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Problem Deeper

DISSENT:

By Joshua A. Gerstein

I do not share the staff's opinion that setting up a new adminstrative body to deal with cases of acquaintance rape is going to make it substantially easier for women to pursue such incidents.

Granted, College officials could be more receptive and sensitive to victims' concerns. Such changes, however, will not seriously affect the percentage of rape cases in which the perpetrator is punished. And it is only an increase in the number of guilty findings for acquaintance rape that will provide real encouragement for victims to come forward.

Retraining adminstrators--while retaining the present Ad Board secrecy and high standard of proof--will have little effect. Activists and student publications should stop telling women that a more sensitive disciplinary body will be able to address their concerns adequately. Only a massive overhaul of the personnel of the Ad Board, along with a shift in the burden of proof, will provide the Harvard community with an effective response to the problem of acquaintance rape.

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