This week in really horrible news, a Dartmouth College freshman says she was sexually assaulted weeks after she was named in what students have termed an online “rape guide.” The post appeared on the message board Bored@Baker, which is open only to those with a Dartmouth email address although it is not technically affiliated with the university.
The post, which appeared in January, gave instructions for how to make the woman want to perform oral sex. “If not,” it said, “have her do it anyways.” Within weeks, the message board had over three dozen references to her, calling her a “whore.” She was tormented by similar posts in the fall, some of which included her picture.
The woman says she was assaulted at a fraternity house. “For the first time in months, I started feeling safe,” she wrote in a private Facebook group. “I went out last week and got assaulted at the first and only house I went to. Then I got told it happens all the time.” She says she has not reported the assault to authorities.
The student who wrote the “rape guide” has been removed from Dartmouth’s campus and faces judgment through the college’s disciplinary process. The woman says she wishes Dartmouth authorities had done more to address the harassment she faced on Bored@Baker, but the college says it can’t take action given that it doesn’t control the message board.
This is just the latest in a series of highly publicized bias incidents at Dartmouth. In 2012, an exposé in Rolling Stone detailed the brutal hazing imposed on new members of Dartmouth’s Greek organizations, and called into question the school’s handling of hazing and other bias incidents. The school is one of 41 colleges and universities under investigation for Title IX violations, specifically mishandling of sexual assault cases. The school also faces charges of violating the Clery Act by underreporting incidences of sexual violence, hazing, and bias.
This year, five of the nine members of Dartmouth’s Panhellenic Council boycotted sorority recruitment, citing systemic issues of racism, classism, and sexual violence in the school’s Greek system.
Big changes are long overdue at Dartmouth, and they’re not the only college community that needs to take a careful look at their campus culture.