More often than not, I’m happy to say where I went to college. I had a great experience as an undergrad, involved in activities, being a student leader; oh, and going to classes that I enjoyed with terrific faculty. Yesterday though, I heard about a classmate’s daughter and the horrible incident that is forever a part of her college career.
I was both shocked and outraged to read in a message from her mother, that K had been assaulted in her dorm room by a young man who was on the hockey team. The same dorm where I spent my freshman year, creating great memories and lifelong friendships, became a living nightmare for K. She brought the case to the College Court for action only to be assaulted again when her attacker was hardly penalized. He was not removed from the dorm, nor was he found guilty of anything other than underage drinking.
K’s mother and I were both Resident Assistants (RA’s) at the college. Every year we went through training on how to help our fellow students who were in crisis. Years later when I worked there as substance abuse counselor, keeping students safe when something horrible happened, was of primary importance to the staff in the student services department. The Dean of Students was solely focused on ensuring the best interest of all students, and made sure his staff was as well. Students, even the ones who got into trouble, felt heard and supported.
Upon the advice of counsel, K and her family filed a lawsuit against the college for “its failure to assist her after she went to school officials and counselors for help.” When K and her family met with the leadership of the college to try to settle the case before going to court, one of the deans chalked up the incident to “boys being boys.” Really?! Are you kidding? A grown man in a leadership position, at an institution of higher education, had the balls to say that to this woman and her family. That’s completely unacceptable in the day and age!
As the case continues its journey through the judicial system, there will certainly be more ups and downs for the family. Knowing K’s mom, the process will be handled with tremendous grace and dignity. Today’s thank you is for K, her mom, and their entire family, for their bravery and for serving as an example to all families near and far.