Today, only after publication of an account of a second Title IX complaint against UW-Whitewater from a second sexual assault survivor, Chancellor Kopper finally chose to issue a statement in her own words (assuming that she wrote it). I have published that statement in full, at the bottom of this post. (For the story on this second complaint, see, Sex assault survivor claims discrimination by university @ Channel 3000, WISC-TV.)
There is no reasonable person who contends that being “committed” is a statement. It’s an action.
And yet, and yet, even the statement finally issued under Chancellor Kopper’s own name reveals the indifference of her prior efforts – she now feels it necessary to begin her second paragraph with the tired phrase, “let me be clear…”
If Kopper had been clear, even in prior words alone, she would not need to remind readers of her self-professed clarity of views.
To those in the university’s Media Relations group – either your chancellor cannot issue a statement without revealing her past indifference, or you cannot draft one for her.
There should be – and so there will be – no end of effort until the institutional misconduct that has failed two women (and perhaps more men and women) ends.
One sees, also, that Kopper falsely professes to avoid speaking about this pending complaint, but simultaneously declares that “[a]ll complaints are reviewed with respect and compassion for all involved.”
No, and no again: that’s the very question at issue here. By asserting that all complaints have been reviewed with “respect and compassion” Kopper most certainly does address the allegations in this pending investigation, by categorically denying their possibility of being true.
A future assault survivor will read Kopper’s words and recognize that past survivors’ claims have been categorically denied. This is an assurance of a chilling effect against future reporting.
Why can she not see this? Honest to goodness, is there no one in her office who can think matters through?
Thus she hides behind a pending investigation selectively, contending that she cannot speak only when it suits her.
In any event, a statement will not suffice. A change of institutional conduct – and removal of those culpable of misconduct – is needed here.
Chancellor Kopper’s statement immediately follows —
Message regarding recent Title IX complaint
Dear Campus Community,
You may be aware through media reports that a second complaint has been filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleging that UW-Whitewater may have violated Title IX. Because of the ongoing investigation, I am not in a position to discuss specifics. Our campus will cooperate fully with the Office for Civil Rights as it investigates.
Let me be clear, UW-Whitewater has been and remains committed to raising awareness about the impact of sexual violence and taking steps toward preventing any occurrence of sexual violence on our campus. All complaints are reviewed with respect and compassion for all involved.
I know that all across campus there are faculty, staff and students who are engaged in efforts to help promote a campus climate that is free from violence and discrimination, and I applaud those efforts. As a community, we pride ourselves on being a safe and welcoming place for all.
Please understand that if you have been the victim of a sexual assault, you are not alone. There are people within the UW-Whitewater community here to support you. Retaliation for reporting is strictly prohibited. We encourage you to report sexual assault to UW-Whitewater Police at 262-472-4660 or the Dean of Students office at 262-472-1533.
The campus website offers many resources to help keep you safe: http://www.uww.edu/sexual-misconduct-information/keeping-safe