The Middlebury Campus

How We Move Forward After ‘The List’

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

As our campus entered finals period a month ago, a list, inspired by the #MeToo movement, was published on Facebook. This list cited many male students, approximately 35 of them, as being complicit in gender-based violence, describing each of their behavior in parentheses next to each name. The list looked like this: “John Doe (rapist), John Doe II (sexual harassment, emotional abuse), etc.”

The Facebook list has spurred further dialogue about sexual assault, patriarchy and sexism on campus. #MeToo, among many efforts in Hollywood and other spaces to empower women to come forth and speak out against abuse they have experienced, puts the list into context.

The time is apt, and long overdue, for society, and our community specifically, to critically assess the ways we tacitly condone sexual assault and violence against women. For too long, women have suffered abuse from men and few systemic steps have been taken to name or address it.

This paper’s fall editorial, “It Happens Everywhere,” touched upon how our community needs to do more to prevent harassment and abuse done onto women. Clearly, sexual assault happens on our campus. Regardless of how we feel individually about the actions of the person who published the list, that choice highlights the broken nature of situation on campus.

Someone in our community felt compelled to compile this list of men who are allegedly guilty of sexual violence on multiple occasions, not to mention all the unnamed men. It’s also important to note that not all of the aforementioned survivors consented to having their stories shared, a fact that demonstrates yet another troubling aspect of the situation.

One common critique of the list is that the publisher did not authenticate claims because survivors who spoke out against the listed men were not named, nor was an accompanying narrative about the incident. It is unfair to ask survivors to make themselves so publically vulnerable and risk their health and safety. They do not need to reveal themselves. They did not ask for the abuse they experienced; they are not required to publicize their pain.

No doubt it was jarring for all of us to see the names of those we know on that list. As members of this community, our indignation is colored by the anecdotes of our friends and peers who say the college’s legal system has failed them.

While we understand that the legal framework (particularly Title IX) is central to the operation and responsibilities of the administration, we are frustrated by the way in which it prioritizes careful legal-speak over empathy. Issues of sexual violence are treated like legal complexities, as ambiguous gray areas, and often eclipse the actual experiences of survivors.

Though the school has advocated its judicial processes and reporting procedures, these are not for everyone. There are other roads to healing for victims of sexual violence, including Parton’s counseling center and MiddSafe. To speak of one process as the predominant form of support fails to accommodate the nuance of these situations.

The way society reproduces notions of patriarchy and bestows young boys with sexist, problematic understandings of sex and intimacy needs to be part of the framework. These same notions of patriarchy persist at the college, so the college could help students unlearn these insidious lessons through more thorough sex and consent education for first-years. Once such work is incorporated and built upon, then perhaps Middlebury can better support those who have experience sexual violence, and prevent it in the first place.

But the college’s orientation program cannot be the only place where this issue is addressed. Students have a responsibility to end rape culture on this campus. We need to set new standards for how we uphold ourselves in our interactions.

We already have such a framework for understanding microaggressions and cultural appropriation. Many of us come to Middlebury without a sufficient understanding of these issues, but we quickly learn what actions or statements are offensive. Calling out these instances is a part of our campus culture. Indeed, we students have the collective power to establish norms and to hold each other accountable when they are broken.

Much of the dialogue surrounding the list has been raw, in part because it affected, directly or indirectly, so many people on this campus. As we decide where to go from here, our campus should move forward with nuance and intentionality. Let’s believe and listen to women, acknowledge when and how we’re complicit, and work hard to bring justice to this issue.

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18 Comments

18 Responses to “How We Move Forward After ‘The List’”

  1. concerned at midd on January 24th, 2018 9:23 pm

    The student was not “compelled to compile” the list. Don’t undermine her agency. She CHOSE to do it.

    And it was a libelous act. How convenient for the Campus editorial board that none of you were libeled in the course of her reckless action; otherwise, you wouldn’t enjoy the luxury of writing such a self-indulgent op-ed.

    The act of circulating the list should be condemned. That’s the beginning of any “conversation” about it.

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    Class of '17 Reply:

    Considering your rage toward the “libel,” you must be even more incensed by the ten-times-worse crime of sexual assault, right? Or is this selective anger?

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    concerned at midd Reply:

    Yes, in fact, I am more incensed by the crime of sexual assault. If you find any Campus editorials condoning sexual assault, send them my way, and I’ll comment with ten times more “rage.” Here I see an editorial condoning the lesser crime of libel, so I’m commenting on that. How about you? Do you condone the use of any means, even unethical ones, in service of a good cause? If so, you’re a threat to the cause itself.

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  2. jondoe on January 24th, 2018 9:58 pm

    While Sexual harassment and abuse is no joke, the List went too far. Under the guise of protecting the safety and health of “victims”, the newspaper and the list throws all the men on the list under the bus. Do any of you ever sit back and think that some of the men on the list are innocent and their lives are now derailed? No evidence and annonymity also ensures that the fake accusers do not face consequences for ruining the mens’ lives.

    Everyone thinks Title 9 is a joke but do you know that it works under preponderance of evidence and not on the court level beyond reasonable doubt as the standards to judge on these cases? Truth is that women who accused these kids were either rejected or had bad break up and ended up ruining the kids’ lives. If you all support public execution, then lets have a public investigation and let the public be the judge and bestow punishment to the fake accusers.

    We cannot restore a true victims’ life but we also cannot restore the lives of those who suffered despite not being involved in this crap.

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  3. Appalled on January 24th, 2018 10:41 pm

    I agree very much with “concerned at midd”. I find it ironic how nobody had the courage to write their own name with this editorial and probably was not named on Elizabeth Dunn’s list, yet is so willing to believe such unsubstantiated actions. It’s like posting “Elizabeth Dunn killed someone, I’m not going to tell you who they killed and how they did it, but they killed someone and I am going to share this information publicly on Facebook even though I have no evidence”. It’s really funny how so many people at Middlebury don’t take the time to think about how others will be affected by their actions.

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  4. KMFDM99 on January 25th, 2018 2:32 am

    The #MeToo movement has exposed what I’ve suspected for a long time: Far too many feminists hate men. Make no mistake about it, we are hated. How do I explain to my son that he’s held accountable for the misdeeds of other men? I’m trying to instill a sense of individuality but it’s been somewhat negated by the collective guilt “bestowed” upon him by feminists. I’m concerned my son will grow up thinking he’s a horrible human being becuase he’s a male.

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    Class of '17 Reply:

    Interesting how you interpreted a post about those who commit sexual assault as a post about men as a whole, as if you intuitively understand that men as a whole are complicit…

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    COnfused Reply:

    are you stupid? how can you tell that these guys actually assaulted the women? you are a drug dealer, you prostitute the women in your family. Just saying those things makes them true? WTf DUDE!

    I just hope some men in your family go through this despite being innocent and then you will learn the pain

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  5. Alum on January 25th, 2018 10:20 am

    I guess the Campus has decided to go full self-parody

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  6. Intellectual Dishonesty on January 25th, 2018 11:24 am

    My People!

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  7. Class of '17 on January 25th, 2018 7:08 pm

    The comments of this post are a classic example of people who speak out against sexual violence receiving the brunt of the consequences versus the actual perpetrators of the violence. If this straight male anger is any indication, these men will be just fine.

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    concerned at midd Reply:

    No. They are a classic example of people objecting to the pursuit of a good end by unethical means.

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    Appalled Reply:

    ^^^^^^^^

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  8. Adam on January 31st, 2018 6:28 pm

    Love how this piece just throws around Social Justice terminology as if they’re definitely fact, and are in no way debatable or controversial: “the patriarchy”, “rape culture”, the existence of “microaggressions” and “cultural appropriation”. Not even mentioning the fact that the anonymous editorial staff who wrote this op-ed seem to be totally okay with publicly accusing men without stating who their accusers are, what they’re being accused of specifically, or what the evidence is behind the accusations. I hope you all get sued… the student who posted the list and this paper for condoning it.

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  9. James Lucas on January 31st, 2018 9:51 pm

    What disturbs me most about this article is that it completely ignores the very concept of Due Process. It assumes that every person who’s name appear on that list is guilty. Period. Not one has to provide any evidence of wrong doing, they just did it end of story. It then makes the argument that those making the claims should not have to be identified to prevent further possible trauma to the accuser. But apparently what ever trauma or the academic, professional, and emotional state of the accused don’t matter. It’s ok of them to have the stigma of being a rapist placed upon them by an unnamed person because after all, they’re guilty. There’s no need for a trail or evidence. They’ve been accused and as we all know an accusation equals guilt.

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  10. Intellectual Dishonesty on February 2nd, 2018 9:14 am

    Witch hunts! Witch hunts! Everywhere!

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  11. Saddened Alum on February 19th, 2018 11:51 am

    What a horrifying editorial. As many of the other comments have pointed out one wonders what the editorial staff would think if their family members were anonymously accused of rape, sexual assault, racism etc. Would the existence of these general problems somehow justify the torching of individuals they love without evidence or due process? One doubts it.

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How We Move Forward After ‘The List’