The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

How Can You Call a Man Found Not Guilty A Rapist?

By now, it is apparent to most everyone on campus that a male student was tried and found not guilty on “sexual misconduct” charges. A sexual misconduct charge is very serious, and both parties need to be handled with respect and care until the authorities have come to some conclusion on the matter. I trust that the outcome of the Judicial Board hearing was correct and just. Unless appropriately appealed by the accused, that decision is supposed to be FINAL.

In the days following the hearing, a petition circulated asking the level of security felt by Guilford College students.

My only concern was that the petition was directed solely to women without consideration for men’s feelings of safety.

As a male student, I am truly scared. I’m scared that any girl could accuse someone of sexual misconduct and be believed immediately by our community. Society tends to side with a female when it is her word against the word of a male. Truth is, the majority of men are disgusted by rape.

It seriously disappointed me to hear the amount of gossip, which spread like wildfire, about this matter. Like the writers for the Weekly World News, students were excited to spread false information about the “rape on campus.”

I think referring to a person who has been found not guilty of sexual misconduct, as a “rapist” is constitutionally irreverent. It is one thing to spread awareness of the reality of rape, but it is another thing to assume every accusation to be true.

I have known of the matter since day two. For weeks, my only involvement had been supporting and protecting the privacy of my roommate.

I became very disappointed when, the day after the hearing, a “friend” of the accuser felt that it was appropriate to enter my dorm room, verbally attack my roommate, and to verbally attack a mutual friend of ours. This friend was told, in a very vulgar manner, that she was wrong for supporting a “rapist.” I could not imagine a reason to insult and involve an innocent person in a situation that I was not even involved in myself. Hopefully, that person understands that her comments were out of line.

I attended a meeting on October 8, 2002, involving close to 50 students and faculty members, who gathered to discuss policies they feel to be insufficient.

The speakers at this meeting attacked the Judicial Board’s decision, singled out several faculty members, openly discussed confidential matters, and invaded the privacy of the other party, who had no representative to defend him.

It was constantly repeated at this meeting, “Guilford let another person get away with rape,” and that, “they handled another rape case improperly.”

I understand the concern of students that some policies are not good enough. I do not, however, understand how anyone can confidently say this case was unjustly handled, just because they did not agree with the outcome.

Because the accused party was found not guilty, is it believed to be a cover-up? I have heard that students believed several past rapes to be “covered up” by the administration. Until such accusations are proven, I cannot believe them to be true about Guilford; I will not believe them to be true about Guilford.

I will be the first to say that every staff member at Guilford College should be trained on how to deal with rape on campus. Students, male and female alike, should feel comfortable approaching any faculty member the minute a violation occurs.

The education of students on the seriousness and prevention of rape is equally important. We all need to make a conscious decision to take the responsibility upon ourselves to attend rape education meetings, ask questions and encourage fellow students to also participate.

Acquaintance or “date” rape, the definition of consent and the consequences of alcohol abuse are all important aspects of sexual misconduct education that students, staff and faculty need to be better aware of collectively.

It is my honest belief that through total cooperation between students, staff, administration and faculty alike, the changes we all want made can be successfully accomplished.

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