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Oh, how nice, a task force

Ross Levanto considers BU's answer to its hockey sex-assault scandal: a task force:

I work in the PR business, and when I hear "task force," I translate that to mean an institution trying to sweep something under a rug. According to a letter from President Brown, the task force will render judgement this summer. This summer? It's a brilliant PR move, so that next summer the task force can issue a slap on the wrist. The players allegedly involved in the recent incidents will be long gone from campus; chances are the women involved will be, too. Ironically enough, I provide this perspective based on practices taught to me while I was a student at BU.

Levanto says the school needs to be far tougher and ponders how John Silber would have reacted.

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Comments

Nice post!

I recommend that everyone Ross's original post on his blog.

I'll add to Adam's excerpt from Ross's blog:

My jaw pretty much hit the floor when I read this portion of a recent Boston Globe story:

“You can’t change the culture that’s evolved here; we’re not going to be able to step into people’s lives and change them drastically,’’ he said, referring to heavy drinking, casual sexual encounters, and co-ed dormitories.

Speaking of sports culture, I'm reminded of my high school basketball coach who instilled in his players that playing for the High School team was an honor, that we were representing the school, our families and the town.

He made it clear that if we wanted to be on the team, that we behaved honorably. We had to maintain a good grade average, required that we volunteer in some community organization like big brothers and that we wore slacks, tie and a sports coat to school on game day.

I can only imagine how he would have reacted that his players were involved in something that was so hurtful as a sexual assault - it would have been something very different then verbally shrugging his shoulders.

It's also important to note that the Globe reported that the hockey coach has been involved with the BU hockey program since 1973. Me thinks it's time for BU to find someone who will change the culture.

Historically, the whole reason for spending the considerable sum involved in school sports was that it built character in the participants. I think BU's (and many others) hockey program is falling well below that mark.

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First off, colleges have failed to protect female students for a long time, and college police departments have done a horrific job in bringing charges like rape against athletes at their respective schools. I wish I could tell you some of the under the rug lawsuits that have been going on in area colleges for decades now. The BU police arrest two of its own athletes for rape, the school now wants to set up a "task force" to find out what is wrong, and we want to accuse them of trying to cover something up? I just don't see it.

And Ross suggests some sort of a "dress code?" What does he mean by that?

And how do we know what BU is or isn't doing for the victims right now? I would assume they wouldn't release any details of their victim advocate programs for these women.

Is BU hockey different than any other d1 athletic program in the country where the athletes don't represent the actual student body? I believe Parker was just responding to a specific question about the jock culture at BU, which I assume is the same at many other schools around the country.

Let's fault the Hockey program for not recruiting quality people to represent the school, but I'm not sure it's fair to say they are covering something up, or that the coach is wrong in his opinion about the culture of our current student body. These things have nothing to do with these two men who allegedly raped two women.

How can the school be tougher here? A dress code? And lets remember that Silber chose to get rid of football and keep hockey. Why not try to start up a non scholorship football program like Leigh, Holy Cross and Georgetown and try to get into that league? No, Silber/BU is/was about money, and that is what this hockey program is all about.

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Remember the MIT grad who got run over by an eighteen wheeler that was driving in the wrong lane?

Yeah, they said they'd investigate, and months later they still haven't announced or done anything. How long does it take to interview some witnesses, take some pictures, draw a diagram, and file charges against the driver?

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As someone who once had BU's harassment policy used as a weapon against me, I can tell you that BU definitely takes these matters very seriously.

In my case, the evidence quickly piled up that there was no harassment on my part and the entirety of the claims in the report was predicated on one-sided distortions of years-old amicable banter between friends (some instances were barely even tangentially "school-related"). And yet, I still ended up meeting with the Dean to formally agree that there would be no contact between the two of us for the remainder of my time at BU (something I had already told her would be the case prior to the school being drawn into it).

So, I have no doubt that BU is going to handle this thoroughly (which means "not overnight"). Also, the point of this task force isn't primarily to arrive at justice for any current victims but to make sure there are no new victims in the future. Any current reports are going to be dealt with more immediately through their own current process, which as I can attest, is almost too easy to abuse actually. Fortunately (for me), the administration is also able to recognize when the system is used a bit "over-aggressively".

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by the Globe has generated a lot of furor. Not a surprising event considering the level of "journalism" we have been seeing out of them lately. Why present the whole comment when you can pluck a soundbyte out that sounds so much more interesting.

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