U of Richmond Students Claim No Support on Rape Allegations

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

Two University of Richmond students have announced that they were raped and are speaking publicly about what they are calling the school’s indifferent reply to their assertions.

Their cases, according to Denis Slattery of the New York Daily News, are getting significant coverage and have caused outrage on the school’s campus following a series of disturbing pieces published by the Huffington Post last week detailing their interaction with the school’s administrators. The reports also resulted in a Saturday protest at UR’s first home football game.

The controversy began when Cecilia Carreras wrote an essay alleging she was raped in 2015 by a student athlete. Carreras claims that when she reported the incident to school officials, the school protected her assailant.

“We have a problem at Richmond,” she wrote. “A problem that is made worse by an administration that justifies reported rapes and judges the survivor’s credibility on a harsher scale than the accused’s.”

Carreras alluded to the similar case of Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer. In both cases, she said, the athletes were not held accountable for their sexual assaults. Turner was given a surprisingly short sentence.

“Even though he admitted to raping me, he still gets to put on his uniform and represent us on a national scale,” Carreras wrote of her alleged rapist.

Carreras also has accused a male dean of responding to her report of the assault in a vulgar and rude manner.

Last Wednesday, the school administration sent an email to the student body challenging the accuracy of Carreras’ accusations. She has also filed a complaint with the Department of Education regarding the mishandling of her case.

On Friday, another student came forward with a story much like Carreras’ allegations. Whitney Ralston wrote that apparently, the school considered the privacy of the rapist more important than her life.

Currently, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has 267 open investigations under Title IX that have been brought forward by students who allege their schools handled their complaints improperly.

According to Claire Lampen, writing for Mic, Whitney Ralston’s rapist went on to become her stalker, steal her passport and money, threaten her friend’s life, and harass her family. And even though the Richmond Police said the man could be arrested for possible charges of kidnapping, assault and battery, identity theft, and other crimes, the school’s Title IX officials said her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was causing her to be an “unreliable witness.”

In the end, the athlete was given probation, and Ralston says she was told to “deal with it.”

University of Richmond President Ronald Crutcher responded that he was aware the events of the last few days had upset, frustrated, and hurt members of the school’s community. He added that he would seek the opinions of students, faculty, and alumni, and report back to the student body before fall break, reports Karin Kapsidelis for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

But one male UR student said he felt that the administration was putting the reputation of the university before the safety of students.

New Zealand’s NewsHub summarized the issue in this way:

“A US student who told the world of her alleged rape has been branded a liar by her university in a campus-wide email.”

NewsHub adds that Carreras included in one of her posts both audio file quotes and emails in which she asked her rapist to stop on three different occasions.