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Rape reports rattle campus

In a period of four days, Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins alerted the Yale community about two alleged sexual assaults committed by undergraduates on campus last week, inspiring shock and disgust in the student body.
According to the first message, a visitor to campus reported being sexually assaulted on January 18 by an acquaintance who was a Yale student. According to an email from Master Jeffrey Brenzel, the alleged assault occurred in Timothy Dwight College. The New Haven Independent reported that the visitor, a student at Southern Connecticut State University, was subsequently taken to Yale-New Haven hospital for treatment of physical injuries. Criminal defense attorney William F. Dow III ’63, representing the accused student, told the Independent that the sex was consensual.

The second message from Chief Higgins, sent on January 23, stated that an alleged sexual assault had occurred in a “residential room” on January 21. Two days later—around the same time Higgins notified the community of the report—roughly a dozen Yale police officers entered Vanderbilt Hall on Old Campus to investigate a freshman suite connected with the alleged assault, according to the Yale Daily News.
Students express surprise and anger at the two reported assaults.

“It is deeply sorrowing,” Grace Hirshorn ’15 says in an interview. “Everyone is aware these kinds of things happen and we need to be more intentional about supporting each other.”

Alex Zhang ’18 says he is concerned by the continued prevalence of these kinds of reports, despite the resources the university is devoting to improve campus climate.
Isa Qasim ’15 says that while the news itself was “awful,” the e-mails gave him the sense that the Yale police is actively investigating the potential crimes.
But some students expressed confusion about the e-mails, which reported the alleged assaults but provided no further information. The federal Clery Act requires the Yale police to notify the Yale community of all reported sexual assaults, though these notifications do not necessarily imply that a criminal complaint has been filed.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.


Filed under sexual misconduct, police
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