2 victims of sex assault during year’s first weekend

Two women said they were sexually assaulted in separate incidents during the first weekend of the semester, according to reports from campus security.

On Saturday, Sept. 6, a woman said she was assaulted in Martyr’s Hall around 3 a.m. On Sunday, Sept. 7, another woman said she was forcibly touched on Martyrs’ Lawn at around the same time.

A source told Fordham Daily neither of the incidents involved rape.

(Patrick Doherty)

This comes as USG establishes a task force of about seven students to address the subject of sexual assault at Fordham.

“It’s about creating a culture that says, ‘It’s not acceptable here. This isn’t a part of college. This is something that’s absolutely unacceptable,'” USG President Nevin Kulangara said in an interview.

He said sexual assault is a problem on college campuses across the country that is shaped largely by the media’s lens of perceived college life in America: drinking and sex.

Kulangara says student leaders should step up to tell other students, “Hey, we’re college students too. We watch the same TV as you, but we’re here to tell you [sexual misconduct] is not what Fordham’s about.”

He added that before incidents take place, more focus should be placed on trying to connect with potential perpetrators rather than making victims feel safer.

Christopher Rodgers, dean of students at Rose Hill, praised student government for the formation of the task force.

“This can be a tough issue to broach with peers, but USG shows it is concerned and willing to take it on by taking this first step,” he said via email. “I hope this effort results in more students thinking carefully and critically about how we can better serve as our brothers and sisters keepers on and off campus.”

Junior Nicholas Sawicki, vice president of FCRH, is heading up the USG task force.

Twenty-three reports of on-campus sexual assault, and two off campus, came through Fordham Public Safety between 2010 and 2012, according to federal data.

Administrators had made three of those incidents public, leaving most cases known only by the relatively few involved. Fordham had more claims of sexual assault than any other Jesuit college during that time period, according to the number of claims reported.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Doherty.