Letter to the Editor 4-24-15

These are Facebook comments  responding to the article “It had taken over my life.“ The News reserves the right to publish Facebook comments and messages, as the Facebook page is considered an open public forum.

As an RA, this story really hits home with me. During training, we are told to help victims of rape and to lead them to the offices on campus that will help them. From this story, it sounds like the process that University leaders preach about and support full-heartedly is not efficient.

From my experiences in Housing, I think Murray State needs to work on its consequences when students break rules or policies. Some rules are repeatedly broken and nothing seems to be done, such as visitation policy violations or showing their ID at the door.

Everything is a “gray area,” and nothing seems to be done, like the police officer told Smith her drunken state was a “gray area.” If Murray State wants a safe learning environment, rules and policies, as well as important judicial processes like this, need to be reviewed and taken more seriously. I wish Smith all the best and I am extremely saddened by her situation.

Letter from Alissa Sommerfeldt, Sophomore from Owensboro, Ky.

I know it’s very trendy to link fraternities and rape culture right now, but I think the larger story here is how difficult it is to file sexual assault charges within the University system. Anyone who knows Mike Young will tell you there is no way he would ever protect a rapist. Ever.

So instead of trying to pin this on him, look closer at the difficulty of pursuing charges within the University framework in general.

She went to the Women’s Center, then the counseling center – both those delayed her and/or couldn’t help. She reported to police, who apparently told her she didn’t have a case to bring, is what I’m getting? So she went the University route, but that’s not the same as going to the police and getting charges filed. What this story leaves out is what is ideally supposed to happen. What is best practice? Where did this fall apart? Instead of hinging the story on blaming one man, look at the failures from the moment she sought help. Because that is what’s going to effect change for women on campus. That is what is going to make a difference to the next woman who needs help. I think looking at the first places she went is interesting – those are totally logical to me.

I’m surprised and disappointed they couldn’t offer her guidance. That would be a good opportunity for positive change. Having something as simple as a sheet that victims are handed at the Title IX offices telling them what to expect and what the procedure is in these cases — letting them have some sense of control back would probably help alleviate some of the pain of feeling out of control. There are many opportunities for improvement here, and I think implying there was some sort of coverup would be a shame because it would miss these many ways the system can be improved for all women.

Letter from Alyson McNutt English, Alumna from Huntsville, Ala.