How?

Swarthmore College systematically mishandles sexual violence— the college protects perpetrators while antagonizing, neglecting, and traumatizing survivors, informants, and their allies. How, specifically, does it do so?

Swarthmore’s reporting and hearing procedures prioritizes assailants, retraumatizes survivors and neglects their rights.

  • Hearing proceedings are inconsistent and their quality is more or less dependent on the whims of the external adjudicator.
  • These proceedings are structured such that survivors must provide opening and closing statements as well as answer intense and inappropriate questions designed to wear them down.
  • These proceedings are not regulated and as such may be lengthy, disproportionately difficult on survivors, and infringe on students’ right to confidentiality.
  • Recording procedures is prohibited, making legal action or appeal procedures very challenging, if not impossible.
  • Sanctions are often disproportionately light, if they are enforced at all (in the case of social probation).

Swarthmore policies and administrative actions protect and support fraternities at the expense of addressing sexual violence.

  • Fraternities, despite being the cause of historic and current concern, remain misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, and racist spaces on campus.
  • Fraternity members are exclusively given college-owned process that allows for disproportionate control of social life.
  • Fraternity members routinely break the Code of Conduct but do not experience meaningful disciplinary action.
  • Fraternity culture protects and supports perpetrators of violence.
  • Deans will not provide the conditions of these buildings’ leases nor information on the nature of fraternity housing.
  • When faced with these concerns, administration continues to push ineffective reform instead of meaningful consequences and a restructuring of resources.

Public Safety does not enforce disciplinary consequences and dismisses complaints, apprehensions and concerns of students related to sexual and physical violence.

  • Public Safety officials are routinely condescending and inappropriate towards survivors and concerned students.
  • Public Safety officials prioritize the safety, well-being, comfort, and joy of perpetrators of sexual and physical violence.
  • Pubic Safety does not enforce no-contact orders, designed to protect survivors pending adjudication.
  • Public Safety does not enforce social probation, which is used to sanction perpetrators that have been found responsible by the College.

Swarthmore allows perpetrators to retain positions of power (TA, fellowships, scholarships) during and after adjudication and sanctions. 

Swarthmore does not adequately educate students on consent, relationships, party safety, or the policies related to such.

After concerted student activism in 2013, as well as a Title IX lawsuit being filed against the college, Swarthmore’s main policy changes have mostly concerned the alcohol consumption policy. Experts know this move is misguided and ineffective in addressing sexual violence.

Swarthmore systematically silences related activism, protest, and education efforts on these issues.

  • Swarthmore removed a banner, saying “Swat Protects Rapists,” that student activists hung out of an academic building.
  • Swarthmore removed “Swat Protects Rapists” posters while leaving up “Happy Sexual Assault Awareness” signs.
  • Swarthmore does not discuss its institutional failures, specifically surrounding the activism of 2013, except to squelch contemporary concerns.