By Danielle Lane, Managing Editor
Trigger warning: Brief mention of rape and sexual assault.
On Thursday, September 2, 2021, Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Karen Bacon, responded to a Yeshiva University student’s anonymous claim that she was raped by a fellow male student. The original story, anonymously published by The Commentator on August 25th, alleged that a female student at YU was raped by a player on the men’s basketball team “this past year.”
In her response to the allegations, Dean Bacon stated that the YU administration “have all been stunned and pained by the recently published story” and that they believe that “this is a matter that is deeply personal.” The email goes on to say that the school has “already begun a series of meetings with groups of students to understand their concerns.” The school has also begun updating its website to “more prominently display the security resources at your disposal as well as publishing a clear flowchart showing to whom to report any experiences of suspected danger, harassment or assault.”
The email concludes by stating that “[t]he President has made this issue a top priority for the University, and he has personally attended these student meetings. I have been asked to spearhead this effort going forward, and I will be sharing with you further updates after the chagim (High Holidays) as we work together to ensure a sense of well-being to our campus.”
In response to the original, anonymously posted story, students expressed their outrage of the school’s handling of the situation. Students created a Facebook page with 206 likes at the time of publication called “We Stand with Survivors,” and planned a walkout, which was later cancelled.
When reached for comment regarding the email, the anonymous student shared with the YU Observer that “[t]hey clearly just sent it cause they are coming under pressure. They have ignored many community members who have reached out and I don’t just think sending an email will implement any change. I wanna see the change.”
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or harrasement please know that you are not alone. The YU counseling center has licensed professionals who can help you in the event of a trauma and everything discussed with your counselor will remain anonymous. To make an appointment click here.