The University of Richmond is a top school in a variety of areas. According to U.S. News and World Report, it’s the tied for 27 as one of the top liberal arts schools in the country. It boasts a high amount of financial aid with more than 60 percent of students being recipients. The school is a top contender in DI athletics including holding multiple conference champions across multiple sports and has been a top contender for multiple national championships.
The University of Richmond is also a top school in another category. Like many universities, the University is complete trash when it comes to investigating sexual assault cases.
On Friday, Sept. 24, 2016 students at the University of Richmond received an email alerting them that the university police were investigating a sexual assault that took place earlier in the month. The assault reportedly took place on Sept. 8, right around the same time that Cecilia Carreras (referred to as CC in documents) released a letter in the Huffington post where she accused the University of Richmond of failing to actually investigate her reported sexual assault from July of 2015.
The student who raped Carreras admitted to doing so and was never truly punished by the university. Following CC’s letter, the university responded with a message to students saying that they don’t believe the accusations against them were entirely accurate. In response, Carreras wrote another piece for the Huffington Post with a copy of all of the transcripts from her hearings and interactions with the administration.
Let’s start off with the smallest issue here. The University of Richmond had the gall to say that Carreras’ accusations weren’t accurate, almost as though they have a track record to go back on. In spring of 2015, the Collegian (the campus newspaper) found that out of 649 women who were surveyed more than half of them said they had experienced some kind of unwanted sexual behavior. Additionally when Carreras and two of her friends went forward to report their assaults, two of the cases were dismissed.
Richmond doesn’t have any leg to stand on, especially after Carreras showed the transcripts from her talks with the administration. Nothing that she said was a lie and the university basically tried to sweep things under the rug.
Once you start diving into the transcripts things go from bad to worse. The dean in charge of CC’s case decided to end the investigation because “[he] thought it was reasonable for [the accused] to penetrate you for a few more minutes if he was going to finish.” This was after CC had made it clear to administrators that she had never consented in the first place. Basically, the university said that rape is okay if you are just trying to finish.
What the hell, University of Richmond? Why would you try in any situation to defend the rapist, especially when you are currently under investigation by the Department of Education for your handling of Title IX accusations?
Wait, the accused is an athlete. Now everything makes sense. By being an athlete, the rapist is free of any kind of punishment. After all, college athletes are above the law. The rapist blatantly told investigators that he knew he raped CC and yet he faced no consequences.
His friends were allowed to change their statements without any penalty. While CC was being interrogated about everything she did that night, the rapist was let off scot-free with officials saying that he might have been confused when he was asked about what might have happened.
This is the second time this semester that I have written about sexual assault on a college campus and that is two times too many. It's 2016, when will people wake up? Unwanted sexual behavior is not okay. As it currently stands one in five women will be sexually assaulted while at university. What kind of world do we live in that 20 percent of a population can be hurt and yet we do nothing to stop it.
Society needs to send a message that nobody is above the law including athletes. The last athlete to serve time was Brock Turner and he served only three months. It’s preposterous that crimes as heinous as sexual assault are facing zero punishment.
Every single student deserves to feel safe on campus, and it’s up to the University of Richmond to guarantee it. It's 2016, no rapist should be walking free.