Associate News Editor, Senior Editor
With regard to the sexual assault that occurred on Sept. 14, the administration has stated it cannot explain why it did not notify the students, as required by the Jeanne Clery Act unless there is not a continuous and ongoing threat to the college community, citing the privacy of disciplinary actions and sensitivity of the incident.
“We would always react in a timely manner if there was any question of the safety of our campus,” said Julia Ferrante, director of media relations. “I want to assure [the campus community] that the College evaluates what is a continuing and potential threat to campus in all cases and if it were a case where there was a continuing or potential threat, we would not hesitate to notify the campus.”
The Clery Act requires colleges and universities receiveing federal funding to “make timely reports to the campus community on crimes considered to be a threat to other students and employee that are reported to campus security or local law police agencies. Such reports shall be provided to students and employees in a manner that is timely and that will aid in the prevention of similar occurrences.”
In addition, the College’s Annual Safety & Security and Fire Reports, which are required by the Clery Act, state, “if an emergency or criminal incident takes place that presents a potential ongoing threat, the entire College community will receive a timely warning known as a ‘Campus Alert.’ The type and frequency of the notice will depend on the nature of the incident. The College will send you as much information as possible.”
“Consistent with the Clery Act and guidance provided by the Department of Education, all higher education institutions must report incidents that occur on campus and they must do so in a timely manner,” Ferrante said. “Title IX also requires that the College conduct an investigation. The College’s judicial system proceeds independent of any criminal investigation. When law authorities process any criminal complaints, that process is outside of the College’s judicial system.”
The alleged sexual assault, which took place in College Row, was reported to the Lancaster City Bureau of Police on Sept. 14. According to the affidavit, a dean of one of the College Houses interviewed the defendant, Robert C. Mundy, regarding the case on Sept. 19. During this interview, Mundy admitted to having inappropriate contact with the victim.
The crime was later incorporated into Public Safety’s daily crime log on Sept. 25 and was listed as a sexual assault incident occurring on Sept. 14.
The defendant was moved from his previous housing at College Row to 446-448 W. James St., the International House, where he lived among unnotified students for approximately two weeks, according to residents of the property who wish to remain anonymous. He was arrested and arraigned on Oct. 4 and is no longer enrolled as a student at the College.
Alex Hartline ’13, president of One in Four, an all-male group dedicated to the education, prevention, and support of victims of sexual assault, and Michelle Carroll ’13, president of Sexual Assault and Violence Education (SAVE), a student group focusing on education “about sexual assault and dating and domestic violence at F&M and nationally” commented on the incident and the College’s response.
“In regard to not getting an email, we never get an email regarding sexual assault because of the privacy of the individuals,” Carroll said. “I would personally like to know that an incident has been reported. I would like to know that because one, it shows the administration takes this issue seriously. On the other side, I think it bolsters support for victims because they feel it is taken seriously.”
Hartline provided insight into the possibility of a continuing threat.
“Most rapes are perpetrated by people who have done it before,” Hartline said. “It’s a very, very small amount of people, men usually, [who] do these things. The statistic from our [One in Four] presentation is that six percent of men commit 95 percent of rapes and sexual assaults.”
On a larger scale, both Hartline and Carroll discussed the presence of sexual assault on F&M’s campus.
“There is such a false sense of security,” Hartline said. “If you asked people how many sexual assaults happened on campus, I think they would say zero which is not true. The statistic is one in four and that is just as relevant for our campus as it is for any campus. Our statistic is slightly lower than the national average — like decimal points lower — but that’s it, it does happen.”
Carroll commented on the attitude on campus.
“There is a rape culture here at F&M, 150 percent,” Carroll said. “How could there not be a rape culture here? Any night of the week, people go to a party. We flyer, the fraternity parties flyer freshmen dorms, we openly have jungle juice, we don’t talk about sexual assault, we don’t alert the community when it does happen, and that’s a problem, that’s a rape culture. I know we don’t all like each other. We are in different sororities and different organizations but at 1 a.m. Saturday morning, that’s when we need to take care of each other.”
Hartline hopes for a brighter future for the prevention of sexual assault on campus.
“We would like more transparency as to sexual assault on our campus and in our area,” Hartline said.
Mundy awaits a preliminary hearing set for Nov. 1.