Columbia University has been circulating a “rapist list,” naming students who have been found guilty or “responsible” for on-campus sexual assault. While the list creators are anonymous, Columbia is under federal investigation for mishandling sexual assaults and students are pissed. It turns out that one of the students named on the list happened to work at an on-campus publication, Bwog, that broke the very news about the “rapist list.” The editors of Bwog decided it was pertinent that they fire the student who was named on the list and gave this explanation.
“On May 7, allegations that a member of our staff had violated Columbia University’s Gender Based Misconduct policy were brought to our attention by an anonymous tip. As a reiteration of our continued work against rape culture, we have taken steps to ensure that the makeup of Bwog’s staff, without question, reflects this. Accordingly, we asked this staffer to permanently and immediately resign from their position, and they agreed. Our decision does not reflect a position on the innocence or guilt of this former staff member, nor does it comment on, take a position on, support, implicitly or explicitly, any allegations of fact or law made against such person.”
This is a bold move. Bwog isn’t willing to take the chance of having a presumed rapist on staff, which is perfectly understandable and certainly a message to future perpetrators. Columbia’s history with mishandling sexual assaults is reaching a head as students become more and more unrest with the lack of consequences for being found “responsible” of sexually assaulting another student. Anonymous sources tell Jezebel that another perpetrator on the “rapist list” was found responsible for sexually assaulting three different women but faced almost no disciplinary action, “Another man on the list, who has been the subject of not one, not two, but three separate formal sexual assault complaints against three separate women. In one incident, according to sources, he was found “responsible” for what happened but allowed to continue to attend classes. He appealed the decision after his victim graduated last year, and the decision to find him ‘responsible’ was eventually overturned by the university after his victim decided to drop the case. Says one source familiar with the proceedings, ‘I think she dropped the case [because] it was too difficult to juggle with post-grad life.'” I am glad and proud that college students are standing up for themselves and reclaiming justice where universities have failed them. It’s unfortunate that so much has to go wrong for progress to happen but it’s happening with or without the help of college administration.