The campus crisis (Tortoise)
But the truth is that most university systems handling sexual misconduct are not built for equal treatment of the alleged victim and perpetrator. “Disciplinary processes are effectively between the university and the accused,” says Georgina Calvert-Lee, the lawyer who secured tens of thousands of pounds for the Warwick group chat women.
“The only individual that they care about is the accused. That’s the person that has all of the rights and privileges.” Calvert-Lee warns that this system even risks universities breaking the law. “The complainant has no rights to see evidence put in against them; to attend the hearing; to see the outcome, or to appeal the outcome. It risks breaching the Equality Act.”
What message does it send to perpetrators of sexual assault when universities fail to take action against them? Or, in the case of the Warwick group chat, sneak those “convicted” of sexual misconduct back onto campus within a year, when their actions originally invited an incredible 10-year ban? When one attacker was allowed to remain on campus in December 2020, Calvert-Lee denounced the university as always backtracking on promises whenever “we turn our backs”. Will we ever see meaningful change?