Former student speaks publicly on sexual assault case

May 14, 2014 by Lauren Bender, Managing Editor

A case of sexual assault at the College attracted media attention on Monday when a former student came forward to talk about her experience. Lexie Brackenridge, a current sophomore at Columbia who transferred from the College after she was sexually assaulted in fall 2012, discussed her treatment by the school’s administration and accused the College of mishandling her assault case.

The College responded quickly. President Adam Falk sent an all-campus email, which stated, “No sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, can have a place at Williams. We must all work together diligently to prevent it … Specific cases are confidential to protect the complainant, the respondent, and the students who were spoken to as part of the investigations. The future integrity of these processes depends on student confidence in their remaining confidential. Our commitment to confidentiality is firm, even if one party chooses to go public.” Falk’s email also included a link to his official statement on the matter.

Dean Bolton also sent an email to the student body, offering students the opportunity to gather in Dodd at 8 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss issues around sexual assault. An email was also sent to parents, assuring them that “In the matter raised by the former student and her parents, the College, as always, followed faithfully and fully its established written procedures in both adjudication and support.”

Assault and aftermath

Lexie Brackenridge stated that she was sexually assaulted in October 2012 by another first-year. She has also described how the Dean’s Office encouraged her to pursue disciplinary action against her assailant through the College’s system.

After a three-month investigation and adjudication process, the assailant was found guilty of sexual assault, and was assigned a sanction of suspension for 18 months. The student appealed the decision, but the Discipline Committee upheld the sanction.

Lexie Brackenridge also reported feeling unsafe and harassed by her assailant’s friends. She recounted an episode where people threw full beer cans at her head, shouting that she should have kept her mouth shut. Finally, after learning that the administration was not accommodating her desire for separate housing from those who had been harassing her in the following year, she decided to transfer.

Lexie Brackenridge’s parents, Alec Brackenridge ’85 and Heidi Brackenridge ’86, question whether the College had her best interests at heart, and whether the administration investigated and adjudicated fairly.

“We were naïve,” Alec Brackenridge said. “We thought that our interests and the schools’ interests were aligned. I’ve come to see now that in fact, the school is focused on getting this out of the headlines as quickly as possible and diminishing what happened. That goes for any case, not just Lexie’s case.

“One of the main problems with their policies is they tell students not to go to the police, not to file criminal charges,” he said. “They encourage people to go through the college’s process, and I don’t get that, because they’re not prepared to deal with it. In retrospect, maybe that’s a path we should have taken. There are certainly huge costs to that, both in terms of time and the emotional cost. But I can also see why the school wouldn’t want you to report, because they don’t want it on their list of violations. I think the College could do a much better job at the outset, informing the victims of the positives and negatives of either one.”

“The rapist and his teammate lied under oath to manufacture an alibi,” Heidi Brackenridge said. The lie was uncovered when the College examined the records of where and when the students had used their ID cards to swipe into buildings. Lying is a violation of the College’s code of conduct, but “the roommate never had any disciplinary consequences.”

The Brackenridges’ main concern is the return of the assailant to the College. When they found out that he would be returning, they wrote letters to faculty, alumni and trustees, asking for support in their request to have this decision reexamined. They have received an outpouring of support from the community.

“It’s worrisome to me that he is returning in the fall,” E.J. Johnson, Amos Lawrence professor of art, said. Johnson was particularly supportive of Lexie Brackenridge during her time at the College, and has remained in contact with her family. “I don’t know why the College thinks of rape the way it thinks of plagiarism. To me, those are not equivalent sins.”

John Campbell ’84, an alumnus of the College and a former classmate of Heidi Breckenridge’s, was horrified when he received their email. He has written letters to President Falk, to other alumni and to the trustees, and has encouraged alumni to stop donating to the College until this issue is resolved. “I’ve gotten as involved as I have for two reasons,” Campbell said. “First, I know that’s what I would have done if it were my daughter, and because I want to have a good feeling about the college I went to. I’ve given them money for 30 years, and I want to feel positively about Williams, but I’m disgusted with how they’ve handled this.”

The Brackenridges suggested that the College’s focus on athletics could be contributing to the occurrence of sexual assault on campus. “They accept 21-year-old freshmen to the College, and I’m not sure how that’s a positive addition to the community,” Alec Brackenridge said.

Heidi Brackenridge also suggested that the College follow the lead of other schools, like Dartmouth, in instituting policies of automatic expulsion in cases of convicted sexual assaults.

“I think the administration put a lot of emphasis on going through the motions rather than creating a more individualized approach,” Lexie Brackenridge told the Record. “One of the main, overarching issues was a lack of accountability. If someone harasses a victim or lies in a statement made under the Honor Code, they should be punished. People kept testing the limits and pushing the boundaries and because there were no repercussions from the College, the harassment continued and worsened.”

“There was also a pervasive sentiment coming from the administration that I should accept at least some part of the blame and that I shouldn’t want to ‘ruin his life,’” she said. “Hearing this from the administrators who I trusted with my case really altered my impression of myself. It wasn’t until I left Williams and got out of the environment that had become toxic for me that I realized how truly manipulative aspects of their response had been.”

Administration’s response

Based on both federal law and College policy, the administration keeps all details of sexual assault investigations confidential, except for what is published in the yearly email that Bolton sends to the student body. However, they did comment generally on the College’s policies and procedures.

“I don’t think there is any more important issue for the College than the safety of our students, and one of the most important elements of that is prevention and response to sexual assault,” President Falk told the Record. “We have had that on the front burner for the last two years.”

Bolton emphasized that the administration’s priority in these situations is supporting survivors of sexual assault. “This involves a variety of things, including no contact orders, support from counselors, connection to medical services, opportunities for legal reporting, changes in housing and academic accommodations,” she said.

Meg Bossong ’05, the new director of sexual assault prevention and response, said that the College aims to be responsive to students’ needs in the creation of their policies. “Our goals when we evaluate policy are to listen to the experiences of students, especially survivors, and also to the broader college community, and to make sure that our policies are in line with both national best practices and our compliance obligations,” she said.

“We have already been planning to have a top to bottom review of our policies and procedures, quite apart from this situation,” Falk said. “That had already been planned for this summer with Meg Bossong’s arrival, and we have every expectation of doing that work.”

The College does not currently assign mandatory sanctions for any violation of the code of conduct. “All of our policies are based on the idea that you go through a process, and we’ve strengthened that process by bringing in external investigators,” Bolton said.

“We work with a preponderance of evidence standard. We’re looking to see whether it’s more likely than not that a violation of our code of conduct has occurred with regard to sexual assault, and then when we’re done weighing the evidence then we pause and determine a sanction,” Bolton elaborated. “It actually becomes harder to weigh the evidence carefully if you’re facing a mandatory sanction. It can be harder for people to make objective decisions about what often is complicated evidence.”

Recent changes in policy

In an April 8 all-campus email, Dean Bolton outlined recent changes to the College’s policies on sexual misconduct. These included hiring Bossong and a new process for the investigation and sanction of assaulters. In the previous policy, which was in effect during Brackenridge’s time at the College, the deans and Campus Safety and Security were in charge of investigating reports of sexual assaults on campus. The deans would make a ruling, and if the assaulter chose to appeal that ruling, it would go to the Discipline Committee, which is composed of students and faculty.

With the new policy, an external professional in the field handles investigation of the assault. After the investigation is complete and the investigator has written a report, a panel is formed to adjudicate the case. This panel will normally consist of a member of the Dean’s Office, and two trained staff members. Two “yes” votes from the panel of three are necessary in order to find a student guilty of sexual misconduct. If the panel finds the student guilty, they then determine a sanction against the student. After the final ruling is made, both students involved in the case have the right to appeal the decision if they believe there have been significant procedural errors, or if new evidence comes to light.

Conclusions

Emily Roach ’16 and Shannon Zikovich ’15, members of the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (RASAN) highlighted the importance of continuing to examine campus policy and culture around sexual assault.

“We believe that, as we receive new information, it will bolster the conversations already going on between students and the administration to continue to improve support offered to survivors of sexual assault at Williams,” they said. “It is our hope that, in the weeks and months to come, the school community rallies around survivors and allies, so that we can continue to develop a campus culture where critical thinking and discussion surrounding sexual assault policies are met with swift and productive responses by the entire community.”

{ 134 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken Hillman '85 May 14, 2014 at 8:09 am

I would like to point out an aberration that seems to have developed on the Williams College campus. In following up on the story of Lexi (the daughter of a classmate) I noticed that the attacker suspended was a “21 year old freshman”. This individual played Junior Hockey and at last count, fully eight of the 24 members of the hockey team replaced their high school on the roster with the names of Junior hockey teams in the U.S. and Canada. Further, I am attaching links from a Junior Hockey websitehttp://www.juniorhockey.com/news/news_detail.php?news_id=79651 as well as ESPN “Outside the lines” ( http://espn.go.com/otl/hazing/thursday.html ) the problems with underage drinking in hockey as well as hazing (the ESPN article references the University of Vermont canceling a hockey season due to the problem). Perhaps the issue of accepting students who have traveled for years playing sports in an environment that is conducive to underage drinking and hazing and bringing them (and their team first attitude) onto a small, rural college campus campus could warrant a look? Not knowing these individuals I cannot attest to their character, but looking at the metrics, you may in fact have an incubator for bad behavior. Until “we have followed our rules” and “we are looking into new policies” is replaced with real justice (not allowing a suspended student who lied, created a false alibi during the investigation, was charged with drug related offenses and incited his teammates to throw full beer cans at Lexi is allowed back on campus while Lexi was forced to leave after being told she had to live in the same dorm as members of the hockey team) and real support so our daughters can feel safe on campus, I will be suspending my role as a class agent, suspending all alumni giving, suspending all activities on campus (up to and including my 30 year reunion next year) and encouraging all of my classmates and schoolmates to do the same. And in the future, perhaps the Williams Record can worry less about possibly stigmatizing segments of the student population and making them feel uncomfortable and worry more about Lexi, the three students who told Lexi that the response from the college has made them unwilling to speak up about THEIR assault, or my friend Anne Fetter ’85 who came out and announced last night (in response to this) that she was gang raped on campus in 1984 and when she reported it to the Dean she was told “you must have misunderstood”. Keep protecting that “thin purple line” though…

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Andrea Smith '86 May 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Well said, Ken. Don’t give up your position with your class or your reunion. The alumni are the college. They don’t exist without us, and change cannot be enacted unless we all stay and engage in the issue. I think you uncovered a real smoking gun though -the “import” of these older athletes may very well make them feel “special” and “beyond reproach.” There’s obviously little to no respect since they were given special treatment with their admission.

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Steve Troyer May 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Ken and Andrea(friends and classmates): This is an emotional topic for sure. Especially as we all know the families and some of the individuals who Ken mentions personally. I respect your right to choose your response, but I think Andrea is right in pointing out that as active alumni we are in a better position to influence the outcome of the overall review that is occurring here and any policy changes that result. Like it or not, we will not ever know the details of this case or any other. Frankly, as an alumnus, and with all due respect to Lexi, Heidi, Alec and their families, I don’t care about the details of this case or any other case. I feel tremendous sadness for them in this tragedy. I know how I would feel if it were my daughter in her shoes.

What I care about,however, is the same thing that the generations of Williams alumni that have come before me have cared about and that is Williams which will has the option to endure, thrive, or reverse its course as a progressive and leading educational institution, pending how the outcome of this policy review goes. Williams competes for the absolute best students and community members on a global basis. We need to ensure that it continues to be successful in that mission or it will not be the same Williams that was bequeathed to us by our forbearers.

Keep your head and your money in the game Ken(and anyone else reading this) for now. But the college needs to be totally transparent in how this review is conducted, share details of how they make decisions, and involve alumni in the review process before they announce another policy change. If its completed in a transparent and constructive way, and we don’t like the outcome, then we are free to do what we want. I am trusting that it will be done in a Williams way.

And please don’t blame this on older athletes. I have many friends from Williams who were PG athletes and they are fine people(not perfect, but neither is each of us last time I checked). Individuals make decisions, sometimes very bad ones that lead to bad situations….teams and categories of people do not make those decisions. Let’s stay above the stereotyping that we or our parents all heard at Williams that used to include African Americans, Jews, LGBT, etc… I think we learned a few things at Williams about this.

Respectfully, Steve Troyer 86

Steve Troyer 86

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Alex May 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Why stop there? Let’s assume that all students that don’t follow a traditional path and enroll between the ages of 18-19 are a negative influence on the community. Williams shouldn’t foster a diverse environment for people of all backgrounds and ages. Students taking a gap year and perhaps engaging in underage drinking abroad should have their acceptance rescinded immediately. Individuals that served their country in the military after high school certainly shouldn’t be considered. Who knows what traumas they were exposed to during their service! Shield the children from anyone and everyone that didn’t have a lily white, traditional upbringing–it might have been an incubator for bad behavior.

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Mary May 14, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Alex, I agree with you but I think you are misconstruing his statement. The emphasis is on a 21 year old freshman who did not do any of the above things. Playing junior hockey certainly cannot be equated to overcoming personal or socioeconomic barriers, taking a gap year to travel and do volunteer service or work, or serving in the military. I completely agree that diversity is integral to the Williams community but we can do better than this.

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Bethany Pray May 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Williams suffers, I think, from an idolization of a type of success that is embodied by having a substantial bank account, even features and an untroubled mind. Frailty, it finds distasteful. Both in the 80s when I was there and more recently, Williams was an unfriendly place for those who suffered from self-doubt or sadness or who drank too much; who were tormented by questions of sexual preference; who were vulnerable or had been victimized either at Williams or in their past personal lives. Despite a culture that embraces binge-drinking, the substance abuse education and support was and still is, I believe, truly paltry. My Junior Adviser, for example, publicly gave a shot glass as a gift to my freshman entry’s most alcoholic resident, and a sexual gag gift to another resident who was seen as promiscuous (and who I assert was in fact repeatedly taken advantage of).

I’m sadly not surprised by Anne Fetter’s terrible story or by the administration’s response at that time, and Lexie Brackenridge’s description of the administration’s non-response to her harassment (really, assault, concerning the incident with beer cans) by hockey players after the disciplinary hearings seems perfectly in keeping with the Williams ethos. Neither Anne nor Lexie did what the culture says you’re supposed to do: be robust, glib and complacent, or at least act that way. I won’t get into the disciplinary process because I know none of the details. However, I agree entirely with Ken Hillman that it is implausible that stacking the hockey team with junior hockey alumni could benefit the intellectual or social environment at Williams.

On top of revising methods for dealing with alleged sexual assaults, the Williams administration and community have some soul-searching to do; I hope they do it.

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Andrew T. Miltenberg May 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

I am the attorney for the young man that was the subject of Ms. Brackenridge’s allegations. While we are constrained by confidentiality not to speak publicly about this matter, my client continues to dispute the allegations that were made against him,
which we believe, were unfounded. In light of this, we are distressed that he
now is the subject of personal attacks to which he cannot accurately and fully
respond. I can tell you, however, that he is extremely grateful that the school
administration has embraced the totality of the circumstances, and has provided
him with the opportunity to continue his education and earn his undergraduate
degree.

Andrew T. Miltenberg, Esq.

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Robert McMahon May 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Hi Andrew,

Do you dispute that 1/4 college aged women are either date raped or attempted date raped? That a mere 2% of such allegations are false? I realize each case is its own but the odds are not in your favor.

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Kenneth Thomas '93 May 15, 2014 at 3:10 am

Mr. Mittenberg:

Thank you for your statement. For the benefit of the alumni community, your bio:

http://nmllplaw.com/attorneys/andrew-t-miltenberg/

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'80s Alum May 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm

MILF Hunters?

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'80s Alum June 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Esq. Miltenberg,
I have a hard time imagining you arguing before a judge that the below is not a Code of Conduct violation, esp. ON SUSPENSION, and in light of prior lying, conspiracy to deceive the Deans, and questionable hockey team joining on “MILF Hunters.” You would be shredded in front of US Supreme Court judges. Can’t wait to hear that q&a on Bloomberg Law radio!

“It is publicly avail. info through the local Police Dept. records on the marijuana bust that: a) there were 2 adults of 21 and one minor of 20 conspiring to smoke and hide the smoking of POT in a car at night in a parking lot (i.e. our hockey playing 21 yr. old was not at home lying in bed reading Pliny or The Odyssey and enjoying a harmless joint from homegrown pot); b) all three presumably planned to drive home in their cars, stoned — and we don’t know ‘how stoned’, but if you’re busted at 10pm in a car in a parking lot, smoking pot was likely the focus of your evening as opposed to slipping in a quick toke before going off to a movie or concert…. —- and thus putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk by driving stoned. To those of us who spend alot of time on roads as hikers, cyclists and drivers… this is just gauling that THAT ALONE is not a violation of the Williams Code of Conduct. c) the pot bust in Oct. 2013 was approx. one year (sic: 12 months) AFTER the alleged penetrative drunken, drugged (per Lexie) rape. One year to consider one’s actions and future course, and you get CRIMINALLY busted for pot and corrupting a minor of 20? Is there a snowball’s chance in Hell of a 17 yr. old being admitted to Williams initially with a date-rape and a criminal parking lot automobile venue pot bust on one’s record? Be real.”

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21 year old freshman Eph May 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

Calm down, Alec Brackenridge. I’m a 21 year old frosh (no, not because I’m on the hockey team), and I’d like to think that I am a positive addition to the community. I am sorry about what happened to your daughter, but that doesn’t give you the right to blindly lash out and make a blanket statement on a group of people. Think about it.

#itooamwilliams

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'80s Alum May 31, 2014 at 8:41 pm

http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2012/09/15/boston-university-hockey-culture

So, what ARE the Williams hockey parties like? Are there kegs and booze served to minors < 21. Are there drugs? Is there forcible sex? Group sex? Or, do you all just comb and gel "your flow" hairdoos and practice bravado-laden CHIRPS? Maybe some 'Gang-banging' which may have started consentingly but then, you know, maybe she said NO after the fifth friend of a friend? Were any of your coaches at a party where booze was served to minors? Who? When? Where some low-level drug offenses took place? Is it NOT like B.U. ? Tell us. What is a hockey party at its worst, in your honest experience, at Wms like? You have the floor. Are kids under 21 drinking booze bought by 21+ yr. olds? What drugs? Who buys the drugs? In N. Adam used a pool cue on her on the pool tables? Adams? Bennington? Who are the dealers? Speak up… and don't B.S. us and say the parties are with decaff coffee while watching Sheldon drink coffee in the Big Bang Theory. Have YOU violated the Code of Conduct? Speak up. Or, maybe I can use my real world gang connections in N. Adams and the Crystal Palace et al. and print your drug-buying names. Or maybe in Rochester? Gotta believe a young boy on probation who bought pot likely also bought coke. How fuckin' stupid do you think we are? Careful, careful: you probanly javen't felt hardball tactics back from angry older alums who DO know the underworld in New England before. Oh, and the statute of limitayions is 15 yrs. in MA, so careful how far back you cite exames as you may not want to throw a mentor under the bus, er, I mean in a jail cell. And there is no statute of limitations in many states for violent gang rape. So, gove us the skinny, Mr. Clean?

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Charles Kronick '91 May 31, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Wallpaper.

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Mike June 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Even if you are joking or just extremely “quirky”, your posts (particularly the more recent ones) paint a very vivid picture of an extremely disturbed person.

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'80s Alum June 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Joking about what? You didn’t know about the pool-cue gang-bang pool-table rapes at Williams? Sad that they existed in the 1980s…. and also 25-30 years later. Google it.

Or you don’t want me to use semi-gang and PD connections to figure out and post publicly who is dealing and buying pot, coke and ecstasy at Williams. Guess you’ve never been to Pittsfield’s tougher side; or you don’t want to lose anymore good athletes next year from our Teams? Have you ever even driven Rt. 2 all the way to Adams ? Or, 20/22 to New Lebanon? Where do you think the pot comes from, Goff’s Sports?

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Anne Fetter May 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm

“Calm Down” !?!?!?! You are joking or supremely misinformed. Not until you have a child (should you be so lucky) will you understand the parental protective instinct. I clamly ask you to reconsider your extremely harsh statement and act like the adult you theoretically are. You are too old to fall into the adolescent “self-centered” mode.

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Alex May 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

If Alec had questioned whether any other minority group was a positive influence on the community because of the alleged actions of one of its members, you would be singing a different tune. It is never acceptable to make blanket statements about any group of people, no matter what circumstances you or your family have been through.

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Robert McMahon May 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Hi Alex,

Of course it’s acceptable to make “blanket statements” about groups of people. 6-7M Jews were killed during the holocaust. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge killed 1.5M of 8M from 1975 to 1979. 1 of 4 college aged women in the U.S. have been date raped or have been experienced attempted date rape. Blanket statements about groups that are factual accurate are fair.

Now agreed that taking a “blanket statement” about a group and applying those same facts to any specific individual may be unfair and incorrect. Rather each case needs to be justly evaluated on its own merits. But let’s say the 1 of 4 number is correct (or even off and let’s say it’s 1 in 10), shouldn’t their be individual reports about college aged women winning their date rape cases in some reasonable quantity? If there are no such reports and it’s statistically accepted as accurate then what exactly is silencing the individuals that belong to such a group? And when do we as individuals that make up our society say enough is enough?

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Kenneth Thomas '93 May 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Alex:

You are not identifying yourself except by first name. I am including my name and Williams class.

This is, obviously, a very complex and difficult issue. As such, it demands the utmost seriousness, both in terms of consideration and thought.

In regards to this specific point, Alec and others (and many others, are sharing thoughts and memories today!) are not making a blanket, cover-all prejudicial statement about the Hockey Team (etc).

They are asking, very pointed questions about the team’s history, traditions and behavior. To grab a recent statement from a ’99:

“During my time there the hockey team, in their own house, smashed a hole in the wall and threw their fridge out through said hole – in the second story of the house. It landed on one of their cars, smashing the car. This went over so well that they took hockey sticks and bats and ran out to finish off the car.
I’m not even sure this was while they were drunk.
The hockey team long had this rep prior to that, and as new members come in they have an implicit obligation to live up to that or one up it.

I admittedly was too scared to go to any party of theirs.
Their reputation on campus was very well known. ”

We can make generalizations; on average, that describes the Hockey Team I knew!

Asking whether this institution, given its reputation and quite particular history, in combination with very specific practices (not just 21-year-old first-years, but 21-year-old first-years with particular characteristics), is contributing specifically to problematic behaviors, is perfectly appropriate and fair, and should not upset anyone who is approaching the underlying issue, with the utmost seriousness it deserves.

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howard May 15, 2014 at 10:46 am

I think that is right Ken, although some of the broader statements about not admitting certain people due to group affiliation are just silly.

Here is something I can attest to having lead a large group of hyper aggressive younger men during a large segment of my adult life. In a case where a sport is so important to individuals- the sub culture of the sport takes on a very special meaning. The coach is responsible for regulating that. He should have his finger on the pulse at all times. No doubt about it. That is part of his job. The coach has a responsibility in this case- no doubt about. He is a leader to these young men.

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howard May 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

and if the coach is not leading effectively enough to stop this kind of liability to his team and college, if he is recruiting the wrong people, and allowing for an unsatisfactory climate that condones high risk behavior, he is not doing his job.

Charles Kronick '91 May 16, 2014 at 12:02 am

Pardon the irrelevance of this, but that could have described my Freshman dorm (still embarrassed) or the Rugby Team, or some strange hovel in the dark woods I stumbled upon that stank from 40 feet away.

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Emily Flynn, 2009 May 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Glad to see the Record is reporting on this. If Williams found the suspect guilty through a “preponderance of evidence” then he should be expelled. End of story. However, I do not feel that any college should be the ultimate jury when any felony (or alleged felony) has occurred. And assigning a sort of cultural blame to those that don’t fit the standard 18 year old freshman mold is flawed- there are many reasons to delay going to school. It makes it harder for me to see where Williams went wrong when arguments like that are thrown at the school alongside real reasons for concern, like need for a standard and severe response to sexual assault.

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Mary Nealon '85 May 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

I agree with Ken and am in full support of the Brackenridge family. The college can and must take strong action to prevent assaults of ALL kinds and against ALL individuals at the college. Williams failed Lexie more than once and is setting itself up to fail more students in the future.

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Alum May 14, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Background on the last major story about sexual assault at Williams is available here:

http://ephblog.com/category/controversies/foster/

Start with this post: http://ephblog.com/2004/07/30/foster-05-acquitted-of-rape/#more-990

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Current Junior May 14, 2014 at 10:12 pm

What exactly is the source for the claim that he was found guilty of sexual assault by the college? The original article only said that he had been found guilty of “violating the code of conduct,” which could mean a multitude of things. I do not mean to discredit the victim, but simply that there is a lot of information that we don’t have, so it’s important to be sure that we’re not claiming things that have not been verified. Obviously the school cannot come out and defend itself if he was found guilty of a lesser charge, so let’s be sure about what we’re arguing.

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2016 May 14, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Are you ignorant? He was suspended for three semesters for rape. It is a well known fact. It’s not like we’re arguing over plagiarism here. Finding a backdoor way to challenge this article does not ignore the fact that sexual assault happens at Williams.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 16, 2014 at 12:00 am

Are you ignorant?

Admittedly, I for one am. And I would also like to know what the actual verdict was. If the accusation actually is one of rape, what prevents Ms Brackenridge from filing a police complaint.

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A "Normal Aged" Junior May 14, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Since when did it become so okay to stereotype an entire group because of the actions of one of its members? If someone was claiming that we shouldn’t accept kids from Newark or Camden because their upbringings MIGHT have given them values that predispose them to violence, the entire campus would be in an uproar and we’d be almost instantly slapped with a lawsuit. The idea that kids who play junior hockey are “too dangerous” to be let into this school is ridiculous and against everything that this school stands for. Say what you want about the individual in question, but last time I checked, assuming that members of any group besides criminals are more likely to become criminals is bigotry and prejudice.

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Kenneth Thomas '93 May 15, 2014 at 12:00 am

Respectfully, please see above.

I’ve known perfectly fine members of the Hockey Team (and remember what it’s like to have them run into me on the ice!); however, recognizing that there are likely predictive, p<.05, statistically relevant correlations between certain factors (group affiliation; age, elements of personal history and biography; likelihood to conduct certain actions) is neither bigotry nor prejudice, but simply intelligent analysis.

Finally, and equally respectfully to you– as members of the Williams Community speaking seriously and in earnest about a topic, where we intent to listen carefully, thing, and perhaps, be heard– but certainly, in a matter such as this, to engage in a process that leads to decisions and actions– it is not customary, to hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

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Anne Fetter May 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

Dear Ken ’93 et al.

Thank you for bringing up scientifically based research, which I must insist, in the social sciences does not ever “prove” anything, rather even setting alpha (level of significance, or p) at .05 (5%) we as scholar practitioners can only say that we are 95% sure that the results (or correlations, in this argument) did not occur by chance. We cannot, in fact, state conclusively that these are “predictive” statistics, unless we have run a full gold-standard double-blind placebo study (experimental). What we are left with, in terms of scientific research, is the option to do regression analyses, in which we can say which independent variables (such as those you mentioned above) are “more likely” to be predictors of the outcome (dependent variable), based firstly on the p values (< .05) and the strength and direction of the beta coefficients.

Thank you for reading my point.

Anne

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Robert McMahon May 15, 2014 at 12:41 am

Hi Normal Aged Junior,

The socially accepted view of stereotypes is that they are “bad” and should never be used. Modern psychology tells us differently. Stereotypes are ways we define attributes to a group. They are generalization that, when applied well, accurately describe the group though never perfectly. This means any individual associated with a group will have attributes assigned to him or her per their association even though *some* of the attributes may not apply. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotype

Correcting misapplied attributes is never easy so it’s good to understand them beforehand. If, let’s say in the case, of the Boy Scouts of America where the current leadership assigns pedophilia to gay men the attribute is incorrectly defined at the group and individual level. Another example is illegal aliens as defined by shock jocks claiming that since they are “illegal” they must also exhibit “criminal” behavior which is a trick of false association. These are instances where stereotypes are indeed bad.

But for rape, the offender group tends to be males and victims females (though there are male victims too.) So the stereotype of a rapist is a male. It doesn’t mean all males are rapists but most rapists will be male. Mass media takes it one step further and incorrectly claims rapists are mostly black or Mexican males. The reality is that most rapist are of the same race as the victim and that most rapists and victims actually know each other. Hence the term “date rape” which is a poor term but is used to define familiarity. For example, if my wife doesn’t consent to having sex with me and I ignore her I still am behaving as a rapist, i.e. familiarity has nothing to do with lack of consent.

Getting back to your complaint that older hockey players are being unfairly stereotyped. I suspect this is true, likely on both the group and individual level. The way to correct the stereotype is for hockey players of Williams to demonstrate they are against sexual assault and will report it if one of their peers behaves in such a manner. Respondng this way is a direct attack of the stereotype that’s being misapplied and is likely the quickest way to rectify a misunderstanding about the group. Not doing so can affirm the stereotype as the group can be perceive as implicitly condoning the behavior.

The college is doing the same thing to some degree. And, sadly, it’s not unique to Williams. I suspect if the college were led by a female, one that had first hand experience with “date rape” the official response would be very different. Just a guess on my part as it’s near impossible to predict the response of any single individual, using stereotypes or otherwise.

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Margaret May 14, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Let’s move past chasing the out of context age comment and focus on the real issue at hand: a dangerous, victim blaming culture about sexual assault facilitated by the Williams administration.

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howard May 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

Conflict of interest. The schools primary concern is financial liability, not enforcing laws, or even being ethical. As long as it is technically legal and makes money, you are good to go! Anything that threatens the bottom line is a liability that needs to be measured. Dangerous, victim blaming etc. means less than margins.

That is what these alumni and their daughter came to realize. There are good people at Williams but that does not change the fact that their primary job is to protect the institution, not the individual. In this case the alumni are attempting to attach the two things by running a campaign based on giving- which is a smart move. It is the only recourse. The bottom line is the dominant line. Not ethics.

The business based fiscal model for the school that has been adopted over time is not working. Sure, it is improving the bottom line- but is it helping the reputation of the school and increasing the cannons of ethics being projected and hence taught to some of the brightest minds on earth? Money over ethics. Good message? I don’t think so. Williams is a tax exempt college, not General Electric. The position of the school as a financial powerhouse has become a liability. It has changed the dynamics in a way that takes the focus away from ethics and common decency. That is the real issue at hand. Nothing will change until that changes.

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Howard May 15, 2014 at 5:32 am

I have a broader question for this community of alumni currently posting on this.
What gives Williams the right to secretly decide what happens to someone accused of rape, or any other serious felony? If this student had raped a woman or girl from town, would it still be an honor code violation that involved the possibility of two separate tracks of inquiry including both school and criminal justice punishment? Let’s suppose, someone found guilty of sexual assault ‘by Williams’ is allowed to return and rapes someone visiting from another school- or a resident of this town- what happens then? If a Williams student is found guilty of starting fights and committing assaults by the school- is it ok to have this person in town hanging around local bars? If police respond to an altercation they will have no clue he has shown this kind of behavior on campus- would they? The general public would never know of a persons past ‘infractions’, would we? That is part of the point right? Part of the design is to keep such events that involve Williams hidden from the public forum? A different set of laws. That is a pretty damn elitist position, wouldn’t you say?
The school has a larger obligation here. Rape is a crime against the citizens of MA. It should be prosecuted by someone representing the people of MA, not a college dean. The notion that such a matter can be settled in some kind of secret closed prep school forum is ridiculous. You owe this town and the general public much better. We do not deserve to have a person you found in violation of a serious crime (assault, rape, theft etc) return to this place or any other if his or her record of such a charge or ‘Williams conviction’ is not available for public consumption. Let’s suppose this individual were to rape a resident after he returns? The fact that he was previously accused of such a thing would not be known. What exactly would Williams, the institution, do then? That is pretty scary.

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Robert McMahon May 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm

re: “What gives Williams the right to secretly decide what happens to someone accused of rape, or any other serious felony?”

All colleges have a student code of conduct. Students agree to abide to these standards of conduct when they join the university.

http://dean.williams.edu/policies/code-of-conduct/

Adjudication of alleged violations does need to maintain confidentiality (which is not the same thing as secrecy.)

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Kenneth Thomas '93 May 15, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Mr. McMahon:

Williams Code of Conduct does not trump law in place, much less, give anyone the right to conspire to hide the circumstances of a felony or protect anyone from prosecution– as much, as it has been used to do exactly that.

So-called “confidentiality” primarily does one thing: allow the institution to control the distribution of knowledge, to its own interest, not to anyone else. It is all-too-often used to protect the institution from transparency and review, than to maintain anyone’s privacy (witness, the non-effect of individuals waiving any confidentiality rights).

And it is absurd to think that Williams would not violate this supposed principle, if it felt it was in its self-interest.

Which is to say, you’ve given a non-answer.

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Robert McMahon May 15, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Hi Kenneth,

Let me state that I have know information in this case so I can’t make any claims one way or another about what has motivated any party’s behavior. I also know that the incidents of date rape are very high and many occur during college years.

Agreed that a state law will trump a code of conduct violation and a code of conduct violation does not necessarily equal a state law violation. Cheating on a test probably won’t land one in a MA prison but it may get a student reprimanded by the school.

But confidentiality is about trust and being trustworthy. I think if the victim of a rape wants confidentiality their right to that trumps the right of the larger student body to know that their is an alleged rapist in their midst. It’s painful to say this but that’s what I think. I’d prefer a society that didn’t stigmatize victims of rape so confidentiality wasn’t needed as much to cope. It’d be great for someone to be able say to their peers, “That a**hole raped me, be careful he may rape you too. I recommend staying away from him.” But that’s just not realistic particularly when it’s “date rape” (a term I really don’t like) for a plethora of emotional reasons. And there are the 2% of cases where the allegations truly are false. So if the school were to say, “We think he raped her but we can’t substantiate it.” it’s unfair and possibly libelous for the school to make such a statement.

Secrecy on the other hand is about deception. “Don’t tell anyone that I raped you. Keep your mouth shut.” Hazing a student for speaking out is a mechanism to enforce secrecy. That’s why retaliation is prohibited in the code of conduct. It’s the way to perpetuate secrecy.

The school administration must be trustworthy and that means abiding by confidentiality. It also has to maintain a safe environment for the youth its serving in which to grow. It can be a tough line to walk when information is incomplete and conflicting. That’s why I think it’s huge for victims to assert themselves. If a school administrator made any suggestion about not reporting a criminal act to the legal authorities that would make them untrustworthy. I’d immediately leave the room and talk to somebody who is.

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Robert McMahon May 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

urghh, that should be *no* information.

Kenneth Thomas '93 May 15, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Hi Robert,

Thank your for your explanation. I believe Howard and I, took you to mean something quite different, than you did.

I am agreed that, in the case of sexual assault, if the victim/accuser wishes confidentiality, that is largely a good thing, to be granted. I am less convinced, that it is a good thing in the case of other charges.

Williams is at the far end of institutions I have known, in my opinion, in keeping the true details of its interior procedures, opaque and secret. Many, provide much more information about ongoing disciplinary procedures.

Part of the problem is simply, that Williams, unlike Haverford, is particularly bad at communicating openly with its constituents– a fact that combines somewhat nastily with a “we don’t make mistakes” attitude.

Certainly, students can and do waive rights or guarantees of confidentiality, and it may be in their interest to do so. Williams in particular, seems unprepared to work in an environment of publicity and transparency.

As you note elsewhere, a recent survivor may not at all be the right person, to bear the onus of publicity. It indeed may make sense, to have older alums, bring up these issues, and tell stories — (I don’t mean this, to silence the voices of students!).

The problem, in the end, is that these issues, their difficulties and quandries and details, seem all-too-often neglected, swept under the rug, and, if bemoaned as unfortunate, dealt with as inconvenient problems.

Perhaps that will change with changes in policy and new appointments, but after more than a quarter-century of experience with Williams, I have my reason for doubts.

Williams’ published materials on the matters, are simply bizarre. “Sexual misconduct” is perhaps, the most frivolous, least serious phrase one could use, to refer to such matters. “Rape” is almost entirely gone in Williams’ materials– and the suggestion that consent is unproblematic when one or more party is intoxicated, appears simply wrong– advice that, if followed, could very well lead, to a rape conviction.

What is needed, is a proactive series of policies and measures, which not only prepare the College to react to incidents and accusations, but actively ensure that the number of incidents on the Williams campus, is reduced to a number that is a fraction of today’s.

Outside lip service to “there is no place at Williams for sexual assault–” I’m sorry, but there clearly is! — I do not see that Williams has made such a commitment; in fact it is rather clear, that Williams as an institution, has little idea, what such a commitment would entail.

Thanks again for your multiple comments.

howard May 15, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Robert,
Actually confidentiality is a level of secrecy. At least according to Webster, and the government of the United States.

con·fi·den·tial: intended to be kept secret.

.

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Kenneth Thomas '93 May 15, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Also,

Compare Clark University’s declaration:

http://www.clarku.edu/offices/dos/survivorguide/definition.cfm

and note that the word “rape” is used, and that, consistent with Massachusetts Law, and that of many other states, one cannot have presumptive consent if one party is intoxicated.

I’ve recently discussed this with several individuals quite familiar with the law and practice in Massachusetts; Williams’ facile assertion that consent can be given when intoxicated seems misleading, wrong, and dangerous.

While I do not necessarily agree with Clarke’s political positioning in their statements, Williams’ positivist and legalistic in-the-details framing, and failure to address sexual assault (“misconduct?” really?) in a more general and contextual way, is simply problematic.

Finally, what leads you to state “adjudication of alleged violations does need to maintain confidentiality”? :) (Our legal tradition, hardly would seem to think so!)

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howard May 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm

You do not have to look that far Ken. Check out MCLA… 10 miles down the road.

http://www.mcla.edu/handbook/yourrights/sexualviolencepolicy/

Compare that to Williams.

http://dean.williams.edu/policies/sexual-misconduct/

Who would you rather have protecting your daughter?

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Robert McMahon May 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm

On consent and intoxication, I don’t like that much either. I don’t know how I’d draw a line to enforce explicit consent in a student code of conduct. I do know what I teach my children – don’t get intoxicated with people you don’t trust. And some you do trust will still violate that trust. Be explicit about your sexual terms with them. Tell them if they ever violate your terms you will report them to legal authorities. A quality partner will respect and honor that.

On adjudication and confidentiality, I think it’s needed to get the most information. It also goes along with being trustworthy.

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howard May 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Robert- I think you are missing my point. The problems I have with confidentiality in the college setting are that it protects the school and the accused from disclosure, even if there may be enough evidence for an arrest and a conviction. That cannot be in the victims best interest. The police also have a legal obligation to keep the victims name confidential- but the suspects name will be published on an arrest blotter if they are arrested.
A college administrator is not trained to gather evidence for a criminal investigation. Being involved prior to the police could potentially obstruct any criminal investigation.
If the victim keeps it in house, the College cannot publish the name of the suspect, even if he is found to be guilty in the college setting. As we have seen.
Anything the police may or may not do stops the school from running a separate process as long as they are not impeding the investigation.
Nothing will make everyone pay attention faster than an arrest. You start bringing in law enforcement and allowing them to do their jobs and put people in prison for this kind of crime- and it will definitely change the climate. The emphasis on keeping these cases in house is counter productive.

Robert McMahon May 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Hi Howard,

I think I understand your point and agree that a college likely doesn’t have the skills to handle a criminal case. I think what you are possibly suggesting is similar to mandatory reporting for under age abuse or senior abuse

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/sr/statelaws/statelaws.shtml#Massachusetts

I probably would support such a policy though I don’t know if it’s sufficient. What happens if the local police don’t have sufficient evidence to successfully prosecute (which is very common?) Should not a college have a parallel mechanism to protect their student body thru things like expulsion? I think so. If a college won’t enforce their code of conduct that’s a big problem but it doesn’t mean the college shouldn’t have the mechanism.

Myth: Most people report rape or sexual assault to the police.
Fact: The truth is that rape and sexual assault are two of the most underreported crimes in our society. Estimates show that between 50–90% of rapes go unreported. Factoring unreported rapes together with the odds of an arrest being made and the chances of getting a felony conviction, only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. In other words: 15 of 16 rapists walk free.

http://well.wvu.edu/articles/rape_myths_and_facts

Charles Kronick '91 May 16, 2014 at 12:15 am

Howard,

If the student who complained to the College was a minor at the time, the College would have been required to report the event to the police. Otherwise, I believe the onus is on the victim to make the report.

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howard May 16, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Charles-
Thank you for the response.
One of the broader issues is the handling of obviously more mature non traditional students. A 20 something year old who has played several seasons of semi pro hockey is most likely going to have a much greater amount of experience than a 17 year old minor… which this girl was at the time. It is the obligation of the individual athlete, team, coach, athletic director and college to make sure that such students are way-way-way above board in the way they behave, especially sexually and physically with younger students.

Many people get into Williams because of athletics, and admits on that basis need to respect that. It is every non traditional students obligation to remember that going to Williams is a huge honor. They are representing a group of other non traditional students- and in this case they are representing the hockey team, as well as the school.

Sports, in particular contact sports, are very important for young aggressive men. Sports kept me from being a drop out and allowed me to go to college.

Sports should be positive. Sports are very important for our society- as a place for young men and women to grow and prosper. This kind of behavior simply cannot be tolerated. It would appear that Williams has not directly confronted this culture, as the school continues to use vague language and look the other way on some things that need to be addressed. Not just talked about, or denied- but confronted!

I have seen some Williams teams go through rites of passage as recently as last year- hazing- at the local swimming hole at linear park. That is not ok. The construct of this sub culture must be controlled in a productive way that is free of peer pressure outside of the classroom and athletic field of play.

It amazes me how many Williams alumni are passive about hazing and the production of such cultures. All of this is related. The team should feel ‘part of and responsible’ rather than ‘separated from and unaccountable’. Some of the behaviors I have witnessed in town have also been problematic. This can happen from time to time when alcohol use is excessive- but some of these young men are drinking too much and they are not being held accountable- point blank.

There is a lack of older positive peer engagement occurring in some of the athletic teams… after the individual athlete and team captains, the coaches are the first ‘administrative’ line of defense and the first who are responsible for this climate. Williams needs to get tough. I cannot put it any more plainly than that. It is not enough to use vague language- you must continually engage, monitor, and mentor young aggressive men. Teams need to constantly meet with people in positions of authority.

Some here will no doubt say that it is wrong to single this sub group out. Why not single out the school band or dance? That is complete nonsense. Male contact sports athletes have a particular special status in college for a reason, and they need to be treated in a special way. If this is done, the majority of the players, the vast number of whom are good and want to be good actors and mentors, will assume leading positions and regulate much of this internally.

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Robert McMahon May 16, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Hi Howard,

I played collegiate level basketball, was a member of a fraternity, have four sisters, multiple close female friends, etc., and sadly know this issue too well. I think we should be careful about assigning a group to this behavior as it truly is not limited by such. There are groups that promote aggression and hazing and will affirm such stereotypes. (From a mass media perspective, it’s black NFL football players, right?)

I could go on and on about the number of shitty coaches out there that really should be fired, having first hand experience with too many. But then there are many that teach just the opposite. Throwing them all into one pile is a bit of a disservice.

I also think by scapegoating a group will may lose sight of how pervasive this behavior really is. There is no way to isolate it to a single group. The closest thing, by me experience, would be the male gender. After that, an offender can be almost anybody.

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howard May 17, 2014 at 8:22 am

I can only speak to the group I understand. It is foolish to treat a 20 year old the same as a 17 year old. It is foolish to believe that a semi pro hockey player should coming to school and living with minors should not be counseled and warned about screwing around with much less experienced kids.

Robert McMahon May 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Hi Howard,

I only have anecdotal data from my life which includes participating in sports at a collegiate level (it wasn’t hockey nor Williams so I can’t speak to that program.) Most players of sports teams being stewards of the university brand must behave at an exemplary level. Quality coaches know this and instill this in their players. My experience was that my peer sports athletes helped to protect young women and did not rape them. Obviously, I can’t make this claim for all sports athletes and many are not exemplary.

Another issue with scapegoating a sports team is that it may give one a false confidence by implying that a college aged woman can avoid rape but merely avoiding sports players. My anecdotal data for the too many rape cases I’ve learned about is that it was *not* sports players and the offenders could not be easily stereotyped other than the offender was a male.

Rick May 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm

As a graduate from a peer institution that had a gang rape on campus during our first weeks of college in the 1980s, it saddens me to see that the Williams administration is acting the same way my college’s administration did over 30 years ago.

In the end, the rapists graduated; the raped woman left campus.

Why have the administrations of these institutions still not taken seriously the responsibility that they have to keep their students safe? Protecting a student’s reputation should be lower on the priority list than protecting students from physical harm.

Who are these men who feel they have the right to rape. Is this a code of conduct that they were taught by their fathers, mothers, or grandmothers?

Who are these men who feel that they have the right to try intimidate the victim of a crime into silence? Would they expect their sisters or mothers or girlfriends to stay silent in the face of such a violent act?

Who are the men who stand by silently knowing that this is happening at their institution? Why do they not demand that their institutions protect their friends?

We are far beyond the time that college administrators should be trying to protect their endowments and their rankings by sweeping misconduct out of view at the expense of campus safety. Instead they should engage in actions that will lead to ending this horrific situation that women on college campuses face today: trust someone, get raped, be told to stay silent by those who are in charge of your safety, chose not to stay silent and face the consequences, leave the institution and continue your education elsewhere.

Why not start with demanding an end to the silence and protect those who will not stay silent? How about the college’s offering caring, anonymous medical care, counseling, legal advice to anyone who comes forward.

Why not enforce codes of conduct that are in place when students lie during an investigation?

In this case, why not conduct an investigation into the retaliation event? They apparently interviewed 30 individuals regarding the rape; at least two of them lied to the investigators, yet only one had any action taken against them. How many people were interviewed about the retaliation event? Did any of them lie? Was any action taken?

Williams, it is clear that you want this problem to go away quietly. That is not going to happen until you take effective action to improve the safety of everyone on your campus.

Kudos to the alumni who are withholding contributions to the institution until they make systemic changes that improve safety. The only way that you can effect change is by making yourself heard. Withholding money is a very loud message.

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Robert McMahon May 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

re: “Why not start with demanding an end to the silence and protect those who will not stay silent? ”

This is a good start though one can’t demand that a victim of sexual assault go public as most just want to move on with their lives. I think a greater public awareness starts with older women that were sexually assaulted during their college years making public statements about what happened to them. Then the larger society can see how prevalent the behavior has been. In my opinion, asking a recent victim to “carry the torch” is a bit much.

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ESH, Harvard '90 May 16, 2014 at 8:08 am

Having always had great respect for Williams, I’ve pictured it as a place I could send any of my two daughters or son one day.

I’ve always recommend the school to friends as they’ve considered colleges with their children.

Whatever the specifics of this particular case may be, it’s clear to me that this situation could be handled better from both a legalistic sense, and in terms of campus culture.

I now question whether I would recommend the College or send my children there.

(And whether my alma mater is any better or worse on this matter, I don’t know. This situation brings to light new things to consider for any college when we reach that point).

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Robert McMahon May 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Hi ESH,

I think the best way to mitigate these risks for our youth is to empower them, teaching them the difference between secrecy, privacy and confidentiality, being open that bad things happen and that there is no shame when they do occur (take away the stigma.) Shame combined with secrecy is usually a recipe for disaster and both must be stamped out early and quickly.

I also think the behavior we model to our youth is more important then anything we can say or anything that can be found in a student conduct rule book. I’m particularly concerned about demonstrating to youth how they can assert their rights even to an authority figure (such as a father, teacher, etc.) I try to immediately respect it when my children or the youth I serve assert towards me knowing this is how they learn to do so.

http://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-prevention/protecting-a-child-from-sexual-assault

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ESH, Harvard '90 May 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I totally agree. What I’m afraid of, from this particular case (and it’s likely there are many other cases lurking at all of our peer institutions) is the culture outside of the “student conduct rule book”. The written rules are a heuristic, a flag pole, but the hope is the campus culture buffers us from having to invoke it.

We teach our children to look both ways when they cross the street, regardless of whether pedestrians have right-of-way.

I’d prefer to send my girls somewhere they’re safe from transgressions that require Deans and Presidents to invoke imperfect codified procedures.

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Robert McMahon May 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

re “I’d prefer to send my girls somewhere they’re safe from transgressions that require Deans and Presidents to invoke imperfect codified procedures.”

Me too. Sadly, I don’t know of such a place. (Some better news, for me at least, is I’ve seen my children assert, as a victim as well as when witnessing victimization, in a manner that most adults never do.) I’m also hoping this issue will be similar to the sea-change we’re seeing towards the acceptance of the LGBT community. The most effective tool there has been social acceptance due to an openness by the stigmatized group, “coming out of the closet” in colloquial terms. We can do so much as fathers in demonstrating the proper behavior of men. I think equally important is that the mother’s need to demonstrate a bravery. Face those fears and tell their stories, privately, and then some, publicly.

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Alum May 16, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Why is Williams admitting alternative students in the form of semi-pro hockey players in the first place?

How does a 17 year old underage girl end up in the dorm room of a 21 yo at 2 am with dire consequences?

Why were charges not encouraged to be filed in this case?

Why, when lies were discovered, was this case not re-examined?

Why would I want continue to support the college as an alum or send my children there?

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Robert McMahon May 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm

re “Why would I want continue to support the college as an alum or send my children there?”

Hi Alum,

We all want safe places for our youth to grow and hope the environments we choose and support will provide such. So I hope it’s ok to reword your question to something, “Where is a good place to send my children to college?”

My thoughts are that rape happens at all levels and the rate is much higher during college years. I’m not resigned to acceptance but must work with the world as it really is. If a college administrator claims some form of exceptionalism in this regard I’d reject that college as denial is a bad sign to me. I’d also would not lean on student codes of conduct as those are nearly unenforceable and most students don’t read them. What I’d look for is a college that has the support systems in place and that are very good at teaching youth about mutual consent. I’d also try to get a feel for the male and female culture. If I see too many males stigmatizing the female population, it’s a bad sign, rape or otherwise. If I don’t see females speaking out about being raped, it’s a bad sign. Environments where females are treated as equals is the goal here.

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howard May 18, 2014 at 5:13 am

Alum,
All valid questions. This stuff spills over into town as well. A big part of the problem is the fact that the school wants to keep anything controversial under wraps. Williams has an inability to admit when it is wrong. The school gets caught stealing tips from employees and claims it has done nothing wrong, while firing the whistle blower. Then relies on confidentiality to not discuss it. The school creates a confidentiality agreement with the perpetrator, when the rules say he can be named. It is all just nonsense and spin all the time.

In this particular matter the player in question got busted for drugs while he was on suspension… yet he is still allowed to return when the school has a perfect opportunity and valid reason to correct the mistake it made. It could be done without ever having to admit a mistake was made… and that seems to be the emphasis in all this. Not caring about the climate. Not what happened. The overall content of all these official statements has one major theme: “Williams never makes mistakes.”

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Alum May 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm

I’ll be damned if I send my underage daughter to Williams to share an entry with a bunch of 21-22 yo hockey players. Since when does the college favor winning hockey games over education and student safety? Making people with such differences in age and experience live in the same dorm is not diversity, its just asking for trouble.

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Mike May 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm

I don’t believe you’re an “Alum”.

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Alum May 25, 2014 at 1:58 am

I am only stating publicly what my alumni classmates are saying privately.

To be blunt, alumni donations are largely determined by the degree to which we desire our children to join the Williams family. The strategy to make significant donations for several years before the application is made.

Rape is epidemic on campuses across the US. As the premiere small college in the country, I expect superior leadership from the administration and frank conversations with students and recent alumni to craft policies to prevent further assaults.

It this requires restructuring the dorms and ending the recruitment of certain types of students so be it. Any policy change must be based on best available data and recent experience.

Mike May 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Well, certainly. Who wouldn’t want the children of these “Alum” idealists at an elite college. Well said. Nicely put.

I still don’t believe you’re an “Alum”.

'80s Alum June 1, 2014 at 9:07 am

Why not accept the wisdom of an actual Williamstown hockey expert named Kangas, per his tweet: “All hockey players are bilingual: they speak English AND Profanity.” You”d think he’d know, as he played in a junior hockey league, and I assume his dad is the Wms hockey coach. Wonder if HE has any DUI or Marijuana busts? Hmmmm, where is my Lexis/Nexis password?

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Charles Kronick '91 June 1, 2014 at 11:46 am

Actually, I think you should refer the question to Milkcarton. Many of her colleagues, including the Lt. Governor, likely have DUI and possession issues.

Why think small?

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Mike June 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I pray the extent of your pathology is known to others. I pray you are being closely monitored. However, I am fearful this may not be the case as you seem to have unfettered access to a computer.

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'80s Alum June 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Google it. I didn’t make it up. Spend a day googling “hockey culture toward rape assault women high school college” You’ll be shocked, esp. what goes on up in Canada. Holy cráp. Seripisly. You’ll be ill.

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Mike June 2, 2014 at 12:44 am

“He said ‘profanity’…he said ‘profanity’!!!! NOT AT MY WILLIAMS!!!…NOT AT MY WILLIAMS!!!…oops, he’s not at my Williams?…whatever.”

Sticking with your sick logic, I guess we can deify the coach for not recruiting his sick twisted ‘junior hockey’ sons. For surely, they have proven themselves unworthy of …whatever. Yes, evil spawn, one and both.

I choose not to spend a day googling anything. You too can make the choice…not to google/oogle/ogle anything…just for one day… and no ‘fit blue blazer boys’ either.

There is no hope for you. A knife fight? You seem to be strutting around with a toenail clipper and a bloody sock in your hand…the pride of Williams!

There is no hope for you. If I could type something that would push you over the edge, I would consider it a resume padder. I have a sense you’re close.

I said too much! Oh man, now I will spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder for the Pittfield mob.

howard May 18, 2014 at 5:01 am

“In the matter raised by the former student and her parents, the College, as always, followed faithfully and fully its established written procedures in both adjudication and support.”

Is it me or does it bother anyone else how this kind of statement pretty much negates any self criticism. “The College as always”… Williams must be the only institution in the United States that has never made a mistake. I mean, that is a big part of the problem right? The lack of any accountability and a lack of being able to have constructive introspection. The culture of “we have never made a mistake, and never will…”

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Mike May 18, 2014 at 9:56 am

He was a 20 year old freshman–born in 1992.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

My, my. The more we learn, the less we understand.

She was a member of the Hockey Team and fully part of the ‘Hockey Culture’ which is implicated by this story. I strongly encourage Mr. Thomas ’93 to restrain his urge to identify the accused and for the hockey player to stay exercise his right to remain silent in the face of public accusations.

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Kenneth Thomas '93 May 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Mr. Kronick:

With respect and in brief: your multiple comments give me reason to question your good faith; presuming that I am cooresponding with the C.I.K. ’91 I see listed in the alum directory, I’ll give you some benefit of the doubt.

Dean Bolton’s April 8th statement is here: http://dean.williams.edu/policies/sexual-misconduct/april-8-2014/; see the 4th paragraph. We are obviously talking about the “second incident.”
The Code of Conduct: http://dean.williams.edu/policies/code-of-conduct/

We can make some reasonable inferences from there (while remembering we can be wrong). With 25 years since I was part of the RASAN founding group at Williams, I am familiar with 10 or more such incidents at Williams, and at least a few dozen at other institutions.

A three-semester suspension would be odd for unconsensual sexual contact only, without aggravating factors that have not been claimed, and outside the College and other institutions’ typical responses. Given this alone– not to mention details available elsewhere– it is reasonable to think that we’re talking about an incident that could be charged as rape in Massachusetts.

And again respectfully to you, I’ve discussed this in depth with a large number of attorneys and experts in the field– for 20 to 30 hours in the past week and at least a few thousand in my lifetime.

To point out that a 17-year-old who played hockey in high school, was a member of the Williams Hockey Team and a part of its culture, without further and careful investigation and discussion, is transparently an attempt to transfer blame and attention from the its proper focus– the accused– to the victim/accuser, and in so doing, to cloud the issue.

You keep doing this, without much evident self-awareness, or serious engagement with the facts and details. I urge you to reconsider this pattern– there’s a lot to be learned, merely by reading what has been posted on the Record, from Williams’ statements, on WBUR, and from considered and respectful discussion with alumni and others.

Otherwise, we all make judgments. The standard for criminal guilt is not the standard for civil guilt is not the standard for private and public judgments.

Unless someone around here, feels like defending the proposition that O.J. Simpson verdict, means we should all treat O.J. as innocent?

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Charles Kronick '91 May 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Why thanks for giving me the benefit of some doubt – that is all that I am doing for a student under media attack who has not enjoyed the opportunity to face his accuser in court.

While you are generous to give some room for error, I do not see you applying it in your numerous comments. (I notice that your anonymous writing is much more ad hominem oriented, by the way. You ought to fix that.)

You can talk to hundreds of attorneys for many more hours, but until you hear from the ‘plaintiff’ or his agent, you have nothing to go on. I mention those details of Ms Brackenridge to point out that there are plenty of facts that pertain to the story that have been omitted. Are they irrelevant, or could it be window dressing? I have read all the accounts of this incident and the report from WBUR is a clear example of sloppy journalism. It is full of innuendo and gossip. The hockey team the man played on over the summer, a drug charge. What more do we need to hear to know he must be guilty in the first degree?

I write in sincerity that we are witnessing a public trashing of an individual, and I expect that when the truth comes out, which by now is inevitable, more than a few here who have any decency will be a little embarrassed.

OJ Simpson? How far afield can you go until we agree that somehow you must be really bothered by something that is not part of this allegation? And yes, since he was innocent so he should enjoy the right to pursuit of happiness and liberty, just like the rest of us.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Oh, and lest I forget, your intuition is correct. Since only two Kronicks have a Williams degree. Now guess my major and let’s discuss the odds I’m a sexual offender.

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'80s Alum June 2, 2014 at 5:09 am

Why was he drinking at an on-campus party monitored by Williams Security/Safety staff? Did he fake an I.D. tk get a wristband? How did he have booze if nobody served him, per the Williams Code of Conduct? Did he bring booze from say, another state or Country to his Williams dorm room? That’s illegal oer MA state law. I followed the booze laws in high school and college. Truly: I eecall wanting to mess aroumd with booze and not just beer (it was bifurcated in my time, and I was only partially grandfathered as a Soph). Why won’t these kids today? Or is a gal being date-raped not a big enough deal for some to say, “Gee, maybe the MA State Legislature’s rules are there for a reason, and maybe they have some proof that pot disproportionately affects the judgment of still forming teen brains?” Booze is a strong drug. THC / marijuana is a strong drug, esp. on teens’ brains, which are already a mishmosh of competing serotonin, dopamine and whatever Rx drugs they may be on.

Why was a 20yr. old Frosh drinking and drugged (per Lexie statement…) on campus? Who served him the booze? Sold him the drugs? Oh, driving across state lines with illegal booze or drugs maximizes the penalty vs. just buying diwn in Adams. I know it sounds quaint, BUT a young girl was allegedly raped and had to leave campus from a school that 99% of this country’s kids would only dream of attending.

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Robert McMahon May 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Hi Charles,

I think the whole “Hockey Culture” thing may be a bit much. I do think there can be programs that explicitly or implicitly support hazing etc. but my hope is that most don’t. The NFL gets bad publicity for crime because many associate the sport as violent (or at least too aggressive) hence the players must have a higher tendency towards criminal behavior. The mass media affirms the stereotype. My reading of the stats is that NFL players are significantly less likely then the overall male population to engage in criminal behavior. With that said, I do think there can be “group” behavior supported by a particular sports program but I wouldn’t pin that to an entire type of sport such as hockey. I also hope the group behavior supported by a program would be exemplary vs otherwise.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Hello Robert,

I’m not getting a clear read on what you’re saying. In case I wasn’t clear, I am not buying that any sports team or other distinct group on the campus to be criminally inclined. I am picking up implications from several on this argument that we should be suspect of hockey players, 20 year old males, and deans. (Put the three together and you may have a good joke.)

Going back to your original statement,

Let me state that I have … information in this case so I can’t make any claims one way or another about what has motivated any party’s behavior

That pretty much sums up what there is to discuss. I hope that Ms Brackenridge does well at Columbia and finds success in her life, and I also hope those who rush to judgement don’t find themselves regretting their public words.

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Michael Lissack May 24, 2014 at 9:50 am
Charles Kronick '91 May 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Of course, the Huffington Post is such a veritable fountain of truth and puffery that we need look no further….

Yet there are plenty of instances of hoaxes perpetrated by curious art students, and we know the copycat effect. I’m relieved that the students got a day off and group counseling for the event. Far less than that happens in downtown Pittsfield when a local synagogue is defaced or when Clarkesburg tombstones overturned.

But, hey, we grow tough skins in the real world.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/07/31/hate-crime-hoaxes-present-burdens-lessons-college-campuses#sthash.g0fhBPMY.dpbs

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'80s Alum May 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

OMGosh: in his 3-semesters away, reforming, repenting, he was on a hockey team called the M.I.L.F. Hunters ? For those of you without cable t.v., that’s Mothers I’d Like to Fu#k. Would he get in as a Frosh if that factoid was on his résumé ?

http://www.wbur.org/2014/05/12/williams-sexual-assault-case

My Williams admission essays were typed by the legal secretary to JPMorgan’s grandson. Dare say they were the most polished and perfect essays ever FedEx’d to Phil Smith. BUT, I’m kinda thinkin that if it included MILF Hinters Squash Tean along with Martial Arts and Gaelic Club, I may not have gotten in ? Are we living in some alternate universe? If he really did have sex or penetrative equivelant with a 17 yr. old which IS statutiry rape in 20% of USA states, AND in MA if the assailant is > 2 yrs. older (which he was) and had undue influence (which he did due to size and location; i.e. in HIS room) that IS also rape. Can’t we sue him on a Friend of Court basis even if Lexie, understandably, did not want to? Seems to me like a violation of MA state alcohol and sex abuse laws, “prima facie.” Prima friggin’ facie. Right?

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Charles Kronick '91 May 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

’80’s Alum,

For heavens sakes, please! Minors could be reading these posts and you also risk re-victimizing someone.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I imagine the google search for a smutty four letter phrase is now soaring amongst the elder alumns….

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'80s Alum May 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

EVERBODY:

ONE thing I KNOW we all agree on is we’d like to ensure a 100% safe campus with zero sex assaults AND zero “uninvited penetrations (rape).”

I ask you to look to Aug.-Sept. ’14 and suggest what kind of actions can be taken with the Williams students on a MANDATORY basis: perhaps a mandatory on-line rape awareness module and/or on-campus film and lecture;

• complete focus on respecting the ABSOLUTE sanctity of a partner’s body and penetrations, esp. when ejaculation is involved risking pregnancy and infections in women and infection or injury in men;

• forceful education on the devastating mental injuries from a rape, to so many parties.

• very blunt and persuasive info on the effects of booze on the ability to control decision-making and checking any inappropriate and unwanted acts.

Spirit of we’re all after same thing…. serious replies only, please.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm

You asked, here it is.

Preface:
Laws of Man and Heaven are guiding principles to a Just Society. Profane Law provides avenues for compensation and remediation to both plaintiffs and defendants. No one in their right minds believes any law will prevent transgressions. (1) Further, no one who buys into the principles that found this nation would comfortably tolerate others making an end run around the goalpost of Justice and prosecute their complaint in the media.

Proposal
To reduce the occurrence of unwelcome sexual advances and rape, I propose the following. If you’re strong, you will take it seriously. If you’re a wimp, you’ll demand we form a committee and hire a Rape & Sexual Discrimination & Sexual Assault Coordinator and form a student council for victims. Plus, some very strong words from a Dean or two.

To wit:
I: End co-ed housing. Men and women should not share buildings. Campus Security restructure to provide Entrance security. Only men go into men’s dorms, women go into women’s dorms. Guests allowed during daylight only.

II: Ban alcohol consumption on campus. Williams educated statisticians may be enlisted to analyze data to confirm/disprove hypothesis that alcohol, late night parties, and coed housing are predictors of rape or non-felonious personal harm.

III: 9:00 PM Curfew. No foot traffic on campus after 9:00 pm. Department buildings and library requiring shuttle escort back to dorm.

Man up Williams, this proposal was once a norm, and it was developed by men and women who understood men and women. I’m dead serious and sincere and not joking.

1) As of writing, no one actually knows how many laws are on the book, Federal, State, and local. In fact, no even wants to guess. According to Yahoo answers, there are 23,000 pages of laws, and assuming 1- 50 pages per law, gives you between 500 and 23,000 laws. Even more laws are being added to the books as I think about this, and yet we have a busy docket in District Court. So much so that it has taken almost three years to try three depraved murderers who desecrated Pittsfield State Forest and more than a few memories in what was a truly a horror of Justice and crime.

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Alum May 25, 2014 at 2:05 am

And don’t forget the mandatory salt peter

Charles Kronick '91 May 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm

And don’t forget the mandatory salt peter

Alum,

You little whippersnapper – now you gone and done bring in the DHS. Just stay put, I”ll be back in just a minute.

<SLAM!>

Mike May 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

“My Williams admission essays were typed by the legal secretary to JPMorgan’s grandson. Dare say they were the most polished and perfect essays ever FedEx’d to Phil Smith. BUT, I’m kinda thinkin that if it included MILF Hinters Squash Tean along with Martial Arts and Gaelic Club, I may not have gotten in ?”….are we being punked?

Otherwise, your recent posts (on multiple threads) would seem to constitute, “primma friggin’ facie”, a great rational for some sort of key board breathalyzer locking device.

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'80s Alum May 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Mike, In all sincerity, the admissions essays were done that way… and they were just a beautiful package. Looked like the work product of some Senaye committee. My point is that I just can’t reconcile MILF Hunters with our admissions policy, ongoing Code of Conduct even on suspension, and respect for women. But, may I switch gears? I’d like to ask Esq. Miltenberg to confirm and show publicly the part of his q&a with the student where he is asked whether he even knew the age of consent in Williamstown, for if he had attended U.Va. or Vandy in TN, he’d be in a jail cell for statutory rape, “on the friggin face of it.” Uou foumd this Board Atty. Miltenberg. Was he aware he woulf have been RAPING no matter what she said, in Va TN, CA and eight other major states with college hockey programs?

I know some colleges have a “first offense forgiveness for alcohol and minor drug use.” But when a 17 yr. old is raped, isn’t that the kind of defense for a guy who was an age where many are SENIORS in college, to just pack it in and rehab his dronking, drugs and sex drive somewheee else? I think the lhrase was, “Sir, have you NO shame?”

So, Esq. Miltenberg, can you confirm that your client knew the age of Lexie, and that he knew the age of consent in MA, and that under MA law a bigger giy 4 years older — even tho consent IS 16 — is easoly considered a rape umder the umdue influence and coersion clause of MA law? Confidentiality a great thing, and it’s betyer than saying my client was so “drugged and drunk” he didn’t even know he sexually assaulted her, and didn’g pause to consider her NO STOPS or his 4 yr. oldet, and I’m guessing at least 150lb. weight advantage.

Again, are we in some sort of alrernate universe here?

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'80s Alum May 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Attorney Miltenberg,

You are not bound by condidentiality on whether or not your “fine upstanding bkwl fjll of Yankee character” client was on a team called MILF HUNTERS. yes or No. If YES, he don’t belong at MY Williams. I wear the an Williams ring on my finger, and have for 25 years. MILF Hunters? Really? MILF Hunters? Sleeping with a married (presumed) woman is a felony in almost all USA states. So, you’re guy deserves to represent Williams even though he thinks MILF Hunters is, um, funny?

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Ned Davis May 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm

This assault story proves once again that Williams ‘s misguided, absurd, embarrassing , disproportionate emphasis on winning at organized athletics must end. It’s a curse which will ruin the college.

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Robin Wildfang '86 May 27, 2014 at 1:58 am

I can’t help but notice that most of us commenting on this article are alums, many from the mid 80s, perhaps because the parents involved are our generation. I’d like to hear though, what do present students think? What do they think needs to be done to protect them and keep them safe? Is the college doing enough? Should it do more? They are after all the ones on the ground who know what is going on at the college.

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Robin Wildfang '86 May 27, 2014 at 3:05 am

Basically, we’ve heard from one young woman and her family that Williams college is not doing enough to protect their students from sexual assaults/rape. Before I pass judgement on the college though I would like more information, not about this specific case but about what the students who are there think more generally. Do female students not know what the college’s policy is when a sexual assault happens? Do they feel that they are at risk and that the college is not doing enough to protect them? Is it a problem that some first year students are older than others? Do athletes get special treatment in matters of discipline for offenses committed? A single student’s experience, as terrible as it seems to have been for her, is not to my mind evidence enough to make a decision to categorically condemn the college’s actions.

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EphAlumna '13 May 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

With regards to the post asking what students think about this: I am not a present student, but I was at Williams not too long ago(’13). In terms of preventing these terrible things from even happening, there are at least a few things that I would like to see done.

First, I would like to see students having more ongoing discussions about the hookup culture. Even if it just means providing a space, I think we need to think about how the hookup culture is perceived on campus and what it means for students.

I would also like to see more “bystander” training implemented throughout the year. How can I support my friends at weekend parties? How can I watch out for them at parties? What can we do as allies to help our friends if they come to us about a problem regarding sexual assault? If a friend came to me, I would not know what to do…I want to be able to support my friends.

Lastly, there should be a full-time legal advisor at the college. Someone needs to be available to tell students their rights and explain legal processes clearly. Deans and other administrators are so busy and have 100,000 other responsibilities. There need to be some individuals who are committed to helping students understand everything they need to know.

Oh and can we please have clearer explanations of policies and procedures? I would not know where to go first if something happened…

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Robin Wildfang '86 May 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Thanks, EphAlumna ’13. I have had a number of recent students visit me as winter study interns over the past couple of years and the stories they tell about the prevalence of ‘hooking up’ at Williams have concerned me, partly because it seems to me that ‘hooking up’ can easily lead to the kind of incident that gave rise to this discussion. I think a discussion of the practice as well as the other points you mention might be a good place to start.

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'80s Alum May 28, 2014 at 10:33 am

WHERE is the public statement from Mens Hockey coaches Kangas and LaCour saying, “I don’t accept having a probationaey sgudent busted for marijuana buying, possession & using, and joining The MILF Hunters, on my team representing Williams, a school with traditions of integrity and excellenxe dating to 1793.”

Maybe he sent that letter privately to The Pres. and The Deans?

Coach K? Any comment? Coach K? Busted for pot while o PROBATION / SUSPENSION??? Coach LaCour?

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'80s Alum May 28, 2014 at 11:08 am

One important shout-out for MY Williams, and meeting a stellar, archetypical top Williams senior. I was in W/town in past month, and at Pappa Charlies for late lunch I was standing next to a young man in a blue blazer — he had JUST finished presenting his Senior thesis — and took a cue to spark a convo so I politely said “So, you’re a student, should I order the James Naughton or the Chris Reeve sandwhich? What’s your fave?” Anyway, he offered ti sit down with me and eat, and the lad was A+, polite, well-spoken, physically fit, up on current events, in to some sports for fun, excited about starting a cool and socially valuable career, a great sense of humor and timing, a willingness to forgive my generagional gap and my few stumbles at being as hip as him. Just A+, AAA/Aaa. I thought to self that I would be totally comfortable with this guy dating my daughter. I’d be thrilled, in fact. Restored my faith in one oart of the Williams admission process, and a reminder of what a young man raised and educated well, perhaps exceptionally, is all about. This guy will be a leader and a contributor his whole life. You could just feel it. We swapped cards. I hope he emails some day and joins me for a lunch or Williams Club event sometime. A+. Just so refreshing after all the dark stuff we’ve been forced to confront due to the 5% or so men who are abusers, drunks, stoners and assaulters. This guy was A+. A solid 4.0. Inspiring.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Good stuff. Thanks ’80’s Alum.

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'80s Alum May 29, 2014 at 8:43 am

What was the Ferris Bueller line:

“Coach K., Coach K., Coach LaCour? Anyone? Anyone? Any….. ….”

Why don’t we fir Coach K. and see how long it takes him to get a job with “Supporter of pot-buying, pot-smoking member of The Mighty MILF Hunters” on his resume? Will go over really well at Harvard and Yale, I should think.

* MILF: “Mother I’d Like to Fuxk.”

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'80s Alum May 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

At least MILF Hunters is not THE most offensive team name to Top 5 in USA college women under 21 in that Rochester “Adult hockey” league:

JUGS & Thugs;
Mighty DRUNKS;
Premature Shooters;
Score-GASMS (… ok, that’s actually clever);
Fussy Puckers (wait, I don’t get that one?).

Coach K., What IS a Fussy Pucker ?

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Robin Wildfang '86 May 29, 2014 at 11:37 am

How about all of our names for trivia teams in the ’80s? I seem to remember some rather raunchy ones, and the bar for what is appropriate language has shifted in the intervening years — my students regularly great each other with ‘Hi, skanky ho'” or ” Hi bitch” to my great horror. So I am very much afraid that these names that seem so wrong to us are to the kids playing on these teams no worse than our trivia team names were to us, for what it is worth.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 29, 2014 at 10:26 pm

So I am very much afraid that these names that seem so wrong to us are to the kids playing on these teams no worse than our trivia team names were to us, for what it is worth.

Unfortunately, even the 4 letter phrase being challenged in this conversation is acceptable to men and women enrolled on campuses. I’ve seen girls wear it printed on their clothing.

The College could address that stuff by associating official use of the word with a corresponding cropping of the team rosters. There are plenty of sports, teams, and other activities so in total I don’t see a cost to quality of life and education with x’ing any one of them. Heck, if it means letting a coach or professor go and it reduces overhead and tuition, consider it a win.

:’80’s Alum:

Good job digging up the names of semi-pro hockey teams. Now if one can form a policy to say ban sports that indulge in nasty names, that is fine. I’m just arguing for clear delineations of policy. The hockey player is a done deal for good or ill. But there is the culture of adolescence to consider.

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'80s Alum May 29, 2014 at 9:11 pm

True, but not sure I’d want to discuss “Pussy Fu(kers” or the “Drunks” in my return to college after 3-semester suspension interview for drinking, drugs, lying and possible rape with the Deans. Sorry, “Fussy Puckers.” Perhaps Univ. of Vermont grads don’t see any sexual double-meaning beyond a very anal group of fine, young, admirable women-respecting Top 5% college puck-ers? Yeah.

Why don’t we just arm all the young ladies on campuses with pepper/mace spray? Check out http://www.safetygirl.com THAT stuff will sober up a Fussy Pucker drunk date-rapist pretty quick.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 29, 2014 at 10:19 pm

I’m for arming young women. Just talk to the Speaker of the House, Deleo. Right now a woman needs to tender a sizeable fee and pass a background check and drive herself to Cheshire or – <gasp> Pittsfield to a <bigger gasp> gun store to make such an acquisition.

Or, she could just pack her own if she has the good fortune to come from any other 49 states.

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'80s Alum June 2, 2014 at 5:18 am

Actually, had Lexie been trained in legal pepper spray, or carried a legal 4″ knife and trained how to use it in high school, she may not have been raped. It may have ended with a temporarily blinded and screaming, writhing in oain on floor drunk jock begging Lexie to bring him some cold water and a washclith. And in the Yale Univ. murder case, it might have prevented Ms. Jovin from being stabbed more than 10 (15?) times, ultimately fatally so.

http://www.safetygirl.com Most of the women working late-nigjt shifts where you buy your gas and Skoal® carry this stuff 24/7. And no permanent damage. And I dare say a male perp less likely to whip out his manhood when staring at a sharp 4″ hunting knife. Now, I’m sure some of you will go check the Willuams regs. and find that neither self-defense spray or a legal knife is allowed on campus — despite there being 200lb. drugged and drunk athletes?

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Mike May 29, 2014 at 11:39 pm

’80s Alum’

You seem a strange person indeed. Your posts are all over the map…breathless incoherence…fractured punctuation and grammar…lashing out here and there. Your alleged 80’s graduation does not shout ‘glory days’ for Williams.

I would not be comfortable standing on your side of any debate, regardless of which side you were on. You allude to a nebulous, nefarious, evil 5%–you strike me as an A+/AAA/4.0 1%’er white weirdo. I would not leave you alone in a room with a “physically fit blue blazer boy”.

Oh, on your pot-point and in keeping with your percentage game–if you want to boot current Williams users–you’re looking at north of 50% . The majority of which would not be athletes. My guess is this percentage was not changed dramatically since the 80’s. Further, your ‘Jerry Falwell-esque’ view on this matter is clearly not the wave of the future, for better or worse.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 30, 2014 at 6:47 am

More like 90%. think of all the students wheelin’ and dealin’ the stuff, sharing it, and growing it (which is mass production per the Narcs. 1 plant alone allowed to mature in sweet Connecticut River soil can keep ten students going for a year.)

Walk by any dorm and the sweet smell just greets you in a billowing cloud. Maybe that’s the reason kids there can’t locate the Williamstown Fuzz in the phone directory.

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'80s Alum May 31, 2014 at 9:01 pm

So, what exactly do The Williams Security staff do when rhey see pot in the dorms? And aren’t kids supposed to report (anonymously if worried) other kids who are “buying, possessing & using” illegal drugs? Isn’t it a Code of Conduct violation not to report it? Do Williams Security staff know what pot smells and looks like? The College owns the dorms. They can patrol for drugs. Right?

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Charles Kronick '91 May 31, 2014 at 9:24 pm

So, what exactly do The Williams Security staff do when rhey see pot in the dorms?

If a Security fellow happens to be in a student’s dorm, most likely he (or she!) has been invited. If they see it, but it’s not in use, it would be considered rude to ask for it. If offered, it’s up to the Official to decline.

And aren’t kids supposed to report (anonymously if worried) other kids who are “buying, possessing & using” illegal drugs?

Ah, you are on the verge of discovering the power of the Jury Box. Citizens ultimately define what is a law.

Do Williams Security staff know what pot smells and looks like?

Sure, most probably have a reasonable stash of their own. Now, if you’re suggesting that they seize it, there may be some legal problems for them. Such as, they become bailees of illegal goods.

The College owns the dorms. They can patrol for drugs. Right?

Wrong. But, if tipped of a deal going down, the Police have the option of considering a bust. Write to DA Capeless – he built his career targeting adolescent dealers in Great Barrington. He needs a puff project as he almost got hosed on an Aryan Brotherhood murder case.

Charles Kronick '91 May 31, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Er… really oughta sed, “Can’t (or won’t) locate the Billsville Fuzz in the phone directory.

Just made my young daughter look a number up in the phone book. She was able to use both the yellow and white pages. Survival skills are a premium these days, and she’s got that part down.

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'80s Alum May 30, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Gents, respectfully, the 5% was a pretty reasoned estimate of the # of men in student body, again, my least favorite term ever, who have inflicted “uninvited penetrations (rape)” at schools like Wms and the other New England schools.

Sorry my descriptive phrases (all true) don’t sound persuasively worded to you. I’m really just stating so many of the hard facts of this issue from different angles. Regret I have also come to think even if the guy steals a car and buys a line or two of coke, he will still be allowed back for fear of a lawsuit on that issue.

I have one goal: safety of women at Williams and a clean-up of the alcohol problems you have all belped to bring out. Finally, the guy I met at Pappa C.’s WAS a terrific young man — and on reflection, it was a gray suit. Mens Wearhouse, I think. Mine was a Navy jacket. Brooks Bros., what else. :-)

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'80s Alum May 30, 2014 at 8:32 pm

A favor:
is there a film or a series of readings which are widely used to “shock and educate” women and men in high school or college? I agree, the student returning is a done deal, so let’s really help with some dramatic and EFFECTIVE training material suggestions. Candidly, I and my suitemates had none prior to Wms, and whatever reading we got at Wms on Code of Conduct was and is not memorable. Hoe do we aggressively REACH the sober brains and emotions of students so they will internalize: I will not rape, i will not assault, snd i won’t let alcohol or drugs put me in any danger of those acts or being out of control of my actions.”? Apologize as i don’t know where to start. Let’s suggest some things to Dean Bossong that ARE effective and powerful behavior modifiers. Thanks very much for your time and unique inputs.

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Mike May 31, 2014 at 8:01 am

Keep posting. This stuff is priceless. “Finally, the guy I met at Pappa C.’s WAS a terrific young man — and on reflection, it was a gray suit. Mens Wearhouse, I think. Mine was a Navy jacket. Brooks Bros., what else. :-)”

“A favor:
is there a film or a series of readings which are widely used to “shock and educate” women and men in high school or college? I agree, the student returning is a done deal, so let’s really help with some dramatic and EFFECTIVE training material suggestions.” Hmmmmmmmmmm, I don’t know but why don’t you make you own. Check this out. You sound as if you could channel this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLjNJI54GMM

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'80s Alum May 31, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Sadly, ARCHIE BUNKER ON GUN CONTROL content is not avail. on my mobile device. :-) But, seriously, please don’t harp on my personal style or label me as a Jerry Falwell or 1% white racist jock-hating nerd right wing Catholic. I sincerely don’t care how others live their lives; in fact I encourage everybody to embrace whatever unique style is their own. BUT, when it comes to an externality like being drunk or stoned enough to say as a college Frosh “well, I didn’t know I was raping her as I was just so drunk AND drugged (per Lexie), and violating the Code of Conduct and then expecting the same rights as those that don’t violate it at a top school… then I feel the effects of that externality. Simple. I don’t want a Jerry Falwell or an Archie Bunker campus, not at all. I do want a campus that follows MA state law on booze and drugs, and a campus where the men are educated INTENSELY that sexual assault is NOT an option, and out of control drunkenness is NOT an option to be within the Code of Conduct. Anyway, switching gears off me and back to the issue: I recall so vividly still this series of films and readings on student driving called FLESH, METAL and GLASS. It scared the i sides out of me at age 17. Likely kept me alive in those years when I first had my license as a drjver testing speed limits and speed envelops of old V-8 cars. IS THERE an anti-rape equivalent film and reading series which can sear the message into Frosh heads that rape is so damaging, so abhorent, so injurious to all involved from family, friends, faculty, and even those who have dated (or are dating or will date) the victim?

C’mon. Can somebody research some EFFECTIVE and dramatic materials?

Thanks so much for your attention. Seriously. Women at small colleges need a better anti-rape environment than before this sad Brackenridge case. It IS heart-breaking for all.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 31, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I’m a thinkin’ you oughts to quit whilst you were ahead, Sir. Sounds to me these kids can’t tell if they be dishonoring others or themselves to mind-altering drugs and bongos.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 31, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Apologies for me syntax. Meant to say, mind-altering drugs and booze.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 31, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Arrrrgh.. why no edit button?

*On accounts of mind-alterin’ drugs and booze.

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Charles Kronick '91 May 31, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Blast it all….

**Mind altering drugs and friggen’ booze. Dean Bongo, get yer act together.

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'80s Alum May 31, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Mike: are you a student at or alum of Wms?

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Mike June 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Why do you care. This information will not make YOUR posts any less embarrassing…on any level.

I posted this awhile back: “I see no problem with posting anonymously on this forum as it is an option. I do not claim any particular expertise or affiliation.

Students, Alumni, and Faculty/Administration/Staff of Williams College have a particular gravitas in any discussion relating to the school. If they would like an opinion to carry this weight, they should identify themselves.” Anymore questions ’80s Alum.

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'80s Alum June 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Just curious if you were seeing the College from a student or Alum view. Somewhat surprised by your affection for Williams and yet highly critical views of others’ reasoned thoughts and suggestions. That’s why. You seem to be a bit of a Nut-job, frankly, and quick to label others wirhout knowing much about them. Do you sit aroumd and wriye hate mail to both the NY Times AND The Wall St. Journal. College has some good coimseling hotlines if you need them…

'80s Alum June 1, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Mikey-boy, rather than you and me getting into a knife fight…. CAN you add some friggin value to this thread and make some SUGGESTIONS (from whatever perspective, student, alum, staff, resident) to do things differently from now on TO KEEP WOMEN SAFE. And let me be straight: this ain’t for me. I outweigh all on most NHL hockey teams, and did martial arts decades before they were BORN, ay. And my Sis, had she been victimized at Wms, likely would have beaten the shite out of her attempted assaulter as she was a Varsity athlete of over 200lbs. and just shy of 6′ tall. This THREAD is so there is NOT another Lexie case, or worse. Are you aware of the Jovin murder at Yale? Again, google it. And if you have no connection to Williams or the area, bugger off, ay? :-)

Mike June 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Dude,

Apparently your Williams degree did not insure a minimal degree of reading comprehension or self insight….WHO ARE YOU?–I DON’T CARE.

You need a keyboard with proper ‘lectric connections, an adjustment in your meds, a weight loss program for your sister, and/or a lower blood alcohol level.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exrLylxFGUk&feature=kp

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'80s Alum June 2, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Ok ok, I admit it: the Archie Bunker piece was hilarious. I hate it when those Int’l. bankers start masticating things….. :-) I hereby put my legal 4″ hunting knife back in my Purple Cow belt holster, and send a peace offering. :-) p.s. Kidding and jibes aside (I’m sure you’re a great guy Mike, just making his points colorfully and rhetorically as I am…) I seriously and SINCERELY hope Dean Bossong and the other Deans get to announce at Commencement 2018 that we’ve just become the only rape-free and assault-free campus in America. (Say, per Mr. Bunker, if we skipped the Pine Cobble hike on orientation day, and had all the Frosh women go to the Manchester VT gun range, get certified on small caliber ammo, and then we handed them EphPistols as they picked up their textbooks at the Co-Op, with deposit form to get back $500 once they return pistols right after Commencement…. that would work, right?)

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'80s Alum June 2, 2014 at 5:37 am

Hey, you win. I loved that Ka-ra-te video. Didn’t know YouTube was avail. in Canada already. What next, Unleaded Gas and flavored coffee in a to-go cup from Tim Hortons Donut and Coffee Cup House, ay? :-)

Now, can we switch gears and forget about personal barbs, but please let’s together make a suggestion on how to make women on small isolated campuses safer and Rape-free? Getting back to civility and reality, seriously, PLEASE, one idea I’ve thought about in suffering through all tge Brackenridge details and unknowns, is having some form of tightly controlled campus e-mail receiver monitored by Health Services, where a woman, or a couple, could send a quick Smartphone video and/or text from their password protected devices, and confirm that they each consent to sexual relations. Avoids the He said/She said, and also forces the young lovers to take a 10minute break and think “O.k., do I really want to dk this tonight, with her, with him?” Brave new app-World, but it beats typing up a mutual sex consent doc. and having it notarized, stamped and novated with the Town Clerk at the Spring Street Post Office ! :-)

Alternatively, kids under 21 might just try, oh I don’t know, STUDYING and SLEEPING sober, and listening to MUSIC, since you’re at, you know, a Top 5 College costing a 1/4 $million !!!???

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'80s Alum June 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm

YOUR VAGINA IS NOT A CAR !
HIS ANUS IS NOT A CAR !

(Very informative TEDx lecture on Rape Culture. a MUST-WATCH. )
http://youtu.be/ATISgVUKetI

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'97 alum June 30, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I would not care one iota if Williams eliminated athletics completely. The jockocracy runes the place; always has and always will. Perhaps eliminating the more meathead teams such as hockey and football, like Swarthmore did, would be a step in the right direction.

Call me naive, but I’m dumbfounded a Williams College student, allegedly the best and brightest, can rape another student. Is the admissions department even interviewing students anymore? Then again perhaps this isn’t confined to Williams as I saw on a list of colleges with the most sexual assaults schools such as Princeton and Yale.

Either way, I’m disgusted at my alma mater’s response to the problem of sexual assaults on campus and I would be very hesitant to send my daughter there when the time comes if things don’t change.

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Anne Fetter '85 July 14, 2014 at 2:20 am

I see ZERO evidence of anything but the status quo which is alarming!

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'80s Alum September 8, 2014 at 11:08 am

Anne, I am SO glad you came forward, as did the many other women who said they were raped while at Williams since the Brackenridge news in May of this year, 2014. For those of us Alums who feel the Fundraising since Pres. Falk consented to let the Brackenridge sexual-offender back on campus DESPITE an actual police dept. arrest for possession and use of pot with a minor female while on suspension in 2013 —– the major credit card companies have already agreed multiple times to REFUND ANY ALUMNI FUND OR ANNUAL FUND DONATIONS if you mention the Brackenridge and Fetter cases, and the fact that Pres. Falk told Lexie’s parents that the suspended student “would have to abide by Code of Conduct while on suspension.” He did not. Pres. Falk knows this. And, as above, the drug bust was with a minor female in a vehicle intended to be driven on public roads AFTER getting high from the pot. Sorry, but, “AreYouF*&^inhKiddingMe,” Mr. MILF Hunter?

ANGRY ALUMS: Want to pressure Williams to do the right thing re: Fetter/Brackenridge cases? Call your credit card co. , ask for a supervisor, write a letter, and get your monies back since either 1984 (Anne’s gang-rape by SIX guys) or Falk’s decision this year to let hockey player student back after a NY State drug bust, lying to Deans, conspiring to lie to Deans, etc. etc. Your call. $$$ YOUR MONEY $$$ . If you have a Chase card, Jimmy Lee, Eph Alum, is Vice Chairman of JP Morgan-Chase Bank. Call him.

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'80s Alum September 25, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Please notify the auditor at NEASC that signed off on Wms’ accredidation last time, Ms. Barbara Brittingham: BBrittingham@NEASC.org and her boss,the head of Neasc, Mr. Cameron Staples, CStaples@Neasc.org The College’s accredidation as a going-concern college is up again for review in 2 years, but they accept comments/complaints anytime.

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'80s Alum September 25, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Here here ’97 Alum. Well-spoken. Sadly, I was down for an evening event at Princeton U. a few weeks back in Sept. As we were saying goodbyes at out parked cars on a street below some fancy dorm windows opened above for a raucous arhlete party of 30-40 very drunken folks incl. young girls in a Frosh suite, all we could hear was the LOUD screaming chant of ” CHUG FRESHMAN! FRESHMEN CHUG-TIME! CHUG FRESHMAN! Freshmen chug-time.” Nothing has changed since 1984. Nothing.

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Mike September 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm

And…you knew it was an “athletic party” from the street below. Did you confirm this with a ‘grade A-super-fine-blue blazer-boy’?

My God! You’re everywhere. Run Forest, Run!

Still not an Alum.

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Mike September 25, 2014 at 8:34 pm

You do realize you responded to a 4 month old post. Sorry, that was a cheap shot,,,very sorry. Sorry.

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