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WPI, Facing Suit, Accused of Blaming Rape Victim

June 7, 2016

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is being sued by a student who was raped by a security guard at a building where she and other WPI students lived in Puerto Rico while on a research program. The suit questions whether WPI took appropriate steps to be sure that security guards were in fact reliable and not dangerous.

As part of its defense, WPI is raising issues about the woman having engaged in drinking before the incident and having gone to the roof of the building with the security guard (something she says she thought was safe since he was a guard), The Boston Globe reported. For example, in a deposition with the woman, WPI lawyers asked about her drinking and asked her whether her parents had taught her “don’t take candy from strangers.”

“When you are saying a victim of rape caused her own rape, it is so offensive,” Colby Bruno, senior legal counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center in Boston and a consultant for the woman’s lawyers, told the Globe.

WPI said it offered support to the woman and her family after the rape.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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