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If There’s a Will, Maybe There’s a Way
English Professor Barbara Will led a discussion yesterday at Bones Gate on sexual assault. The brothers chose the witty title, Respect Works, for an event that drew approximately 120 students, mostly men. That figure is about a quarter of the male sophomores on campus for the summer.
Professor Will began her talk by reading the narrative of a college rape victim whose life had been irremediably altered for the worse by an assault at the hands of an experienced predator. Will then engaged the men in attendance in a thoughtful, respectful fashion, and the students who spoke responded in kind. (As an aside, the cogency and intelligence of her remarks illustrated to this viewer the wide intellectual chasm between members of the faculty and the College’s army of administrators.)
Will’s initial topic concerned the elusive nature of consent in sexual relations between students. She moderated a good discussion of Yale’s Sexual Misconduct Scenarios, inquiring whether the College should provide incoming students with similar descriptions of ambiguous sexual situations, and she asked her audience if, when and where such a document might be given to Dartmouth students. A half-dozen students answered her question, opining that such information would be useful if offered to students in small groups during freshman fall.
The consensus in the discussion was that safe sex — in the legal sense of the term — was only possible when a man received clearly expressed consent from his partner.
In response to her question as to how to “fix the Greek system,” only two responses were forthcoming: encourage upperclassmen to provide examples of good behavior; and require houses to elect an officer who would monitor and educate fellow members.
A lucuna in the discussion concerned the profile of students who engaged in sexual assault. While Will’s prefatory narrative clearly noted that the rapist’s skill was the result of past experience — a serial predator at work — the point was never built upon.
Will is the chair of a Presidential Steering Committee entitled Moving Dartmouth Forward, that includes Professor of Mathematics Craig Sutton; Professor of Physics and Astronomy Ryan Hickox; Senior Assistant Dean, Student Academic Support Services Deborah Tyson; Senior Associate Athletics Director for Peak Performance Drew Galbraith; Frank Cunningham III ‘16; John Damianos ‘16; Kayla Wade ‘16; Kelsey Weimer ‘16; Association of Alumni President Susan Finegan ‘85, and John Osborn ‘88. The Committee’s report on ending sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and improving inclusiveness, is expected in the fall.
Addendum: Barbara Will has been a Dartblog favorite ever since she came to Paris to promote her revelatory and controversial book on Gertrude Stein’s wartime years in Occupied France. That Phil has chosen a serious scholar to play a leading role in the reform of campus life says good things about him.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own interviews, a review of…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…