We, the editorial board of The Daily Gazette, stand with survivors of sexual violence, on-campus and off. We support the student activists in the group Organizing for Survivors (O4S), who have spoken out against sexual assault and brought attention to the major failures in the College’s Title IX adjudication policy. It takes strength and courage for a survivor to undergo the process of adjudication; it takes strength and courage to organize to improve that process and to effect broader changes in College policy. In its mission statement, Swarthmore commits to imbuing its students with a “deep sense of ethical and social concern.” O4S is demonstrating this ethical and social concern, by standing up against an administrative injustice and fighting for the increased rights of survivors.
This is not a new issue for the campus, nor for The Daily Gazette. In 2013, then-Editor-in-Chief Max Nesterak published a series of articles entitled “Brought to Light,” highlighting the experiences of Swarthmore’s survivors within the broader context of sexual assault on college campuses. Concurrently, 12 Swarthmore students filed a lawsuit against the College under the Clery Act, accusing the College of ignoring reports of sexual assault. Students published a list of demands, including the creation of an Office of Survivor Advocacy, removal of confidentiality from the sexual assault adjudication process, and implementation of an emergency alert system for instances of sexual assault and sexual violence.
We support the rights of the students in O4S to protest and rally, the rights of survivors to a fair and timely adjudication, and the rights of all Swarthmore students to feel safe and heard on campus. We urge faculty and administrators to listen to these students and address their concerns. We urge Swarthmore alumni to reach out to the administration to express their support for changes to the system, as has been done in the past. Finally, we urge the student body to take action to hold themselves and each other accountable.
Editorial Board, The Daily Gazette