Trigger warning: sexual violence
We were disappointed to learn that Columbia University’s Dean of Undergraduate Student Life, Cristen Kromm, was quoted on March 2, 2016 in the Columbia Daily Spectator explaining why perpetrators of sexual assault should still hold leadership positions in orientation programs. In the article, Kromm excused perpetrators of sexual assault for their actions, and presented gender-based violence as a “mistake,” an opportunity for “learning, growth and change.”
Like the rest of the Columbia University administration, Kromm is apparently more concerned about the well-being and emotional “growth” of perpetrators than she is about the safety of students on this campus.
If Kromm was truly invested in creating a campus where community members treated each other with respect, she would actively support demands, such as our call for a 24-hour rape crisis center, that would improve direct services for survivors and make Columbia a safer place for all students. Instead, she is continuing to support a harmful status quo which endangers particularly the youngest and most vulnerable among us, and explicitly pardons future occurrences of sexual violence.
We demand that Dean Kromm issue a public apology as well as a statement of support for our SAAFE demands.