Yale University leaders sent an e-mail to the campus on Monday about the much-debated action of a university police officer to detain at gunpoint a black male student who was briefly suspected (based on his appearance) of being a thief. The student's father is a New York Times columnist who wrote about the incident on Twitter and in the Times, drawing widespread discussion and accusations of racial profiling. The e-mail Yale officials sent Monday distinguished between what happened at Yale and other recent incidents in which unarmed black men have been killed -- and the letter sought to separate the decision to question the student with the decision to do so at gunpoint.
"Let us be clear: we have great faith in the Yale Police Department and admire the professionalism that its officers display on a daily basis to keep our campus safe. What happened on Cross Campus on Saturday is not a replay of what happened in Ferguson; Staten Island; Cleveland; or so many other places in our time and over time in the United States. The officer, who himself is African American, was responding to a specific description relayed by individuals who had reported a crime in progress," said the e-mail. "Even though the officer's decision to stop and detain the student may have been reasonable, the fact that he drew his weapon during the stop requires a careful review. For this reason, the Yale Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit is conducting a thorough and expeditious investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident, and will report the findings of that investigation to us. We, in turn, will share the findings with the community. We ask that you allow us the time needed to collect and examine the facts from everyone involved."
The e-mail was sent by Peter Salovey, Yale's president; Jonathan Holloway, dean of Yale College; and Ronnell Higgins, chief of the Yale Police Department.
Submitted by Jake New on January 27, 2015 - 3:00am
More than 430 representatives from 76 colleges and universities in Tennessee will attend a summit this week focused on campus sexual assault. The summit will be hosted by the state's public and private higher education systems -- the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association -- and will include training and resources provided by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The two-day meeting is taking place the same week that a high-profile rape trial involving two Vanderbilt University athletes is expected to conclude.
"Preventing and responding to sexual assaults and relationship violence is a priority in Washington and across the country and, now more than ever, in Tennessee," Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee, said during a call with reporters last week. "We've not only heightened our focus in Tennessee, we also agree that we can be more effective at combating sexual violence by working together."
Many colleges in New England, the New York area and New Jersey are closed today due to the massive blizzard in the region. Smith College decided to announce its decisions on second-round early-decision applications Monday night instead of Tuesday (as scheduled) because of the blizzard. One of the few colleges in the region affirming the possibility of classes today was Bates College, which announced that classes will be held unless called off by the instructor. Perhaps to inspire students or instructors, the college illustrated this news item with a photo of students making their way to class in a 2011 blizzard.
"The Hunting Ground," a new documentary on sexual assaults on campus, had its debut Friday at Sundance and stunned many in the audience with the stories of women who had been sexually assaulted. The woman who without success has tried to bring charges against Jameis Winston, a football star at Florida State University, speaks publicly and at length for the first time.
The New York Times reported that "audience members repeatedly gasped as student after student spoke on camera about being sexually assaulted — and being subsequently ignored or run through endless hoops by college administrators concerned about keeping rape statistics low." The Los Angeles Times called the documentary "a devastating indictment of the plague of rapes on campuses." The Daily Beast detailed the portion of the film about the Winston case. (NOTE: This paragraph has been updated to remove a suggestion in the film, since determined to be incorrect, that no college presidents would agree to be interviewed on camera.)
The documentary will appear on CNN and also in theaters. The trailer follows.