Reporter fires back at Rodgers for “pointing finger” amid rape case

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 5.16.08 PMAlexandra Palmer, a reporter for Al Jazeera America, lashed out at comments Christopher Rodgers, dean of students at Fordham, made regarding a recent article about how the university fumbled a rape case in 2013.

The article, titled “Crime logs show NYC schools mishandle sexual assault complaints,” alleges that Fordham failed to punish a student accused of sexually assaulting another student at Rose Hill in the early weeks of 2013.

Rodgers met with the complainant twice, conducted an investigation into the allegation and ultimately found insufficient evidence to punish the accused attacker, according to the article.

He declined to provide the reporters with specific information regarding the specific case, later citing legal reasons.

“While the university is forbidden by law from discussing the specifics of a student complaint without his or her clear and direct permission, colleges and universities have an obligation to respond rapidly and appropriately to any reports of sexual misconduct,” he said in a statement to Fordham Daily. “Fordham takes this obligation very seriously and this is precisely what occurred in this case.”

He challenged the premise of Al Jazeera’s account of the story, which concluded that administrators had left this alleged rape victim out in the cold.

(“Fordham’s dean of students Christopher Rodgers dismissed the allegations and said nothing could be done,” the article reported.)

“The most troubling thing about this piece is that its inaccuracies might discourage students from reporting sexual misconduct,” he told The Fordham Ram this week.

Palmer fired back by calling Rodgers’ remarks “unfair.”

“I think it’s a sad state of affairs when the dean of a college as reputable as Fordham University points a finger at two journalists for obvious failings on his part to handle sexual assault complaints,” she told Fordham Daily.

“We investigated this story to help survivors of sexual assault not to discourage them,” she added.

Palmer said she came across Hailey’s story through contact with other survivors.

Information regarding Fordham’s sexual assault policies and reporting procedures may be found here.

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