Response to Assault Off-Base

To the Editor:

Molly Ryan’s letter, “Don’t Leap to Judgement Quickly,” attempts to minimize the seriousness of the Barnard assault. This blatant disregard for the safety of fellow students is outrageous. I disagree with various points presented in Ryan’s letter. First, since Ryan claims that everyone else has false information, I am curious to know where she receives her “facts.” It is imperative that the student body knows from which angle of bias Ryan wrote her letter. I freely admit that I am a friend of the victim. Ryan, on the other hand, failed to inform Review readers that she is friends with the accused assailants.
Next, Ryan presents a weak argument as to why the assailants should not be expelled. According to Ryan, the accused assailants realize what they did was wrong, so they should receive a lenient punishment. At this point, I hope that the accused realize what they did was wrong. If they haven’t realized this, then how did they get into Oberlin College? In fact, based on this lack of common sense, I don’t feel that they should be allowed to graduate. This realization, however, shows one of two things: the accused have either figured out that breaking into someone’s room late at night and hitting them is wrong or they have realized that expulsion doesn’t look good on one’s academic record. Regardless of the reason, realizing that you’ve done something wrong doesn’t make the incident go away. When criminals realize they’ve done something wrong, the judge doesn’t say, “Oh, that’s great, why don’t you apologize for beating the sleeping man and then we’ll all go out for ice cream.” That would be ridiculous. When you make a mistake that hurts someone else and violates their rights, you should receive a harsh punishment.
Also, the time it takes to walk from Zeke to Barnard and then to enter a student’s room allows plenty of opportunity for a realization that you are “making a mistake.” Once the action was performed, all the realization on this campus couldn’t bail the accused assailants out of trouble. This argument also assumes that the accused have no history of past incidents with the College. This assumption was incorrect, as at least one assailant was a defendant in the Zeke vandalism trial last week. Yes, leniency is a wonderful thing to call for when someone has two disciplinary hearings within the span of about a week.
If someone entered Ryan’s room in the middle of the night and assaulted her, I don’t think she would call for leniency for her assailants. I also don’t think she would feel comfortable if these hypothetical assailants were allowed to remain on campus after the assault.
Finally, I do not recall that Ryan jumped up in defense of a certain DeLucas Lucas during his assault trial. Would she have vehemently argued that Lucas shouldn’t have been punished to the fullest extent of the law had he told her that he realized what he did was wrong? Should these students be punished less harshly for assault than a community member who also assaulted students? I think not. Whether using mixer handles or fists, an assault is an assault and the perpetrators should be punished accordingly. Expulsion is the punishment that fits this heinous crime. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wish to graduate with criminals who assaulted another student. In conclusion, Molly Ryan’s letter calls for leniency in response to a violent act of disturbing stupidity.

–Keith Friedlander
College senior


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