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Talking about Sexual Assault on Campus

Live chat, town hall meeting today at 5 p.m.


Against the backdrop of sexual assault charges against two BU hockey players and the creation of a task force that will investigate the hockey team’s culture, a live chat and town hall meeting today will ponder a possible Rape Culture at BU.

Both events will take place at the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism, which is cohosting the live chat with Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87).

“These assaults are a cause célèbre but are absolutely not the only sexual assaults that happen on campus,” says Ariana Katz (CAS’12, CGS’10), codirector of the center. Many victims don’t go to the police, she says, and “discounting a rape culture ignores the experiences of survivors who do not report it.”

She hopes the two events publicize “how rape culture is perpetuated at BU and ways to combat it immediately from the bottom up and top down. And most of all, we want to stand up in support of survivors of assault.”

President Robert A. Brown announced last week, after hockey defenseman Max Nicastro (CGS’11, MET’13) pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped a student February 19, that a task force will be convened. In December, former player Corey Trivino (MET’12) was arrested for allegedly kissing and groping a BU student against her will; he has pleaded not guilty. Neither player is enrolled this semester.

The Student Union weighed in last week with a statement, signed by the group’s president, Howard B. Male (SHA’12), requesting an investigation into the “culture and norms of our athletic teams.” Calling the charges against Nicastro and Trivino distressing, the statement declared that students “do not condone, and will not accept, a culture where sexual assault is permitted.”

The live chat runs from 5 to 5:30 p.m. at the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism, located in the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave. Watch here. Send questions before or during the event via Twitter to @DeanElmore, or via the UStream chat. The town hall meeting runs from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the center. Watch here. Both events are open to all students.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

12 Comments on Talking about Sexual Assault on Campus

  • Anne on 02.27.2012 at 9:44 am

    Why is Rape Culture incorrectly capitalized in the 1st paragraph?

    • Rich Barlow on 02.27.2012 at 10:54 am

      That’s the title of the discussion, according to its Facebook page.

  • katcorn on 02.27.2012 at 11:34 am

    A clarification: The chat is actually from 5-5:30pm. The 6:30-8pm event is being run by the Center and is separate from the livestream.

  • Rob on 02.27.2012 at 12:53 pm

    It’s not just a “culture of rape” at Boston University, it is a cultural of criminality in general. Until they are willing to tackle the whole issue, there will never be a true solution. Sexual violence on campus is a tragic symptom of a larger problem, a University more concerned about the image it shows than it’s student population.

  • Devyn Buckley on 02.27.2012 at 2:05 pm

    Here is my post on Dean Elmore’s blog outlining the basis of the culture responsible. It is not, as you mentioned Rob, a rape culture per se, but various other factors that encourage such behavior subtly:

    • Nathan on 02.27.2012 at 3:23 pm

      Nice post Devyn, but you missed what I believe is a key point – It is the culture OF THE HOCKEY TEAM and the CULTURE OF HOCKEY and pre-professional athletes that most need to be discussed.

      You spoke of BU culture and the wider college culture. This is good, but not at the cost of ignoring BU Hockey, Hockey and Sports cultures.

      • Devyn Buckley on 02.27.2012 at 4:25 pm


        The article was also quite lengthy, and jock worship was mentioned. I addressed the issue of wider cultural values because the Hockey team was already a focus and calling attention to a wider scope was needed more, since these ideas are really prevalent in our culture. I fully support you on your point and understand where you are coming from. The approval of this behavior in sports teams is influenced by wider stereotypes as well.

  • cgsull on 02.27.2012 at 2:32 pm

    This is insulting to me as a student athlete. This is the BU hockey team that has these serious transgressions, not the other teams. Being grouped in with them is insulting and wrong. I do not see the need to defend the hockey team by generalizing that this is the culture of all the athletic teams at BU. By trying to say this is something more widespread than the hockey team thinking they can get whatever they want is an insult to the other teams and their athletes.

    • Nathan on 02.27.2012 at 3:29 pm

      cgsull – I am sorry you are insulted, but the situation is serious enough to LOOK at other BU sports teams. If they don’t find anything, GREAT!

      Consider it objectively. If you found cockroaches in your kitchen sink, would you only treat the sink? or would you check out cabinets, under the sink and other parts of the kitchen.

      It really sucks to be falsely accused,but I suggest you think of it as a way to clear your name.

  • Rob on 02.27.2012 at 2:44 pm

    I do not believe it is a culture of rape, that is their term for it. It is a culture of criminality in general, with a sub-population with a propensity for violent behavior, some of which manifests itself in sexual/dating violence (but not all).

    The established norms of handling rape and sexual violence cases at BU are strong enablers for predators. Unfortunately, there is a strong stigma attached to “being a victim”. As with this hockey case, every time a case is reported, there is a certain pool who then knows you have been a victim. While unavoidable, there is no real effort to contain these stories and protect the victim from the social pressure they perceive. I.E if my story gets out, every one will know what happened. This is not an indictment on any one, but we as a community don’t do enough to understand and address the fears of the victim post attack; which can lead them to staying silent.

    • E on 02.27.2012 at 4:55 pm

      Well said. This is exactly why I never reported my rape to the police.

  • Sarah on 02.27.2012 at 5:23 pm

    Why are we listening to Dean Ellmore on this?

    He didn’t even protect BU women against having their pictures ogled on the internet by pervs in that RateBU thing. What makes anyone think he’s got something worthwhile to say about protecting women against rape?

    His response has been to portray this as some sort of culture of misunderstanding between the men and women. Read his quotes from the Globe. “We have students on this campus who don’t know how to treat each other.”

    Since when is rape a matter of not knowing how to treat one another? It’s a felony, for heaven’s sake.

    His protection of BU’s women from the male students he has responsibility over has been a joke, and I’m sure the forum tonight will be a joke too.

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