What prompted the Arizona State University administration to goad it’s Police Department to start a public relations campaign aimed at making it appear it cares about Sexual Assault Crimes? Maybe the fact it’s been under investigation by the federal government for doing such a lousy job on the issue since 2012?
Think about this for a moment, how many universities have sizable groups organized against them because of how poorly they have handled sexual assaults for years and years? The Arizona State University has Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault, but we can’t seem to find another university where another group exists. That’s a big fat clue about how bad the problem is at the Arizona State University!
Here are some questions you should be asking yourself if you or a family member is planning on attending the Arizona State University. How would you feel if your child is sexually assaulted and…
As evidenced by the following transcript, Dr. Crow is not familiar with Title IX, nor does he know what specific options/”pathways” students have if they are sexually harassed or raped at ASU.
On December 2, Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault attended the “Changing the Face of Higher Education” town hall conversation with Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow. SDASA founder/survivor Jasmine Lester asked Dr. Crow about ASU’s violations of Title IX and the administration’s enabling of professors who sexually harass and assault students on Study Abroad trips.
Under Title IX, “schools are required to adopt and publish a grievance procedure outlining the complaint, investigation, and disciplinary process for addressing sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence occurring within educational programs. This process should address discrimination perpetrated by students, employees, or third parties” (Know Your IX).
As evidenced by the following transcript, Dr. Crow is not familiar with Title IX, nor does he know what specific options/”pathways” students have if they are sexually harassed or raped at ASU. All he knows is that when a victim comes forward, there’s another side of the story; questioning a rape victim’s credibility is rape culture.
Jasmine Lester: Why didn’t you answer my question about Title IX?
Michael Crow: Because I didn’t read the question. There were about 35 questions. So, what’s the question?
JL: ASU has a history of violating Title IX, right? You know about that?
MC: Well, I mean, that’s your opinion.
JL: My opinion? It’s documented. You guys have had lawsuits filed against you, you’ve had lots of complaints about how you violated [Title IX], I have lived experience of my rights being violated by the administration at ASU, so I’m wondering what you’re doing, or if you even care about students.
MC: Well, I wouldn’t ask questions where you make presumptive statements like that.
JL: I’m asking you a question, not for your analysis of my question.
MC: I can answer however I want.
JL: So, you don’t care?
MC: I can answer you however I wish.
JL: I know you can, but I’m wondering if you will answer a question and talk, straight-forward, about students who are suffering under your administration.
MC: Yeah, so students who are suffering have various pathways to remedy.
JL: What is one such pathway?
MC: There are multiple pathways. You can make a charge against another person.
JL: What happens when the university investigates that [charge] and the university is biased?
MC: Then you can ask for another judgement.
JL: Are you telling me to file a lawsuit?
MC: No, no. But you have other remedy pathways, and so the remedy pathways that you have access to are multiple.
MC: And they are, uh, at various levels of engagement.
JL: Okay, and can we talk about a system that creates bad experiences for students, and faculty who tend to blame victims more than support them? Is there anything that you, your university, your people, are doing to combat that? It’s a problem across all universities, not just ASU–
MC: Every faculty member that has been involved–
JL: –so I’m just wondering. There is a problem. You can say that’s just my opinion, but there is a problem. I have a lived experience and you’re telling me that that’s my opinion. It’s not. And you, as the president of the university, have a responsibility to me as an alum, as a staff, as a human being, to protect my rights and not to violate them.
MC: Yeah, and you have multiple ways to protect your rights.
JL: But you’re not saying what those are. And you’re not saying what you, as someone in power, is doing to help people like me and people who are too afraid to speak out.
MC: Well, I mean, you have a point relative to people who won’t speak out.
MC: And so, uh, it’s important that people do speak out and avail themselves of the rights that they have.
JL: But what does that mean, though? I filed a complaint, ASU treated me like shit. I continue to speak out, you keep treating me like shit. So what else can I do other than attack the university that raised me? I’m trying to find a way–I would rather work with you guys than against you, you know? I should not, as an alum, have to work against my university not to attack me and not to attack students like me.
MC: I don’t know of anyone that’s attacking you.
JL: You don’t? I could send you a lot of emails. We could have a meeting. You know my dad [former administrator]…
MC: What I do know, is that where we know that there has been misbehavior by a faculty member, those faculty members have been sanctioned or dismissed.
JL: What about the ones who are leading Study Abroad trips this summer? I know there are those leading Study Abroad trips this coming summer.
MC: Then you should make charges against those people.
JL: But I’ve been told by your Title IX Coordinator that I’m not allowed.
MC: You’re allowed to do anything you want.
JL: Can you tell your Title IX Coordinator to actually know what Title IX is? Instead of running me and other students through crap?
MC: I’m not really big on sarcasm, so…
JL: This isn’t sarcasm, this is serious.
MC: So you can detail each of the points.
MC: And you can identify each of those points, and there’s multiple levels of engagement, if you don’t find satisfaction with Officer A or Officer B, then make sure that ultimately…you have to seek remedy.
JL: Yeah, and I’ve been doing that for the past four years and it’s been terrible because the university wont work with me, it only attacks me and protects its faculty.
MC: Well, I actually know the list of faculty that don’t work at ASU any longer for whatever misbehavior.
JL: Ok. Do you want a list of the ones that do work here still? Because I’ll give you that list.
MC: Yes, and then you have to be able to stand behind that list.
JL: I will stand behind that list, like I have been standing behind [it] and you’ve been ignoring it. The only way that I’ve been able to talk to you is to confront you like this.
MC: You’re talking about me, personally? I’ve been ignoring you?
JL: I’ve emailed you before because we have been at another forum [Feb 2012 – click for transcript] addressing these issues with you, where you said you wanted people like me to email you. I did and I never got a response. I was just sent back to the same faculty member, the Title IX Coordinator, who had [also] been harassing me. So, whatever you’re trying to do, it’s not working, and I want to know what you’re trying to do to make it work.
MC: So, I don’t know that this is the forum to talk about your specific case and I don’t know that much about your particular case, but the point here is that if you have beliefs that there are multiple individuals involved in inappropriate behavior, well it’s, that’s the way that it works…
JL: Then what?
[Crow is asked to pose for photos]
JL: Would you like to have a meeting about this? Because I would love to meet with you…
MC: You’re meeting with me right now.
JL: I mean like an official meeting.
MC: This is an official meeting. I don’t have any unofficial identities.
JL: So, are you saying that the next time I want to talk to you I have to come to an event like this?
MC: No, I’m not saying that at all. We’re having a discussion right now.
JL: But it’s being cut short because people are trying to pull you away for pictures.
MC: Yes, but I mean, the point is that you have to pursue things until you get a final adjudication. There are processes, there are procedures, whatever they are.
JL: So, letting you know, the head of a huge university, that there are problems, is not one of those pathways?
MC: By letting me know that there are problems, is a pathway, which means I can go back and ask people what’s going on.
JL: I hope that you do.
MC: I will. But the point you have to understand is that in all of these things, whatever they are, there might be people that don’t agree with your views, and I don’t mean me.
JL: Well, of course there are people who disagree with my views.
MC: No, I mean there might be people that don’t agree with your statements of fact. Because there are their rights to have a statement of fact, also. And so that’s the process, which is very complicated.
JL: I know how complicated.
MC: The adjudication process. It’s a very complicated process, and so when you get into these situations, then you say one thing–not you, personally, but one person says one thing, another person says another thing, another person says another thing, another person says another thing–which of those people is accurate?
JL: And that’s what I brought up earlier with the victim-blaming. I’m aware of the process, I’m also aware of biases in the process and flaws within the system, that don’t really allow this to be an objective process. If you have a student accusing a professor who’s well-renowned, there’s going to be one viewpoint that’s going to be sort of valued more by the university–
JL: But there has been. And I am witness, testimony, that there has been.
MC: Just because you say it [happened] doesn’t make it so.
JL: Just because I say I had an experience, doesn’t make it so?
MC: What I’m saying is that just because you say it–
[Sadly, our recording got cut short because iPhones.]
Transcript of SDASA’s similar conversation with ASU HR Kevin Salcido coming soon.
Clearly there is much work to be done at ASU. Email SunDevilsASA@gmail.com to get involved in our Title IX complaint.