'Champions' Article Wrong About Rape Policy
TO THE EDITORS OF THE CRIMSON
In Joe Mathews' July 30 article on the charitable donations missing from "Evening with Champions," he includes a paragraph referring to, of all things, Ad Board procedures for rape cases. The paragraph is wrong, and I would like to correct the information for your readers and our students.
The article states "...the Board routinely investigates allegations of rape without referring them to the district attorney." In fact, the exact opposite is true. It is both our College policy and the law that the College report any alleged crimes--including rape--to the legal authorities. There are no exceptions, not now nor in recent memory.
(The decision whether to press charges belongs to the victim and the district attorney's office, while we offer support and our resources to the student while he or she grapples with this decision, the College would never presume to usurp the student's role or that of the legal authorities.)
The reference to the Board's 'routine' treatment of such cases is also misleading. Recognizing the extreme seriousness of rape cases, any such charge brought to the Board's attention would be given special and specific treatment suitable to the circumstances of the case. The only 'routine' procedures are those in place to protect the rights and privacy of the students involved. Furthermore, stating that the Board 'routinely investigates allegations of rape' gives the impression that there have been several such cases--enough to establish a 'routine.' In fact, however, there has not been a rape case brought to the Board in the two years during which Mr. Mathews has been reporting for The Crimson.
I am not sure why The Crimson felt that a (wrong) reference to rape policy belonged in a story about a possible embezzlement; however, I am glad to take this opportunity to correct the mistaken information The Crimson had, and its readers may have picked up from the story. Virginia L. Mackay-Smith Assistant Dean of Harvard College for Coeducation, and Secretary to the Administrative Board.