In what could arguably be one of black America’s best-kept dirty secrets, there have been years of whispers of rampant sexual assault and very little repercussion on the campuses of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, including Clark Atlanta, Spelman and Morehouse colleges.
Last week, signs were put up all over the three three campuses, accusing specific students of rape and the schools of covering up sexual assault.
The signs, saying things like, “No More Secrets,” “Morehouse Protects Rapists” and “Spelman Protects Rapists” and giving the names of students accused of rape, were placed in plastic to protect them from the rain. They were later removed by campus police officers.
There was also a protest outside the Spelman and Morehouse police station to demand that officers take action in sexual assault cases, according to WGCL-TV.
“It’s very often where victims stay silent and are kept silent, so I think it’s beautiful whoever put those posters down,” said Spelman senior Micaela Harris.
Digging through Spelman College crime statistics, WGCL-TV reports that the school has reported only one rape since 2014, and only two reports of dating violence since 2016.
As previously reported by The Root, in 2016 a former Spelman student started an anonymous Twitter account, @RapedAtSpelman, outlining her ordeal. She quickly gained support after she went public.
Spelman’s president posted a public letter to the community specifically addressing the signs, saying in part, “I write to remind everyone that Spelman College has a zero-tolerance policy for any type of violence, harassment or unwanted contact. Our hearts go out to any members of our community who have experienced incidents of violence, harassment or unwanted contact.”
Morehouse also released a statement:
At Morehouse College, we will investigate all claims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, violence, and discrimination filed with our Title IX Coordinator. Our Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures guidelines provide for disciplinary action, including dismissal, if any student or faculty/staff member engages in inappropriate behavior. Morehouse is focused on providing a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Our priority is to maintain a campus environment that develops young men who are academically excellent, community servants, and leaders in society.
We have programs in place to educate students about sexual misconduct, including the Not In My House campaign, launched to communicate that violence, discrimination, and disrespect will not be tolerated at Morehouse College. We also have a Healthy Campus Task Force, which is composed of students, staff, and faculty members working in collaboration with the Georgia Independent College Association to raise awareness of campus sexual violence and to coordinate prevention efforts. Student leaders, resident assistants, athletes, and campus organizations participate in training that focuses on their roles in spreading the message that sexual misconduct is prohibited and will be investigated.
We encourage anyone who has been impacted by sexual harassment or assault on the Morehouse College campus to come forward and file a complaint or to use our anonymous complaint hotline.
Under the hashtag #WeKnowWhatYouDid, many expressed support for the action on social media.
Read more at WGCL-TV.