'End Assault at Rutgers' speaks at Rutgers Board Open Hearing
At Wednesday’s Board of Governors Open Hearing on the University’s Tuition, Fees, Housing and Dining Charges for 2019-2020, End Assault at Rutgers spoke about its cause, claiming that the University mishandles investigations into accusations of sexual assault against faculty members.
When members spoke, other members in the rows behind them stood in silence, some of them carrying signs demonstrating their stance.
Olivia Wischmeyer, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior and member of End Assault at Rutgers, said she was concerned that $5.7 million was used in last year’s budget to be allocated toward University ethics.
“When I pay over $20,000 a semester to come to school, which I was told would be worth it, I questioned everything,” Wischmeyer said. “I questioned the path Rutgers has stumbled upon, and I asked how protecting predators and rapists like Nabil Adam come under your definition of revolutionary.”
The Daily Targum reported earlier this semester that Adam has been cleared of multiple accusations and is currently being investigated for allegedly retaliating against his accuser.
The University must maintain confidentiality for those involved to respect both the privacy of the parties and the integrity of its processes, said Dory Devlin, senior director of University News and Media, to the Targum in an email.
“In addition, sexual assault is a criminal matter and when allegations of rape or other sexual assault are brought to our attention, the matter must be referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, including the county prosecutor’s office,” Devlin said. “The allegations in this case were referred to the Essex County Prosecutor more than a year ago.”
Emily Wheatley, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore and member of End Assault at Rutgers, said that she was excited to go to Rutgers, but she also remembered an innate fear.
“It's no secret that sexual violence is an epidemic that plagues college campuses, but you never fully understand its prevalence until you are all alone in the real world,” Wheatley said.
But only a small percentage of these crimes go unreported, and only a few step up and speak out, she said. Victims stay quiet because they do not have the time nor money to seek help, or still face pressure from their perpetrators.
“Or some try to speak out, but are ignored, overlooked or rejected,” Wheatley said. “This should not be the reality, we need to stand with survivors, spoken and silent, and demand justice at any cost.”