There are some things I believe need to be said.
First, I want to let my story stand on its own. I did my best to get the facts straight and I trust that I reported accurately, fairly and in pursuit of the truth.
Second, I want to say I’m grateful. I’m grateful administrators have taken the time to hear students out and to take the heat from the students. It’s not easy to do that. I’m grateful for the students who are making noise about how they feel. It’s not easy to admit when you’re afraid or to be publicly vulnerable. It’s a powerful thing when we, the students, refuse to stop talking about something that matters to us. I encourage you to choose your words carefully and to advocate for what you believe in.
Third, I want to apologize to the women who came forward and reported these incidents. I am so sorry the media has made a spectacle of the terrifying ordeals you went through. This story exists at your expense. I am deeply sorry for the ways The Quadrangle has contributed to the spectacle. We’ve only sought to set the very murky record as straight as possible for your concerned and anxious classmates and we have strived to do so in a way that respects you. What I want you to know is that when the investigation is over, if you want to speak out or share your side of the story, I promise that you have The Quadrangle as a platform. We support you.
I also want you to know, female-identifying student to another, how grateful I am that you came forward. As a woman, I walk around my entire life constantly perceiving threats and modifying my behavior to minimize risk. It’s exhausting. Coming forward may have been hard, but your reports started necessary conversations about safety changes MC can make and about the responsibilities that fall on women to protect themselves.
Finally, I want to address the culture that empowered the perpetrator(s). At the core of these incidents and these conversations, is a deeply-rooted cultural issue. We need to work to address and dismantle the culture that empowers people to assault others. These issues are not just sex-based or sex-related; these issues stem from how we treat each other in our day-to-day interactions: in the classroom, while walking down the street, or meeting someone new for the first time. I, and so many others, are tired of being afraid. We can speak out all we want, but nothing will change if we don’t promote a more respectful culture.
A joke is not just a joke. No will always mean no. Re-learn what consent means, why it’s necessary and when, where and how it becomes nuanced. Don’t stay silent when you see or hear something that is unacceptable. Use positions of power to show others what it means to treat others with respect. Treat people with kindness. Hold each other accountable.