By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News
Hobart & William Smith Colleges does a Steubenville
Two weeks after the fall term started, an unknown number of male students, apparently including members of the undefeated football team at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Hobart), raped an 18-tear-old freshman girl who'd had too much to drink. Hobart's response was to re-rape the child bureaucratically by ignoring evidence and finding the alleged rapists not guilty. It was a sham of an administrative adjudication that failed to meet even a shadow of fairness, competence, or even intellectual plausibility. Hobart stands by its dishonest decision. Case closed.
Actually, the case may not be closed. The freshman, who took a leave of absence after the repeated abuse by students and administrators, has said that she will return to campus this fall, against her parents' wishes, and that she will be working with other abuse survivors. That is, she plans to do, as a student, what Hobart and its staff utterly and negligently failed to do for a victim who accused a winning football team of gang rape.
This harsh summary of events at Hobart in September 2013 and thereafter is based on a very long, detailed, and conscientious story by Walt Bogdanich on the front page of the New York Times on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Titled "Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn't," the story provides a detailed portrait of Hobart's quasi-judicial process that was startlingly incompetent and unjust.
Hobart's damage control started the day of publication, with a letter to the community from Hobart president Mark Gearan. His relatively content-free letter includes a link to an unsigned, longer document that purports to include "information that was provided to the Times reporter which is largely missing from the article"." Although much of the langue is identical in the two documents, neither offers much relevant information. Both are long on policy boilerplate without supporting evidence and without much relevance to the case at hand.
Does Hobart's "institutional integrity" depend on its lack of integrity?