January 21, 2005
A very painful incident involving Smith students took place over January term. On January 15, a Smith student reported to Northampton police that she had been sexually assaulted at an off-campus apartment. Two individuals, both known to the student, have been charged with serious offences, including aggravated rape and assault and battery. One of the alleged assailants was a Smith student. She is no longer enrolled at the college. The District Attorney is now handling the criminal case, and the courts will determine its outcome. These charges, if true, also represent a very serious breach of the college's code of student conduct. We refer such cases to the judicial board.
Incidents like these raise painful questions about violence and abuse. Sexual violence is abhorrent, and the hurt that people inflict through it causes profound and lasting damage; we have no tolerance for it as a community. It is important to speak out about domestic violence and rape. Only by making forceful and vivid the values of a community and by empowering victims can we reduce the harm that sexual violence does.
Dean Mahoney will be in contact with you soon about workshops and programs that we will offer both to houses and to individual students that will give you opportunities to seek support and to become informed about acquaintance rape, domestic violence, and safe sex, as well as alcohol and drug abuse. As difficult as this incident is for us as a community, I hope that we can take something constructive from the experience.