UMKC administration & their lapdog “student” organizations have noticed our campaign against sexual assault. Sadly, their responses has been denial, and in doing so, they have chosen to protect rapists instead of their victims and to propagate rape culture. They have even started repressing our efforts with legal threats and propaganda!
On Thursday, January 18, 2018, we handed out flyers warning students on campus about Enric Ferrer and Marc Casasnovas, two student athletes who had attempted to rape another UMKC student at a party on November 10, 2017. To the horror of most students who received our flyers (especially women), these two men are still on campus and allowed in the dorms and at events. In response to this action, the Interim Chancellor/Provost/Professor of Management/PhD in Rape Apology, Barbara A. Bichelmeyer sent out an email the next day stuffed to the brim with excuses for the rapists & the university’s inaction.
She referred to the sexual assault as “an incident” or “complaint of inappropriate behavior”, the attempted rapists as “students”, and the victim as “complainants”. She asserted that no rape happened – a technicality, because the victim managed to escape in time. She also asserted that the “false information” in our flyers doesn’t help the victim, when in fact the victim’s sister reached out to us to thank us for spreading the word, and when the quote on our flyers comes directly from the victim herself. All of this evasion serves to encourage sympathy for the rapist, to discredit the victim, and to propagate rape culture.
The Title 9 guidelines she linked in her email authorize the university to suspect, restrict from student activities and generally isolate a rapist during an investigation for the victim’s protection, yet none of these actions have been taken! It also states that the administration must respond in a timely manner (30 days), yet it has been two months now. Clearly, the administration has no interest in combating sexual assault on campus, and their call for “patience” is an excuse for this until public outcry dies down.
Even the “independent” student newspaper tails the administration’s line – Zach Linhares from U-News wrote a hack job on December 5 attacking us for putting up flyers about the rapists – unable to even provide his own images, he used ours and blurred out the names & faces of the attackers. In this pathetic excuse for journalism, the sexual assault is prefaced with “alleged”, warning people about rapists on campus is “singling out students” and “illegal and destructive”. And in the article, John Martallero, Director of Media Relations states that the administration is investigating the incident and intends to prosecute us, yet he does not express the same threat towards the rapists themselves. He also asserted that our actions do not represent the majority of UMKC students – but then why did most of the students we gave flyers to (especially women) thank us for this information?
Adding insult to injury, Zach Linhares also hit up our page with obviously loaded questions. He claims to support the victim in his Facebook posts, but his deeds contradict his words by defending the rapists and attacking our efforts to warn campus about them. What pathetic liberalism it is to say one thing and to do another!
All of this continues the administration’s pattern of denial – during the Spring 2017 semester, another student was sexually assaulted in the dorms – again, the university administration denied the severity of sexual assault, and again, after miles of red tape, no action was taken. In fact, we could not find any evidence that the UMKC administration has ever taken action against rapists on campus in the past ten years.
This denial directly contradicts the interests and safety of the student body. Almost every student we’ve talked to this has been horrified (with the exception of a few men). At least one prospective UMKC student has declined their acceptance out of fear of being sexually assaulted.
Why is the administration so insistent on defending known predators at our expense? Are the parents of these rapists rich donors? Is the administration trying to protect their own reputations or paychecks? In any case, they have got to change! We demand that the UMKC administration apply their own Title IX policy by:
- Expelling Enric Ferrer and Marc Casasnovas
- Completing investigations in a timely (30 days) manner
- Suspending accused students during investigations of sexual assault and restricting them from student events
If these demands are not met, we will continue to put pressure on the administration until material action is taken against sexual assault on campus!