No Place for Date Rape Drugs

On Feb. 8, students received an email from Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth, informing students that drug-laced drinks were allegedly served at three on-campus parties over the last two weeks. We are disappointed by Campus Safety's response to these reports, which places more emphasis on how partygoers should protect themselves from these kinds of attacks as opposed to admonishing the alleged perpetrators for this extreme violence. In a campus party climate that too often fosters violent manifestations of rape culture, this response is deeply misguided.

At this time, we would like to commend the tireless student organizing and activism that attempts to dismantle rape culture on these campuses. Unfortunately, these incidents illustrate how far we need to go. These allegations should not be reduced or watered down by Campus Safety, who are the first people we go to for protection. Addressing these incidents should be preventative, not interventional. Directing student revelers doesn't do anything in preventing dangerous party culture, or in stopping these transgressions from happening again. Date rape drugs have no place here, period. It is brutal, it is illegal, and straight up, you are a bad person if you actively impair another person's will in exchange for your own personal gain. No exceptions. 

Obviously, it is always important to be mindful of where your drink is coming from, as Skipworth outlined in his email, but it is equally important that the colleges recognize the deeper issues at play when it comes to dangerous behavior at campus parties. Rather than stating that these actions “will not be tolerated,” Skipworth should have outlined why this violence will not be tolerated. Without action, words are words. Do not give violence at parties the wrong kind of exposure, the kind that desensitizes us by placing responsibility on the victim and not on the perpetrator. Campus Safety's response doesn't make us feel safer at parties: It bends to the rape culture we already know exists, and that is absolutely terrifying.

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