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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Who is S.A.S.S.? A letter from the group behind the rape chalking on campus

<re members of a community that claims, “to liberate individuals from the constraints imposed by ignorance or complacency and prepare them broadly to lead rewarding, creative, and useful lives" (Carleton College’s Mission Statement). We are a concerned group of sexual assault survivors and supporters, and we react with anything but complacency to the issue of sexual violence on campus. We ask the same of our fellow students, staff, faculty, and most of all of the Carleton administration.

Even after filing complaints, we still do not have a complete understanding of the sanctions and decision-making process. We can’t get a straight answer from anyone. Students must demand transparency on all levels of investigation and sanctioning. In early November, there will be a panel discussion with those involved, including deans and Carleton’s Sexual Assault Consultant. This is our chance to interrogate the administration and identify what needs to change. While large-scale changes will take time, there are many ways in which the process can be changed immediately. It is our hope that the panel comes to the discussion ready to openly discuss and question Carleton’s procedures, rather than to defend them.

Our College’s Community Standards policy states, “Carleton College has a deep commitment to providing a safe and secure environment, in which students can live, learn, work and pursue their interests. Threats to personal safety, compromises of the learning environment, and disruptions of students’ rights to live with a reasonable degree of peace are cause for concern and intervention.”

During our time at Carleton, we’ve:
•Repeatedly missed classes and avoided computer labs, Sayles, the library, academic buildings, and public functions out of fear of running into the person who raped us.
•Lost countless hours reliving our experiences because of the impossibility of avoiding the person who raped us.
•Received inconsistent, thrown-together information from the administration. Officials would tell us “we take this very seriously” but the outcome was that our reports resulted in very lenient sanctions, or no sanctions at all.
•Lived among people who have the privilege to use the word “rape” without thinking about what it means (i.e. “Man, this test raped me.”)

This is not “a reasonable degree of peace.” Carleton knowingly houses rapists on campus. We are unable to “live, learn, work and pursue [our] interests” at Carleton because of this constraint. This is not just our problem. It is the collective responsibility of all members of this community to make Carleton a safe place and take issue with the reality of sexual violence on campus and the administration’s inadequate response.

We recognize that it is a privilege to be here. We believe that once a member of our community has violated Carleton’s standards of behavior to this degree, they should no longer be welcome. A Lens article published in 2007 notes that “Carleton uses these issues as ‘teaching moments.’” A dean responsible for determining sanctions said “Generally, my sense is that individuals become educated because they are shocked to find themselves in violation of policy.” We do not want our safety, and the safety of our entire community to depend on the general sense that rapists will in the future behave themselves. So ask for consent, and please come to the panel discussion.

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