DES MOINES, Iowa -- Students are just weeks away from closing out the spring semester at Drake University. "It's been a stressful few days here at Drake University," said Junior Isabelle Barrett. The stress isn't from upcoming finals week but a pamphlet that circulated on campus Monday outing over a half-dozen men and one on-campus organization as predators of rape, sexual assault and being physically and emotionally aggressive. Isabelle was in class when she saw the list. She said, "Everyone just got really quiet. A lot of them are prominent people on our campus."
Some students like Leah Wilson, a first year student, grew concerned about the pamphlets validity. "I feel like this is absolutely the wrong way to go about it. I mean we are having the defamation of people's character. Futures are on the line with this," she said.
Isabelle says the list struck a personal cord. "I had a big emotional reaction because I recognized a lot of the names. My assault assailant was on there. I'm glad people know because he's dangerous."
Without any legal proof within the anonymously authored pamphlet, Leah feels it could do more harm than good. "Obviously there needs to be an open dialogue at Drake and that's extremely important. I feel there could have been better ways of starting that discussion."
Drake University responded to the statement saying:
"Protecting students is our first priority. We became aware of the pamphlets being in various locations around campus early Monday morning. We removed the pamphlets as soon as they were discovered and we are investigating. Any students who wish to report sexual misconduct or violence are encouraged to speak with the Drake University Title IX office or to a confidential resource listed at drake.edu/titleix."
Despite their efforts, Isabelle believes authorities and the Title IX office have not come through for victims in the past. "We haven't seen results. I think it is important because it speaks to a clear lack of trust between survivors and this institution in particular."
It has sparked a wildfire of conversation surrounding sexual assault but also scarlet letters on several men and an organization with Drake University ties. "It's very dangerous. Obviously this is going to have negative consequences for the people on there," said Leah.