Few students we encountered on campus were unaware of the article, which gives the account of a freshman student Anna, her alleged rape and the school's handling of the case. "Frankly, I was shocked," said HWS Senior Alison Burrows. "It was a pretty disturbing article to read."
The Times story details sexual incidents last year on September 7 at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house and then, later that evening, at a place on campus called "the Barn." Three football players were cleared of wrong doing after a 12-day internal investigation. The article indicates no witnesses, including the victim, had legal representation at a hearing, the football players changed their accounts and the school panel rendered its decision before Anna's rape kit results were known.
The report was troubling to HWS Senior Carly Rolph. "I don't agree with the way that the administration deals with these issues, it's not effective clearly, because I've heard other horror stories of things where people get expelled and they shouldn't have been expelled, or they aren't expelled when they should've been, it's just not working, obviously the system doesn't work."
Burrows found a lack of information in the article problematic. "The way the article said that the school handled it, I was pretty taken aback, and I'm not sure if that was the full story because I can't see Hobart handling something so serious that way," she said.
School President Mark Gearan released a statement on the school website Sunday, indicating that important facts made available to the Times were left out of the article. He added, "This is a difficult article to read and for any student to be left with this perspective is disheartening. It is clear to me that even though we believe we handled the circumstances fairly and within the constraints of the law, and that we made decisions based on the evidence, there is no sense of satisfaction other than the knowledge that we treated everyone with compassion, kindness and respect."
Rolph questions the entire process. "I don't understand how the school even has the right to make a decision on a felony, and the law is not involved, or can be involved, it's not effective," she said.
There is a webpage on the college site addressing issues the school has with the article. The Times story says Hobart William Smith is one of 55 schools nationwide under investigation by the Department of Education for possibly violating federal rules aimed at stopping sexual harrassment.
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