A Letter to the Chancellor: Please speak up


Dusty Hartl, Opinions Editor

It has come to my attention that you have not spoken about the sexual assaults on campus or, if you did, you have not done a great job at
denouncing it.

As someone who helps students on a regular basis, I often find myself having these difficult conversations. I am often asked “what is the chancellor doing about this?”

The only reply I can utter is “nothing to my

With more and more young women telling me that they have faced sexual assault, it is becoming more clear that this horrible ordeal is becoming a reality for many young women on campus. The reality is that even one sexual assault on campus is too much.

Being around freshmen most of my day, because of my work, I am forced to accept the reality that there is a strong possibility one in five of the women, and one in sixteen of the men, I encounter will be sexually assaulted. Seeing the fear and curiosity in these young minds about what the university is doing to end this epidemic breaks my heart because I really do not know what the university is doing.

I see other universities speak out and offer guidance, assistance and more than a comedy show and an online course that no one cares about to teach freshmen about the real harm of sexual assault.

Having someone speak out and tell the survivors that the university is trying its best to prevent these attacks is not too much
to ask.

As a strong, prominent woman figure on campus, I was hoping that of everyone, you would understand and respect this request. You are a leader in a college world that says women are more likely to be sexually assaulted while under your care than any other time in their lives.

I am sure that you care about this issue, but it is hard to see that when I have not heard anything of your endeavours. Your words should resonate, inspire, and guide young minds, but if they cannot be heard then is it worth saying at all?

The question has been raised to me, as the Opinions Editor of the Royal Purple, if you are avoiding this discussion because if you admit this is a problem, it would shed a negative light on the university. My answer to that is simple because if this is indeed true, you are playing with a double-edged sword.

The students on this campus are not mindless creatures, we see, we hear, and we know when something happens. The fact that this has not been listed as a primary concern for you, to reach out to the campus, is drawing a negative light not only on the university, but on your leadership approaches as well.

In addition, it has come to my attention that you support the tobacco-free initiative on campus. An initiative that would ask young people to leave campus in the middle of the night, raising my fears of more sexual assaults.

With the days getting shorter as winter rolls in, having students leave campus to smoke is not fixing the sexual assault problem, but potentially fueling the fire. I have been told these areas would have proper patrolling, but why don’t we have proper patrolling of the rest of campus?

When I am told that students are escorting each other around campus because they do not feel safe walking alone, that is a problem. When only I, a 5’11, 300 pound man, feel comfortable walking around campus at night, that is a problem.

Chancellor, I reach out to you in this public forum not to make you feel bad, but because I know the public can hold you accountable. As students cannot, and will not, tolerate another email notifying us of a sexual assault.

Please, take responsibility and speak out against these attacks on women, and men, and be the role model so many desperately want you to be.


One of many concerned students, Dusty Hartl