On Friday, Feb. 13 The Oswegonian was notified through a release from Public Affairs that an arrest had been made in regards to a rape case in Hart Hall.
No email was ever sent to the student body to notify them of the arrest. There was not even the usual vague email sent to all students that condemns sexual assault, which notifies students of the rights of victims of sexual assault or briefly explains the “It’s On Us” campaign. None of these emails solve the issue at hand because none of them truly acknowledge any sort of problem with sexual assault on this campus. This creates a false sense of security.
According to the 2014 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report composed by Oswego State’s University Police, there were four reported forcible sex offenses in 2013. This number is down from six in 2012, but students would not know of this information unless they knew about the report.
There were three emails sent during this academic year to the student body that took on sexual assault within the campus community. The most recent was on Jan. 27 when the semester started.
There has been no official notification to the student body about these cases from school officials. This is not a new issue. It’s something The Oswegonian has talked about before, so if this sounds familiar, it’s because it is.
Two editorials that ran in this spot on Sept. 11 and Sept. 18, 2014 called out this same issue after two incidents went unreported to the student body. While crimes committed on campus can be sent to the Oswego Town Court for trial, they are also tried by a judicial body comprised of students and faculty to decide on-campus consequences.
These judicial proceedings are essentially secretive in nature and their results are not shared with the student body. In the past, the Office of Student Conduct (which used to be known as the Office of Student Conduct and Compliance) has cited student privacy laws to withhold this information, but not releasing this information comes off more as a way to protect the public image of the school for prospective students rather than protecting the students who are currently enrolled.
Whether an incident is isolated or not, the student body still has the right to know that these sorts of crimes are being committed on this campus. Things are not perfect here at Oswego State, and it’s time the administration started acting like it.
Creating a false sense of safety will only do more harm to students in the future. Joining in on national and statewide campaigns against sexual assault only goes so far. By blatantly ignoring the truth, the Office of Student Conduct cannot accomplish its mission of educating students and faculty on “standards of responsible citizenship in a diverse learning environment by providing meaningful and intentional educational opportunities.” Even one sexual assault, reported or not, is one too many.
One would think Oswego State officials would want to get ahead of this nationwide trend of sexual assault on college campuses. Based on their actions so far, this cannot be the case. Until the administration accepts and acknowledges the reality of Oswego State’s sexual assault problems by becoming more transparent, there will always be a feeling of distrust between Culkin Hall and the student body.