Yesterday, we received a tip that students had named alleged "sexual assault violators on campus" in a Hamilton women's bathroom. The photos above show a list of four students, all of whom are Columbia undergrads. There were four distinct styles of handwriting, which suggests multiple authors. The names on the photos have been blacked out, out of respect for the judicial process.
Unfortunately, we were unable to see the list for ourselves, as Facilities had recently scrubbed the walls of the bathroom stalls. According to our tipster, it had been less than 24 hours since the list had been written. When we contacted Facilities to ask if they were aware of the list, and had changed their cleaning schedule of the building accordingly, we received this response:
“We were alerted to bathroom graffiti in Hamilton Hall, and Public Safety investigated. Graffiti is routinely removed by Facilities staff.”
— Daniel Held, Executive Director of Communications for Facilities
The use of the word "graffiti" is worth noting here — it carries both disciplinary consequences, in accordance with the University Rules of Conduct, as well as criminal consequences, in accordance with New York state law. It also raises the possibility that the students who wrote the list will face judicial repercussions from the university, while those listed will not. Because of the nature of the reporting system for Gender-Based Sexual Misconduct, Columbia can do very little with anonymous reports such as these, without the names of the victims or the dates the incidents occurred.
Update, 11:47 PM: A reader pointed out that the use of bathroom lists to identify alleged sex offenders is not unique to Columbia. The New York Times and the Brown Daily Herald also reported on a similar list at Brown University in 1990.
Update, 1:20 PM: According to University Senator Jared Odessky,
"[T]he Rules [of Conduct] as they stand would likely apply to this specific case. [...] The Rules are supposed to dictate the process of sanctioning for offenses committed during demonstrations and protests, so at first glance graffiti appears to be outside of its purview. Yet there is a simple violation for causing "minor property damage or loss" or "endangering property on a University facility." This implies that the content of any action damaging property does not matter, but rather, the act of damaging property itself. Simple violations follow a different procedure than serious violations under the current Rules structure."
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