Target: John H. Coatsworth, Provost of Columbia University
Goal: Demand that Columbia University provide proper legal protections and accommodations for victims of sexual assault.
A female Columbia University student is claiming that her school’s failure to protect her after she was raped in her dorm room is what made her vulnerable to a second sexual assault. Amelia Roskin-Frazee is suing her school for violation of Title IX, a federal law regarding gender discrimination and the handling of sexual assault by educational institutions. Ms. Roskin-Frazee was enrolled as a freshman at the time of the incidents and claims to have sought safer accommodations before she was raped for the second time. She alleges that nobody in the various campus services she contacted informed her about her rights, in an apparent demonstration of a sexually hostile culture fomented by the school administration.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Roskin-Frazee alleges she was sexually assaulted for the first time in her dorm room when she woke up to a man raping her. In fear and shame, she did not initially report the incident to the school or law enforcement officials. However, she did contact the university’s Sexual Violence Response Hotline and its counseling and medical services. Under Title IX, she would have received proper academic and housing accommodations, but the failing of this provision led to vulnerability and a second rape. Indeed, Ms. Roskin-Frazee claims that three months after the first traumatic incident, she was assaulted again as she was entering her room at night. In the lawsuit, she recounts being pushed into the room from behind, tied up and penetrated with sharp objects. She has received harassing notes in her dorm building’s common bulletin board since then, with messages referring to the two assaults.
Ms. Roskin-Frazee made a formal report to the school after the second rape, but she was told that Columbia would only investigate her report if she could identify the perpetrator. Her complaint piles up among other allegations of Title IX violations filed at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. A survey conducted by the Association of American Universities found that 1 out of 4 undergraduate women was sexually assaulted while studying at Columbia. The school has been in the spotlight for years for its negligence in cases of sexual aggression and the creation of a sexually hostile culture that hurts women. Sign the petition to support Ms. Roskin-Frazee: her assailant must be found, and Columbia must fully and publicly commit to Title IX.
Dear Provost Coatsworth,
Amelia Roskin-Frazee, a student at Columbia University, alleges that the institution has failed to protect her under Title IX. She recounts in a lawsuit that she was raped twice in her school dorm room, even though she sought institutional help and new accommodation after the first incident. It is unacceptable that Columbia allegedly denied investigating her case when she filed a formal report after the second sexual assault, saying it is not possible to conduct an investigation if she cannot identify the perpetrator.
Columbia University must commit to consider all cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault on the campus. I urge you to pursue an investigation on Ms. Roskin-Frazee assaults and enforce Title IX with public statements, awareness campaigns among the school community, and training of personnel.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: JSquish