Culture

Student Banned from Areas of Campus for Resembling Classmate’s Rapist

“If elected, will you have the hashtag #ThePantSuitIsLoose?” (Harriet Baldwin, @HarrietBaldwin)
Yes — seriously.

A student at a liberal-arts school in Oregon was reportedly banned from going anywhere on campus that a fellow student would be — because he looked like the person who had raped her.

Professor Janet Halley wrote in a piece for Harvard Law Review that she had “recently assisted” a student who had been “ordered to stay away from a fellow student (cutting him off from his housing, his campus job, and educational opportunity) — all because he reminded her of the man who had raped her months before and thousands of miles away.”

The accused also had to endure a “month-long investigation into all his campus relationships, seeking information about his possible sexual misconduct in them,” which she called an “immense invasion of his and his friends’ privacy.”

And (believe it or not!) it gets worse. Even after this invasive investigation completely cleared him of any wrongdoing, he still wasn’t allowed to go anywhere where the student would be without risking punishment from the school.

“The stay-away order remained in place, and was so broadly drawn up that he was at constant risk of violating it and coming under discipline for that,” the piece continues.

According to Halley, the only way the accused student eventually learned of the source of the complaint against him at all was “by accident and off-hand.”

It’s devastating to think of a student being unable to walk around campus without having to risk being traumatized by reminders of her rape. But restricting a totally innocent student from walking around campus because he looks like the person who raped her is obviously unacceptable.

Halley’s article did not reveal the name of the school, the students involved, or the outcome of the situation.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

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