“Drexel Stands United Against Sexual Assault”.
That was the headline of the email sent out two weeks ago, after an attack on a student by a Philadelphia citizen unaffiliated with Drexel. The response was, deservedly, quick and forceful, according to the email sent out by Drexel Public Safety,
“Drexel does not tolerate any sexual assault and views any attack on a student, faculty or professional staff member as an attack on the entire Drexel community. It is imperative that we stand together against any sexual assault.
Drexel Police continue to work with the Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit to investigate this harrowing incident. Investigators have been combing through hours of surveillance video and have interviewed students and residents in the area. At the same time, Public Safety has increased police and security officer patrols on campus and into the neighborhood.
The apprehension of the attacker remains a top priority of Drexel Public Safety.
This is a good response. Such an extreme example of sexual assault deserves the utmost attention of the entire community. I truly hope that this level attention and reaction to such a horrendous crime remains where it is.
Unfortunately, Drexel has different rhetoric when the affront is committed by a student.
Last May, there was a particular weekend where two different cases of sexual assault were committed at off-campus house parties by current Drexel students. The response was very different.
“The University is providing resources and support to both students and is investigating these incidents. Drexel Police are reminding students to be aware of their surroundings, stay well-informed and take preventive action that will help in maintaining the safest possible environment on Drexel’s campuses,” a Drexel Public Safety email read.
Drexel Administration, do you know why this is so offensive? I’ll tell you why. One of these emails reassures students. It says that we will be safe. It says that those responsible will be held responsible. It says you are trying.
The other email tells us that being safe around Drexel students is our responsibility. It says that if students go out to a party and another student decides to drug them and assault them, that’s on them. Apparently being attacked by another student somehow doesn’t hold the same gravity.
I was at one of those parties last spring. It was my friend who was drugged and taken advantage of. How dare you say, “Be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts and practice common sense”?
I’m practicing common sense. Hold students to the same level of guilt that you would a random citizen off the street. I expect nothing less.