Video: Senate Minority Leader Saslaw Rips UVA’s “Crap” on Sexual Assault

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    As you might have noticed, I’m not a big fan of Virginia State Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw. However, in this case, I couldn’t agree more regarding UVA’s “crap.” Here’s a partial transcript of Saslaw’s comments at the Falls Church City council meeting Monday evening.

    …I read that whole [Rolling Stone story on the UVA gang rape], I read it twice…and I’ve got to tell you, I can’t remember when I’ve been angrier as an adult reading that. It didn’t surprise me…because this has been going on forever. And I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been hearing this crap – and that’s what it is – from UVA over the last 40 years — let us handle it, we know how to do it, don’t…require us to report this, the women won’t come in…the reason these kids don’t come forward is they know the university’s total dedication is to sweeping everything under the rug…One kid had raped two women. They never called the police; they suspended him for a year and let him back on campus.

    I’ve got a bill that’s currently being drafted. And what that’s going to say is that if a university or higher education state employee is informed that a sexual assault has taken place, they’re going to have 24 hours to report it to the local police, and if they don’t they’re going to face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Let me tell you, this has got to stop. The other thing is, those people at UVA have no business of adjudicating a felony for god’s sake…Had that same kid been off campus and not a student at UVA, he’d be pulling 40 years in prison in Virginia, not walking across the stage with a diploma…

    What parent in their right mind would send a daughter to UVA when she’s got…a 20 percent chance, a 20 percent chance of being sexually assaulted? That’s how bad it is…They’ve been doing it their way and it doesn’t work…And they’ve essentially told every male, particularly those on fraternity row, it always has been and still is open season on females. They don’t have any fear of being turned into the police, and that’s going to stop…

    The reason they don’t come forward is because they know the university is going to try to talk them out of it. They’re telling these kids, your parents worked hard to get you here, do you want to blow all of this up? So, yeah, we’re going to do something, and we’re not waiting for commissions, study groups, or anything like that.

    • richmonder

      As a UVa alumni, I can feel Saslaw’s anger. The school has been complacent and complicit in this problem for longer than any of us know. However, throwing the book at university administrators and treating this primarily as a law enforcement issue may be a part of the solution, but it doesn’t get the heart of the matter. There’s a tradition (and that’s not an ephemeral thing at UVa) of a party culture with free flowing alcohol, predatory men, and casual sex that existed long before I graduated more than four decades ago. The fraternity system is almost indefinable apart from all those dissolute weekends where women are objectified and excessive drinking is planned for and celebrated. Both alumni and students perpetuate this behavior. The veil need to be lifted from this degrading culture of drug (mostly alcohol) induced licentiousness that invites sexual crimes such as those described by Rolling Stone. Fraternity houses are already off campus, but the school should consider ways to regulate/police these organizations and find alternatives that don’t suck undergraduates in to their definition of social life and male bonding. Maybe they should take a look at schools that have alternatives to the Greek system, and other options that marginalize these anachronistic institutions. I don’t know the solution, but it must address the ways students are socialized if there is to be a lasting result.