Yet Another Open Letter to Boston University
It has been over six months since my first letter to you, and I am ashamed, but not at all surprised to state that you still have a rape problem, and it will only grow.
Let us begin with your lack of empathy towards survivors. I was told by your dean of students and Title IX coordinator that the idea of using online classes as accommodation for survivors of assault would have been laughed at pre-COVID-19, despite it being explicitly listed as a supportive measure. You cannot cherry pick which public health crisis to fix — you were able to create solutions and accommodations to help students throughout this pandemic, but when it comes to the public health crisis of sexual violence, you are silent. You are saying that you will not implement changes until it affects everybody and not just survivors. What is even more astounding is that you list several accommodations on your website that you simply do not follow through with, and that is not acceptable anymore.
You have no right to list accommodations and measures of support on your Title IX site if you have no intentions of following through. I have seen students struggle and fail at this university simply due to the fact that you do not actually follow the Title IX policies on your website. You cannot get away with that, and you will not. Students will file cases, and even if they don’t win, they will make sure future students are aware of how safe they really are. I was left injured due to the attack I survived, and when I asked for accommodations, I was simply told by my professor to drop the course because I couldn’t attend lab if I was in a wheelchair.
Your disability services is a joke. Your judicial affairs is a joke. BUPD is a joke. There is a severe lack of communication between these offices, and it should not take a whole semester for an individual to receive support.
How embarrassing is it that SARP has to carry every student and be the sole resource at a private university with unlimited resources. You should feel ashamed.
Let us also discuss your indifference with punishing organizations with repeat accusations of assault and harassment. There is not one organization at fault for the sexual assault on this campus, but it is important to highlight repeat offenders. One prominent fraternity that has never put out any sort of statement is Kappa Sigma; they have countless stories of assault and harassment, and their executive board is silent. They are harboring abusers instead of expelling them, and because of this, they are playing a role in the ongoing rape culture at Boston University.
It is terrifying to see how this institution has not publicly taken any action against them, and it is time we change that. Not all fraternity brothers are rapists, but there are repeat offenders who create a dangerous environment and deserve to be disciplined. We need to hold leadership and individuals accountable in order for us to move forward in ending sexual violence on our campuses that we call home.
When I spoke to Dean Elmore about Campus Survivors and the comfort anonymity brings to survivors, he told me that if I actually wanted to help survivors, I should tell them to report it. But how am I to tell others to use a service that doesn’t represent them? Judicial Affairs is full of white, mostly male, officials; it is impossible for most identities to feel safe and validated if no one looks like the. It is different for BIPOC to feel seen when the people in charge of this outcome don’t represent them at all.
You also have failed to pledge to a concrete amount of time for investigations of harassment and abuse to be resolved. I know of survivors who have had to wait over five months to learn of what happens, and often enough, these five months give enough time for the rapist to graduate. I have a friend who was harassed by a professor in your biology and neuroscience departments, and even when she won her case, the professor was able to appeal and kept his position. Who would trust this system if this is how it treats survivors?
You have refused to take criticism. You have refused to help your students. You are focused on your reputation and brand, and you have openly said that you do not have to protect us. You are protecting predators, and you are very loudly telling us that we do not matter. You force survivors to out themselves in order to begin a conversation, and you continue to place all of the work onto them. We should not be coming out as martyrs or the face of a movement just to grab your attention.
You are killing us. You are taking all of our money, energy, and health, and you are killing us. Every survivor I know has stated that while their rape was horrible, the response and condescending attitudes from this institution have been much worse. How many more rapes will it take for you to change your policies? How many more assaults will it take for you to realize that you have not only ignored an epidemic but contributed to it as well? How many more lives are you willing to destroy before actively fixing this system?