Spelman College Is Accused of Inaction After Anonymous Report of Gang Rape

Nearly three months after a report of a gang rape of a Spelman College student sparked demonstrations and a social-media firestorm, the anonymous Twitter user who identified herself as the victim of that assault says that Spelman officials have not met with her or taken any action.

In May, after the alleged victim described being raped by four male students from neighboring Morehouse College at an off-campus party during her freshman year, Spelman’s president, Mary Schmidt Campbell, pledged “a full and thorough review of these events.” In that statement, Ms. Campbell also said, “Our hearts go out to this student, and I want to personally offer her our full support and assistance. We are a family at Spelman, and we will not tolerate any episode of sexual violence.”

A tweet in early June from the alleged victim’s anonymous account, called Raped at Spelman, said she had been in touch with Ms. Campbell.

But on Wednesday, she said in a series of tweets that Ms. Campbell had been silent since then.

The alleged victim also said the perceived indifference of Spelman administrators reflected a broader culture at the college, and in higher education more widely, of not taking sexual-assault reports seriously.

The Chronicle reached out to the Raped at Spelman account on Wednesday and exchanged several direct messages through Twitter. The user confirmed that she had heard nothing from Ms. Campbell or any other Spelman officials since early June. As of Wednesday afternoon, she had not responded to questions about her identity or about the investigation that Ms. Campbell had pledged to begin.

On the Twitter account, she stated that she had chosen to remain anonymous “because I want to be able to express myself without being attacked by AUC students for what happened to me.” (AUC refers to the Atlanta University Center Consortium, which includes Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta University.)

She tweeted in May that she had decided to leave Spelman because of what she described as the college’s mishandling of her sexual-assault report.

Ms. Campbell said in May that Spelman planned to hire an additional staff member to advocate for sexual-assault victims and that she expected the person to be on the campus by the fall semester. A college spokeswoman had not responded to a request for comment as of Wednesday afternoon.

The alleged victim’s report sparked a tense discussion online about black women feeling pressure to keep quiet about sexual assaults by black men. Spelman and Morehouse — elite historically black colleges in Atlanta for women and men, respectively — are considered “brother and sister institutions.” In an earlier tweet describing her assault, she wrote: “The dean also said that Spelman & Morehouse are brother & sister so I should give them a pass. I never felt so worthless.”

Both Morehouse and Spelman are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for potential violations of Title IX, the gender-equity law.

Last year students from colleges in the Atlanta University Center Consortium released a list of 13 demands imploring campus officials to improve sexual-violence prevention and education.

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