Boston University Finally Creates a Sexual Assault Center

This morning, Boston University President Robert Brown finally announced the creation of a sexual assault center that’s dedicated to “preventing sexual assault through training and outreach and to providing support to victims of sexual assault as well as other forms of abuse, such as hazing,” according to an email sent to the university community. The announcement comes more than four months after the first sexual assault case made headlines. This semester, which comes to an end next week, has been packed with sexual-, alcohol-, and hazing-related incidents that have tainted BU’s reputation — and provoked a late reaction from the administration.

Brown also announced in the that university-funded groups, such as fraternities and sororities, will have to take mandatory orientation classes on how to behave.

“The aim of this bystander education is to increase awareness of excessive alcohol use and sexual assault and to encourage individuals to intervene in thoughtful, effective ways to prevent and discourage inappropriate behavior,” Brown wrote. “Beginning this fall, as a condition for receiving Student Allocation Board funding, bystander education — organized by the Dean of Students — will be required for officers of all student organizations that receive Allocation Board funding.”

Now, that’s all great. But here are some things President Brown’s letter doesn’t mention:

There weren’t just two sexual assault cases this academic year. There were 14.

According to the Boston University Police Department there have been nine indecent assaults, and five reported rapes since Sept 1, 2011, until April 29, 2012. If it weren’t for the two offenses involving of BU hockey players Max Nicastro and Corey Trivino, this center probably wouldn’t open.

An increase in sexual assaults doesn’t mean people are being assaulted more.
It could mean that victims are becoming more comfortable reporting it to authorities. Most sexual assault victims never report these crimes to the police, according to BUPD officer Peter Shin, who said that only one indecent assault and no rapes were reported in the same time period last year. Victims are usually scared to contact police or think they lack proof. “Absolutely call us.” Shin said. “We are here 24 hours a day.”

We will probably never know what happened to the suspects of the other 12 incidents.
For all we know, they could still be going to class at BU. By law the police can only release names of other suspects if they are arrested or if the court orders them to, explained BUPD Captain Robert Molloy.

As a proud Terrier graduating in a couple of weeks, I must confess to feeling sad every time I saw BU in the headlines for one scandal or another. I’m even more disappointed to realize that is what it takes for the administration to take action. Or should I say: Reaction.