Occidental College in Crisis? Readers Respond 

Thursday, Jul 4 2013
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The Rape of Occidental

Jessica P. Ogilvie's cover story about the wave of rapes afflicting Occidental College stirred up serious conversation last week ("The Rapist Next Dorm," June 28).

Lauren Doyel writes, "Wow. That was really well-written, and as a parent of a student there, you hit the nail on the head — the concerns, the frustrations, all of it. My daughter ... knows many [rape survivors]. Thank you for this story."

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A self-titled Interested Reader seconds Doyel's praise. "Sadly this is not a new problem at Oxy," he writes. "I attended in the '70s and had two, count 'em, two close friends raped. There was no administrative support for either, although my apartment mate did enjoy the empathy of a few of her female profs. The first girl dropped out of school within a few weeks and seemed to sink beneath the waves. The second was able to keep her life on track and achieve some measure of success and happiness.

"There are certain dark things that simply don't fit into the heavily curated Oxy image and so are simply ignored. I am thankful that this issue is finally being looked at. It is in many ways an unsettling place."

Cornydot disagrees. "This is an unfair story because the male students have rights — it's the law, plus school policy. Unfortunately the administrators cannot comment on that story because of the male students' rights. But I know a few people who work with a college judicial department at another college. I know Occidental would have asked the woman in the story to take a rape kit (which most females refuse) and to file a police report (which most females refuse). Most likely they also offered her an opportunity to move to another dorm. But when the victim refuses to move because she feels she did nothing wrong and he should move instead, yet she doesn't file a police report, the school's hands are tied."

Fake User Name writes, "This isn't going to stop until the DA starts charging university administrators. Persuading a victim not to report a crime is a misdemeanor, and under certain circumstances may be a felony. Conspiracy to obstruct justice can be a felony. For rape, at least, there's a strong case for bringing back the old common-law offense of misprision (knowing and deliberately not reporting)."

But another reader is more upset at us than the Oxy administrators. "Shame on you, L.A. Weekly, for perpetuating the stereotypes that may have gotten Trayvon Martin shot. Not everyone who wears a 'hoodie' is a rapist. Not every rapist wears a 'hoodie.' Why didn't you show the girl on the cover in her typical skimpy shorts and the guys with letterman sweaters?" Typical skimpy shorts? Do we detect a note of misogyny?


Further praise is due the L.A. Press Club's newly named Print Journalist of the Year, Gene Maddaus, who recently won a Clarion Award in the hard-news category for his story about a con man trying to the buy the Dodgers. Mad props.

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Please send letters to L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or write us at ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact info preferred.

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