges one of CC greatest flaws. I have been following the CC forum since 2009 and all of my children have attended schools negatively reviewed, time and time again, by many members of this community. This includes HWS. To say “something is off” about a school is subjective, based on second hand information and moderately irresponsible. People asking questions on these forums should remember the advice you receive here is often worth exactly what you pay for it. Type any university’s name and “scandal” and see what pops up. You will not be short of reading material.

My HWS graduate and her friends had a good experience - ups and downs, as with many schools, yet none that compromised her safety. Her core group of six young women graduated with honors and went on to get good jobs, go on to graduate school and lead productive lives. As I mentioned on another thread, the school responded to the fall 2013 sexual assault incident ( probably not in a manner that satisfied everyone) and continues to work towards ensuring this issue remains in the forefront. The new college president, a woman, is known to be forward thinking and progressive. I am sure she will not promote an environment that comprises young women (or men).

To say this behavior is absent in other colleges is naive. I do not condone sexual assault in any manner but sadly it is everywhere. Students, both male and female, must be vigilant on every campus and in workplace environments. We live in a world where people think it is ok to do and say whatever they feel like whether it was in the 1990’s, 2013, or now. These issues will not go away anytime soon, so prepare yourself with the tools necessary to navigate the choppy waters out there.

Too much inflammatory, myopic commentary on HWS here. Please, educate yourselves on the big picture here https://ope.ed.gov/campussafety. You will find that HWS is certainly within a standard deviation of the mean on campus crime, especially with regard to sexual violations.

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OP, I am in no way affiliated with HWS and you can see in my post history I’m on the West Coast and primarily know about public schools. But I agree with the person above me. Your post will attract replies from people who are also concerned about this issue at HWS in particular, and that’s a myopic view.

More importantly, you should understand that whether or not HWS is particularly bad, this situation is one that can affect any woman in almost any situation. If this is worrying to you, please understand that you need to take steps yourself to be safe. Your campus will not do that for you. No campus can do that for you (not even an all-women campus).

Follow your gut, and if you don’t want to go to HWS, don’t. But I believe that you’d have to ask this question in a more general way to get a sense of relative risk.

For what it’s worth, the male student at the center of The NY Times story was arrested, went to trial in Rochester, and was found not guilty by a jury.

As an alum and a current parent, my view is that the 2014 article brought a very common situation into crystal-clear focus on the HWS campus. Five years later the result is that HWS’ administration is more careful than ever before to take the necessary steps to protect students. It weathered the negative publicity and learned the hard lessons and did–and continues to do–the hard work to improve. I believe they are better now equipped to face such situations that most for having been put under such a public microscope.

At the time, I was appalled at the response that the HWS administration made to this sexual assault case. I have heard that since then, steps have been taken to reduce the possibilities for a repeat situation, and to respond in a more appropriate way. Before I sent one my children there, I would want to see some concrete evidence of this.

Fellow HWS alum here, and I agree wholeheartedly with atanvarne. I do not have a child at HWS, but am still close with my own HWS alum tribe, several of whom have children who are students there now. Now that I think about it, they are all William Smith students (so, women). I have not heard one complaint about the current party culture and safety on campus. That doesn’t mean there aren’t shady things going on, i just haven’t heard any of any specific incidents or concerns. I truly believe the colleges took the incident(s) very seriously (which they SHOULD have been doing all along) and have taken care to ensure that this never happens again. I don’t think what happened at HWS was unique to HWS. I think it happens/happened on campuses everywhere, and many women do not come forward because they are embarrassed and/or afraid of not being believed (which is very sad). I hope that the incident was a wake-up call to colleges and universities everywhere.

ALF, I was appalled at the administration’s response as well. Enraged, actually. I don’t remember specifics but I remember arguing about it on HWS social media channels and needing to just step back, LOL.

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