Amherst Warns Students About Advances From Alumni

October 22, 2013

In preparation for homecoming weekend, Amherst College sent resident counselors an advisory e-mail that included a warning to watch out for alumni. “Keep an eye out for unwanted sexual advances,” the e-mail said, according to Newsweek. “A lot of alums come back for Homecoming pretty jaded with the bar scene and blind dating of the real world and are eager to take advantage of what they now perceive to be an ‘easy’ hook-up scene back at Amherst. Also, many alums tend to be pretty drunk all weekend long.”

Critics said the message, which advises counselors to “alert your residents to this unfortunate combination,” tasks women with avoiding assault rather than addressing the potential assailants. Amherst has faced scrutiny for its handling of sexual assault cases after a student described her experience in the campus newspaper, and has begun making policy and procedural changes on campus.

Note: The above paragraph has been updated to reflect the fact that Amherst is not under federal investigation.

Amherst President Biddy Martin said in a statement that the email appeared to have "originated from a document that was several years old," and the author was likely a student from 2007. "It includes unwarranted and crass characterizations of our alumni," Martin said. "I want to apologize.... Given the seriousness with which we take sexual assault, our commitment to changing how we address it, and the comprehensive strategies we are putting in place, these failures of judgment are most disappointing. We will take appropriate measures to address them."


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