This past week at the University of Richmond has been filled with controversy and outrage. When CC Carreras posted her article on Huffington Post concerning the way her sexual assault case against a star athlete of the school was handled unfairly by the administration. As soon as the article was published, students of the school were outraged- and we still are. By the end of the afternoon, countless posts from students and alumni were posted on the internet and expressed the anger, fear, and disappointment that we all feel for being a part of a community that protects rapists based on their importance to the athletic department.
Orientation week for all freshman was carried out with extreme emphasis on the resources available to us in the instance of sexual assault. Informative meetings and dramatic performances designed to show us the dangers of rape culture were mandatory attendance. They openly admitted to being the second most dangerous school in the country for women, but cushioned it by saying that the statistic is so high because the resource available make it a safe place to report any and all cases of sexual misconduct. They ceverly omitted the difficulty of making a case, and the number of cases that don’t even go to sanction. In my opinion, we were openly lied to.
The problem with CC’s case is that she vividly recalled the administration judging her side of the story in a much harsher way than the accused. His actions were justified, and nearly forgiven. This is completely unacceptable. Every student who I’ve spoken to about the school's action in this case are completely disgusted by the way this was handled. At a student led forum on Friday afternoon, we realized the true problem. No one in the room actually knew how cases of sexual assault were handled. The lack of transparency in the school’s actions made every student in that room disappointed and afraid. If the school officials weren’t doing their job to protect us,what is it exactly that they even do? Through our discussions, it was clear that the problem at hand is the administrative process of going through sexual assault cases. The people involved in these cases almost always have an inherent bias (especially in favor of athletes) and far too many cases end the way CC’s did.
What the administration has yet to realize is that whether they want to or not, they will change. We the students have come up with demands for the administration and absolutely will not alleviate the pressure on the school until they are met. Many different areas of the school are deeply invested in strategizing ways to make sure that the administration does not get away with their actions. Athletic teams, fraternities, football players, multicultural organizations, and even alumni were present as we all discussed ways to utilize our separate niches in the school in order to affect change. We are not to be underestimated. Students and members of the community certainly will not back down from ensuring that the changes we want to see take place. We have assumed the responsibility of making the University of Richmond into an environment that we are proud to be a part of, and we will not give up.