women fists raised in air

An Open Letter from Her Campus at Emmanuel

Trigger warning: this article contains discussion and description regarding sexual assault. 

To the Emmanuel College Community and Administration, 

Much like the lyrics of Barry Manilow’s “One Voice”: 

"There's more than one voice

Singing in the darkness

Joining with your one voice

Each and every note another octave

Hands are joined and fears unlocked"

Many many members of the community at Emmanuel have spoken out about their experiences with sexual assault and the injustices they have faced and continue to face. Their voices have come together to sing their song of the injustices they have faced and with hands joined they stand up, fearlessly through the darkness to fight for what they deserve. 

Current students, alumni and even some faculty have joined the fight. 

As a student organization, an online publication and a group of strong and powerful students, we, the Her Campus Emmanuel team stand tall behind the brave individuals who have come forward. We sing loud and proud through the darkness at Emmanuel, against the injustices of sexual assault on campus. 

An institution that was originally founded by strong and powerful women dedicated to social justice, we along with many of our student body and faculty are extremely disheartened in how sexual assault cases have been handled by our colleges administration. And we demand better. 

We demand that Emmanuel College administration take responsibility for the pain and suffering they have caused through their actions and lack thereof. We demand that Emmanuel College administration changes how they handle sexual assault on our campus so that sexual predators are held accountable and no survivor is forced to live and learn in an environment where their assailants are protected and used for promotional materials. We demand that Emmanuel College do better to protect and honor their student body. 

Through this open letter, the Her Campus Emmanuel team provides our support in speaking out against social justice for our fellow classmates and friends in addition to our own personal statements. 

When I transferred to Emmanuel two years ago after leaving an abusive environment, I thought that I found a new home. One that was safe and kind. One that believed in social justice. While the strong friends I have built still provide that comfort to me, I no longer feel the same way I did when I set foot on the campus I transferred to two years ago. 

I am so hurt and ashamed by the actions of Emmanuel. 

As a survivor, this is an issue I take to heart not just because of my own experiences but because it is truly wrong. 

To Emmanuel Administration, the Title IX office and to Sr. Janet, especially, 

Get up! Stand up and do better for god sake. Stop letting rapists walk around campus and using them for promotional materials. Your marketing is NOT more important than your students. Stop shaming survivors and furthering their pain. We expect better. As leaders, you have failed. It’s time to stop ignoring your responsibility to the well being of your students.

 We demand an apology. We demand responsibility be taken. 

We demand better. We demand a zero tolerance policy. We demand that changes are made. REAL changes. Not changes to placate and damage control the situation now and then let the same disgusting things happen again and again. REAL. CHANGE. We demand that you stand up and fight to stop the rape culture you are encouraging on campus. 

Stop being cowards and stop being complicit in these heinous crimes. It’s disgusting and I sure as hell hope that you are better than this, that I haven’t put my faith and tuition dollars in a school that doesn’t deserve it. 

The survivors are the brave ones that are stepping up and fighting this fight and they shouldn’t have to. It’s not our job to fight for the basic safety, empathy and protection that your mission statement promises. That’s your job and you have failed. 

-Elise Kline (‘20)

 

Emmanuel College,   

Your policy is failing survivors. You have caused pain. So much pain. Your response has been incredibly inadequate. I am disgusted by it. We are not asking you to feel sorry, we are demanding you take action. You say “We empathize with our pain” but you have done nothing to back this up. You say this is a safe campus, a safe place. But how can that be when you allow assailants to walk around free? It is unacceptable and incredibly unsafe for students to have to attend the same classes, be on the same teams and clubs, and live in the same building as someone who has been found guilty of sexual assault. Survivors are not the ones who should be punished. For the survivors who have spoken up: Thank you and we stand with you. You are incredibly brave and I am sorry Emmanuel has failed you.

 It should not have to take survivors to speak up and relieve their pain for Emmanuel to change the Title IX policy. It shouldn't take a listening session to know what needs to happen. The answer is simple: a zero tolerance policy. Stop waiting. Do something. Step up. The response from the administration has been incredibly disappointing and pathetic. We will continue to speak up until you do what is right. 

Frustration, disappointment, anger, and sadness do not begin to describe how I feel.  

Emmanuel College claims to care about the students. Prove it. 

We are waiting.

-Caroline Ferrari (‘20)

 

I am frustrated and hurt that an institution that once said it would protect and advocate for survivors has instead chosen to do the exact opposite. By allowing perpetrators of sexual assault to remain on campus, you punish their victims. They are forced to walk through the hallways they were promised they would be safe and see their assailants. They eat in the same dining halls and live in the same buildings. They are forced to relive their horrific trauma every single day. How are the policies of Title IX that deemed an assailant guilty sufficient if they are then allowed to remain on campus, suffering little to no consequences, and still being allowed to attend classes and participate in athletics? As a survivor, I would not wish the anxiety of seeing my assailant every day in the hallways of my high school on anyone - especially not my incredible peers at Emmanuel. We demand a zero tolerance policy. I am proud to be a part of the community that has come forward and demanded change. I am proud of anyone who has spoken out against the outdated and insufficient policies that were spewed at us in such an impersonal email. I am proud of those who suffer silently - we are fighting for you and we stand with you. Please do better for your students: all of the women, men, LGBTQ+, and nonbinary individuals that make up Emmanuel College’s beautiful community. Please hear us. 

-Kailey Hinckley (‘21)

 

As a student and a student leader, my biggest priority has always been the wellbeing of my fellow students. It is disturbing to see that Emmanuel’s actions do not echo this sentiment. The Emmanuel College community is full of remarkable students, staff,  faculty and alumni, but the way this institution has handled sexual assault is deeply concerning. Having predators remain on campus after being found guilty of sexual assault is terrifying enough, but promoting them as leaders and using them to represent the school in advertisements is unfathomable. Providing assailants with these opportunities only gives them more power over and access to potential victims. What students have had to go through on our campus is unfathomable and our dated and broken system must be fixed through a zero tolerance policy. 

To my fellow students, especially survivors of sexual assault, I am endlessly proud of and inspired by you. Your stories, your words of support for survivors and your demands for change are so important and admirable. I stand by all of you and will continue to speak out both through Her Campus at Emmanuel and as an individual until survivors of sexual assault are given justice and we have a safer campus for present and future students. 

College is a place where students should feel safe. We should never have to worry about predators hiding in plain sight in dorms, work spaces or advertisements. 

How you determine to move forward and the choices you make now will determine your legacy forever. I encourage you to think carefully and move swiftly.

-Victoria Harding (‘20)

 

Emmanuel College has been my home for the past two years. When we were on breaks, my heart longed for the campus with so many friendly faces and warm days on the quad. Due to recent events, I’m hesitant to feel this way. 

When I was deciding on a school my senior year, I already carried with me the baggage tied to sexual violence and a strong feeling of community and safety were at the top of my priority list. Emmanuel was a small enclosed campus within a dangerous city - I could never have imagined that inside the gates could be dangers of their own. 

While my peers and many of the school’s faculty have stood together and spoken out about injustice in our campus, it frightens me to think that our voices and these injustices are being ignored by administration, by the people who are employed to listen and to keep us safe. I believe that this task force being created is a step in the right direction but on its own, it's not big enough. 

Emmanuel College has the potential to be a leader in the fight against sexual violence on college campuses and to set an example in the collegiate world of how this abuse should be handled but this can only happen if administration works along side students and for students to make real change. I am proud of my peers and I am proud to be a Saint because of how this community is handling this pain and anger together but not because of how administration is ignoring our needs.

If the proper steps are taken and if real change comes to Emmanuel College, I will be proud to call it home again but your time is up, Emmanuel. You can no longer brush these cases under the rug, you can no longer just accept that “this is just how colleges are”. All eyes are on you now. How are you going to act?

-Madyn Godfrey (‘22)

 

 

As a student at Emmanuel finishing out my third year at the college, I am deeply saddened, but not surprised by the influx of survivors who have come forward sharing their stories regarding sexual assault. Sexual assault is a problem that is plaguing college campuses everywhere, and it has been an extremely overwhelming and sad experience to see how much our Emmanuel community has been affected. I can only hope that our administration will finally make the changes we demand as students in response to the events over the past several days. 

I am thankful to everyone that has been able to share their story for the betterment of our school, and I hope that the college does not fail to make a change in our community. I can only hope that we can work together and work to make a change that will impact Emmanuel and its students for years to come. I hope that survivors everywhere, and especially in our community are able to find support, peace, and most importantly, protection.  

To the administration, please listen to us. We want the best for our school, and the best for our fellow students and survivors. It’s time to make a change. 

-Carly Silva (‘21)

 

Her Campus at Emmanuel will continue to stand with sexual assault survivors. We will continue to show our support, doing everything in our power to set changes into motion that will give them an environment where they are safe, supported and prioritized. We will continue to sing through the darkness until systemic change meets our satisfaction. 

We stand with survivors, we believe survivors and we send all our love to them. 

Sincerely, 

Her Campus at Emmanuel

President - Victoria Harding (‘20)

Vice President- Elise Kline (‘20)

Social Media Director - Madyn Godfrey (‘22)

Editor-in-Chief - Carly Silva (‘21) 

Secretary - Kailey Hinckley (‘21)

Treasurer- Caroline Ferrari (‘20) 

Social Media - Rosemary Murphy (20)