The Middlebury Campus

Student Who Posted ‘The List’ Faces Discipline

By CATHERINE POLLACK and ELAINE VELIE

The student who posted a “List of Men to Avoid” on Facebook last month, Elizabeth Dunn ’18, is now facing disciplinary action after the list prompted a judicial investigation into potential violations of college policy.

According to Dunn, administrators said it was “highly likely” that Dunn would face official college discipline, which entails a letter in a student’s permanent file and is seen as one step before suspension.

The list included the names of 33 current and former male students who were labeled with sexual misconduct charges ranging from “emotionally manipulative” to “serial rapist.” Dunn said the list was compiled from “a group of 30 to 40 survivors,” and that none of them had given Dunn consent to reveal their names to the school.

Dunn said the charges stem in part from not sharing the names of those survivors with the judicial office. The college’s Respect for the Authority of Middlebury Officials policy says that students are expected to “cooperate fully” in the disciplinary process and “any student, whether a party or a witness, who refuses to cooperate” in the disciplinary process may be “subject to discipline.”

The college’s spokesman, Bill Burger, responded on behalf of several administrators who were asked to comment on the college’s action since Dunn posted the list on Facebook.

“Students are required to cooperate with conduct investigations once they have been identified, by themselves or others, as having relevant information,” he said.

Although Burger would not comment on whether the judicial office requested a list of names from Dunn, when asked why the office would want to know the names of the students who provided names for the list, he said: “Middlebury is committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and other sexual misconduct and to reducing sexual violence in our community.”

The Respect for Persons charge was addressed in an email sent to the community on Dec. 15. The email addressed students placed on the list, encouraging them to reach out to judicial deans if they felt they were falsely accused. The email mentioned that the college had received many questions in regard to violations of the Respect for Persons policy.

The policy states that “Middlebury expects all students, as members of the College community, to respect the dignity, freedom, and rights of others.” This policy prohibits defamation and “violation of another’s privacy.”

When asked questions about the nature of the college’s investigation, Burger said, “It would be inappropriate to discuss a specific conduct investigation. It is important that all aspects of our investigations are conducted thoroughly, fairly and confidentially.”

When asked what jurisdiction the college has over allegations made online, Burger said, “Middlebury’s written policies are very clear that our community standards apply broadly and not only to actions that physically occur on our campuses.”

While the college has begun to take action in this case, Dunn said, “There isn’t a precedent for a situation like this, so there are a lot of directions Middlebury could go in with the judicial process. Maybe that looks like me being suspended or expelled; maybe that looks like community conversations facilitated by the college; maybe that looks like restorative justice.”

Speaking to the college’s current judicial system, Dunn said, “The question I have is whether the current approach Middlebury uses fulfills the needs of students in the safest, healthiest and most respectful way possible. I think the list itself is an indicator that a large number of people are disillusioned with the processes Middlebury currently has in place to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct.”

Burger said: “We know that challenges exist on our campus and at all colleges and universities and we will continue to work with students, faculty, staff and outside organizations to do more and to continually improve our efforts to make Middlebury safer for all members of our community.”

Dunn said the list should not be viewed as an isolated incident but in the context of current events.

“We exist in a political and social moment in which survivors are pushing back against a culture of silence, violence, and invalidation. The list could and should be contextualized as part of broader movements against sexual violence, such as the shitty men in media list, the Me Too hashtag, and other forms of activism.”

8 Comments

8 Responses to “Student Who Posted ‘The List’ Faces Discipline”

  1. Afraid of Reprisals on January 27th, 2018 2:19 pm

    It seems that Middlebury students are afraid to comment on this issue.

    As an outsider watching Middlebury over the last few years it seems that
    the college is more concerned with it’s reputation than the actual safety and
    comfort of it’s students.

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  2. Jim Doe on January 27th, 2018 11:17 pm

    This is so wrong. Do you know how hard it is to convict someone of sexual assault, even at Midd? Of COURSE folks dont want to press charges. Shame on Midd for making it harder to hold perpetrators accountable. Shame on Laurie Patton and all those convicting on the judicial board. One day you will be embarrassed.

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  3. Arya Kiddingme on January 29th, 2018 4:27 pm

    I don’t see why it is wrong to skip trials and hearings and just start labeling people rapists. I mean there is a movement going on, with like people activating as activists, so why can’t we just like grab pitchforks and chase these men into a ditch and set them on fire? I mean women are assaulted. Every Day. So why should we ever punish any woman for doing anything? I mean even if some innocent men are being hurt, there is a chance that what she did might have made a rapist feel uncomfortable, and isn’t that worth the risk? #Metoo.

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    Sandy Reply:

    Love it; I just hope that everyone recognizes it for the satire it is. I fear they will not.

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  4. Thninkin Lincoln on January 31st, 2018 9:11 pm

    What if she had named it “List of Black Men to Avoid” and named black men she heard were dangerous. Would that have been okay?

    Accusing someone of a crime with no evidence can be defamation and in this case is almost certainly a Title IX offense. A suspension for a couple of semesters should suffice to protect the school it’s up to her victims if they want to seek civil penalties.

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  5. Jason Matthews on January 31st, 2018 11:01 pm

    No way this list has even one innocent name on it. If a guy fails to not open the door for his date, put him on the list. If a guy calls her babe or sweetheart, put him on the list. If he mentions being the breadwinner while she stays at home with the kids, put him on the list. If he refuses to date a trans, PUT HIM ON THE LIST!

    Seriously, why has this girl not been expelled?

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  6. Arno on February 2nd, 2018 2:37 pm

    Either the article or Dunn’s statement (or both) is troublingly vague. What are the charges agaisnt Dunn (i.e., what are the charges that do not stem from sharing names)? Repeating allegations? Falsifying allegations?

    And proceeding against Dunn for not sharing the names of the asserted survivors strikes me as the most problematic aspect of this. Of course the school should encourage any such individual to come forward, but beyond that, what is the point in pursuing those who have affirmatively chosen not to speak further? Not that Dunn is a saint here, of course, as the school may have a legitimate interest in confirming whether there are any such survivors (and that the entire list is not a fiction). But that seems somewhat remote and the affirmative investigation in that regard seems like a make-weight effort at pilling up charges against Dunn.

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  7. Max Headrahm on February 26th, 2018 12:15 pm

    Some should sue Ms. Dunn.

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