As many TKS readers are no doubt aware, in the past few weeks there has been an increasingly heated debate regarding sexual assault on campus. This is a conversation that is ideally a beneficial one; the first step to correcting a problem is an awareness of and conversation about the problem. No one can fix something that is being ignored. In this respect, this conversation is especially important to campus life. However, on the extreme spectrum of this debate, the conversation has passed beyond reasonable dialogue, resulting in accusations that I believe are founded in a perception that certain issues and concerns are being ignored or swept aside by callous or unconcerned individuals. I would like to assure the campus that this is not the case.
We at TKE take any allegation of sexual assault very seriously; in the past few weeks we have had numerous internal meetings, meetings with the administration, coordination with the police, meetings with TKE alumni and meetings with TKE nationals. The purpose of these meetings has been to determine the facts of the cases presented and to decide upon an appropriate response. As a result of these meetings, one member of TKE has been removed from the organization permanently, as well as being expelled from school and removed from campus. The investigation of the other allegation is ongoing, but no longer involves TKE.
When I first heard about these allegations, I was as upset and concerned as anyone else on this campus. Hearing about a sexual assault is disturbing to anyone. Then I saw the conversation emerging on Faceboo—claims that nothing was being done, that these concerns were being ignored or overlooked. This is not the case. No one is claiming that sexual assault is condonable, supportable or excusable. Unfortunately, our hands are somewhat tied in this matter. As many of you are no doubt aware, the school recently sent out an e-mail specifically to inform the student body that no further information would be released on this matter, owing to concerns of confidentiality. This is not because we at TKE have closed ranks, or are attempting to whitewash investigations or sweep accusations under the rug. Rather, we have been attempting to respect confidentiality: we CANNOT discuss particulars or specifics of individual incidents. We don’t have that right. Nobody is saying that these issues should be ignored, but the conversation does have to remain civil. We’re all people, we’re all Knox students, and this issue is important to us all.
Vice-President and PR Chair, TKE