After continued sexual harassment, two students say administration should have done more to protect them against the same serial offender

After+continued+sexual+harassment%2C+two+students+say+administration+should+have+done+more+to+protect+them+against+the+same+serial+offender

Claire Hamada

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Two Linfield students are claiming they received inadequate support from the administration after they were both repeatedly sexually harassed by another student. This is the second report of misconduct against the college by students this year. 

The Linfield Review doesn’t identify alleged survivors of sexual harassment unless they give explicit permission to be named.  

One of the girls, who has chosen to remain anonymous, disclosed that a peer sexually harassed her for six months over multiple online platforms.

“He would message me through Instagram, he would make fake Instagram accounts, fake Twitters, he had multiple different phone numbers.” She said he always asked to pay her for sensitive photos.

He would message me through Instagram, he would make fake Instagram accounts, fake Twitters, he had multiple different phone numbers.”

— Anonymous

Linfield’s sexual assault and relationship violence policy defines sexual harrassment as “unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”

The alleged abuser wouldn’t leave the student alone, so she told her roommate about the harassment. “She had friends who had the exact same thing happen to them from the exact same person,” the anonymous student claimed.

The other student, referred to here as “B,” said she was subject to similar abuse by the same student. B said in an email that the aforementioned anonymous student came to her many times about the harassment. 

B said she matched with the alleged offender on Tinder twice her sophomore year, but under different aliases he would invent for himself. 

“His photos did not line up with a real person and the things he was asking were getting really personal so I unmatched him,” B said after the first time she connected with him on the app. 

The second time, under another name, the alleged abuser and herself made plans to meet in person.

But before they did, B said she received a series of jarring texts from him.   

“I am not who I said I was.” 

“I see you everyday and am always around you.” 

“I felt sick,” she said. “I received message after message [from him] on Facebook telling me I was a bad person, that he hated me, that he was going to hurt himself because of me, and that he was going to hurt me.”

I received message after message [from him] on Facebook telling me I was a bad person, that he hated me, that he was going to hurt himself because of me, and that he was going to hurt me.”

— B

 

“I was afraid to leave my dorm. I didn’t know what to do,” B said. “I asked a friend for help because I was really concerned for his safety and my own.”

Eventually, the anonymous student said a group of girls with these similar experiences went to report the incidents to Jeff Mackay, director of residence life and associate dean of students.

“The college offers students a number of reporting options,” Mackay said on behalf of the administration in an email. “We allow the survivor to elect what option is best for them. Reporting is not the same thing as requesting that a formal investigation take place. All actions are taken at the request of the reporting party.” 

When the anonymous student and others reported to Mackay the first time, she said “he didn’t do anything, he just said ‘don’t talk to him,’” even though they had proof of disturbing messages. 

When the alleged abuser continued stalking the girls online, some of them went to report a second time and file a no contact order (NCO) against him. The anonymous student said she didn’t report to the administration the second time, nor is her name listed on the NCO.

B, whose name is on the NCO, claimed the alleged offender broke the agreement. 

“I reported all this to the school and they placed a no contact order,” B said. “This order was supposed to keep him away from me but he moved into Campbell while I [moved into] Whitman that same week. Every time I would go to leave my dorm he would be there.” These two residence halls are adjacent. 

“I felt unsafe on campus,” she said. “I would see him all the time… it took more than five reports [that she is aware of] for him to get off campus. I had women coming to me all the time or their friends asking what to do about him.” 

We allow the survivor to elect what option is best for them. All actions are taken at the request of the reporting party.”

— Jeff Mackay

But even after his alleged suspension, the anonymous student said she and a friend saw him on campus. She said they alerted Mackay of the incident, but that he didn’t do “anything about it.”

“A student who has been suspended from the college for conduct issues is trespassed from campus,” Mackay said. “If a student is aware that someone who was suspended is back on campus they should contact College Public Safety.” 

 B said the group of alleged survivors tried to give the administration the benefit of the doubt, but that in the end, their support was insufficient. 

“They put his words before ours,” she said. “The school really failed to make me and my friends who had to deal with this situation feel safe, and that needs to change.”

“There was obviously more they [the administration] could have done,” the anonymous student said. “Going in the first time and saying — ‘hey, this guy is creeping me out, I don’t feel comfortable on campus’— they should have obviously taken action immediately. I think the school likes to push all that stuff under the rug to make their school look better.”

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Editor-In-Chief Alex Jensen and Life & Culture Editor Elin Johnson were reporting contributors for this story. 

If you have a similar story that you would like to share with the Linfield Review, you can contact Camille Botello (c[email protected]), Elin Johnson ([email protected]) or Alex Jensen ([email protected]).

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault or relationship violence and would like on-campus support, you can reach out to College Public Safety at 503-883-7233, the Student Health, Wellness and Counseling Center at 503-883-2535, or Residence Life at 503-883-5433.

Off-campus resources include the Henderson Hours Crisis Line at 503-472-1503, Yamhill County Crime Victim Services at 503-434-7510, and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.