Volume 90, Issue 87

Tuesday, March 11, 1997



EDITORIAL: Shame, shame

It's truly a shame when one student plays on the emotions of an entire campus for her own personal gains.

It's doubly shameful when that student's actions strike a nerve which is deeply-rooted in all Western students.

Campus safety is not an issue to be taken lightly and one Western student's decision to abuse the trust and sympathies of an entire university to get out of an exam or to alleviate troubles with her boyfriend should be condemned university-wide.

The boy who cried wolf only ended up hurting himself. The girl who cried assault damaged the entire Western community.

Firstly, campus safety is a concern for a great number of students on this campus, but – most notably – women. By fabricating an incident of assault, this student has caused a great deal of undue stress for a number of people who already look over their shoulders when they walk home at night.

You can be sure that every person who knows about this alleged incident won't be reading this paper today, so they will be left with a heightened sense of concern and will be even more uncomfortable walking this campus alone.

Secondly, this action is an insult to the woman who was legitimately assaulted a short while ago on University College Hill and all the other individuals who may have been harassed in some way during their day-to-day life on campus. By creating a horrific story of this nature for such a shabby excuse shows a great deal of disrespect for the one individual we know about – and the many others who keep their assaults silent.

Thirdly, this woman has harmed any future individuals on campus who may be a victim of assault. By creating this story, the woman has created an environment of skepticism. Individuals may not feel comfortable reporting any future assaults simply because they may wonder whether they will be believed.

Allegations of assault have to be taken at face-value. They have to be dealt with as if they actually did occur. That is the assumption that every member of this campus must be under should they be presented with an allegation of this sort. And undoubtedly Foot Patrol and the University Police Department will continue to act in this fashion.

However, this student performed a reprehensible act by abusing the trust and sympathy of a campus already sensitive to violence. She touched a nerve which has already been exposed because of previous on and off-campus incidents.

If this woman is this stressed out by an exam, perhaps the university should enforce counselling to prevent incidents of this nature from occurring again.

A warning is too light of a punishment. Appropriate action would be to demand an apology from the student to the community at large and face up to repercussions from the university.

Anything less is an insult.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997