Addressing sexual assault

To the Editor:

I was appalled yesterday after reading a news article from WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, regarding a former student’s abhorrent experience of sexual assault and its questionable subsequent handling by the administration. This is not the first instance of that happening, and it cements my belief that perpetrators of sexual violence do not have a place on the Williams College campus because such offences are among the worst possible violations of our code and values. If the College has determined that an individual is guilty enough to be suspended, it needs to take the necessary steps to expel him or her. Letting perpetrators return to campus, especially if the survivor is still there, is an irresponsible, insensitive and dangerous decision that makes me question the safety and integrity of my beloved alma mater. I do agree that everyone deserves a second chance, and I am certain that there are a number of specialized institutions and skilled professionals that could help sexual assailants address their issues. However, the College’s first and foremost job is to protect current and potential survivors. Sexual assault is a premeditated action of physically and emotionally abusing another human being, and punishing proven perpetrators with suspension is inadequate. As much as I love Williams, I would never send my future child to an environment where sexual assailants continue to be reintegrated into the community at the expense of their victims.

Iliyana Hadjistoyanova ’11