College settles Sweet case

Comments (1)
  1. Concerned Occidental Alumni says:

    With all due respect Mr. Calkins, the Alumni aren’t interested in “searching conversations”. This school has been having conversations about sexual assault for how many years now? This is a safety problem that needs to be fixed immediately.

    Many of us have had conversations many months ago and were assured by the President that these matters would be taken care of quickly and completely. Steps have been taken – of course – what kind of college would take no steps? But is the campus safe? Does the campus have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual assault?

    Oxy’s 35% expulsion rate for those who have been found guilty of rape or sexual assault is unacceptable. An expulsion rate of less than 100% means that perpetrators can continue attending the college, that what they did was excusable, which is it not. This is an urgent safety problem. Would you want perpetrators living with or near your sons and daughters? If not, don’t subject other people’s sons and daughters to this unnecessary risk. Perpetrators deserve to be in prison not in colleges.

    The mismanagement here is truly shocking. Why have the staff members who acted inappropriately with survivors not been fired? Some discouraged survivors from calling the police and others intimidated the brave people who stood up for the survivors. The most baffling error in judgment was the assigning of a book report as punishment for a student who was found guilty of sexual assault or rape.

    The second most baffling error in judgement is why the President didn’t fire this person immediately. The third most baffling error in judgment is why you, Mr. Calkins, haven’t held the President accountable for not firing people egregiously violating the trust and safety of the students. When you and your Board, as you all like to say, “stand behind your President” who is standing behind the person who assigned book reports you too are standing behind the person who assigned book reports. Is there no accountability at Occidental?

    Perhaps if your Board meetings has an open forum portion of time at each of your Board Meetings you would be less isolated from your campus. In case you haven’t noticed, your campus is a mess: the air is thick with animosity, the faculty’s unprecedented no-confidence votes have fallen on deaf ears. Your students are being sexual assaulted, two thirds of convicted perpetrators are free to mingle with students again. Do you not know that serial rapists will not stop?

    The truth might be hard but it’s a starting point for improvement so that we can get to a place where everyone can proudly say all perpetrators were expelled and are now in the hands of police and that the college is rid of all administrators who reacted poorly when faced with survivors asking for help.

    We have asked for one conversation with Oxy’s President followed by immediate action to end the safety problems by the end of the month. We are meeting with him this Friday and are optimistic that in the meeting we can we can finalize a plan that will fill in all of the safety gaps.

    Our point-of-contact called you and is awaiting your call back. We are willing to collaborate with all stakeholders and ask for enough time at your upcoming Board meeting to announce the changes that need to be implemented by the end of this month. You’re all busy, yes we know – as CEOs, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, we are busy too but are making the students’ safety priority #1.

    Why must the policies be implemented so fast? This is an urgent safety issue. If we all collaborate and work hard we can solve this problem this month. Oxy’s new policies will be in place as of April 30, 2014 which will hopefully prevent rapes from happening during the week before and after graduation in May. That’s the reason for the rush.

    You may already be aware that the first two weeks of the school year and the end of the school year are the most dangerous times for students in terms of rape. This year the school year will end more safely and the fall will mark the beginning of a new era for Oxy – a safer time that we can all be proud of and a time when Oxy can be referred to as the model for other schools suffering from similar problems and needing fast and decisive leadership to turn them around.

    Some of the outstanding questions are listed in the comments section of this page:

    Please feel free to answer each one directly either on this board or directly at

    We all have the same goals: safety for Oxy students. The solutions that will be implemented this month are long overdue. We will be contacting you to schedule time to finalize our safety plan at the next Board meeting. The plan may change and evolve over time but it must be in place by April 30, 2014.

    And for goodness sake, please stop calling it sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is when a married person kisses others. Call rape and sexual assault what they are: sex crimes. The policy needs to be renamed Sex Crimes and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Anything less sends the wrong signal to all stakeholders.

    We look forward to solving this problem together in the next two weeks.

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