Here’s How One University’s Students Exposed Rapists On Campus

Sameera Ehteram
Giving up hope of any concrete action by their institution against rape and sexual assault, students at New York’s Columbia University have taken matters in to their own hands.

Colombia Students

The students distributed flyers naming the “Rapists on Campus” all over the university.

The students had filed a federal complaint against the university over its failure to protect students from sexual assault. It said that the school discouraged reporting assault and failed to punish culprits accordingly.

“The whole investigation and hearing process is really difficult and traumatic and exhausting. And at the end of it, nobody is ever expelled,” said rape survivor Zoe Ridolfi-Starr.

However, not only did the administration do nothing in response, it also removed the flyers.

Colombia Students

Luckily, the lists had been up long enough to get national media attention from CNN and the New York Times, among others.  

This added enough public pressure for some sort of action by the faculty.

Lee C. Bollinger. President of the Columbia University sent out an email saying, “Before the academic year comes to a close, I want to provide one more brief update on our ongoing efforts to improve our capacity within the University to prevent and address issues of sexual assault and misconduct.” He provided further details of the planned actions.

One can only hope things change for the better soon. At the moment, however, sexual assault and harassment is rampant on college campuses across the country. 

According to a research, at a campus like Colombia with 10,000 female students, a chilling 350 rapes take place each year – a little less than one a day.

95% of attacks go unreported and 42% of college women who are raped tell nobody, making sexual assault a silent epidemic.

Some students have praised the distribution of the fliers as a "vigilante" effort aimed at protecting women while others have taken to social media and called it a "witch hunt".