Message sent out from Dean of Students leaves some individuals triggered

Fourth-degree sexual assault reported on campus

Sami Geiger

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May 5, 2021
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#MeTooMovement, awareness for sexual assault and violence

Sensitive information is discussed in this OP/ED such as sexual assault. 

LaRue Pierce, Dean of Students, sent out an email on Wednesday, Feb. 17 regarding a fourth-degree sexual assault which happened to a fellow Blugold.

It entailed details about the assault, details about the suspected driver and a lot of inappropriate and triggering language.

Words such as “grope” and “groping” were used frequently throughout the email. Another thing to note is that not all of UW-Eau Claire students received the email from the Dean of Students.

It was insensitive of the administration to reveal private details about the assault.

The “UWEC Memes for Trend-Setting Teens” Facebook page, a page where students post memes about things going on around campus, blew up after the email was sent out.

Student’s commented saying they “gasped” at how graphic the email was.

Not only did they reveal private details, they also had a tone of victim blaming  — which the majority of the students vocal on the meme page did not appreciate.

Victim blaming is beyond disgusting and appalling. It is never the victim’s fault.

The university painted this individual in a naïve manner that most students found “ridiculous.”

Many students made comments about how they “hadn’t received any email regarding the triggering situation.” Other’s emailed the Dean of Students demanding they should apologize for their insensitive email.

For those who did receive the email, some felt angry about the lack of a trigger warning in the email. Some students said they “flinched reading the subject line” and others said they had someone else read the email for them.

An email was sent back to those students, Felicia Duda, Shea Haile, Allie Karpenske and Evan Scott Rognholt among others said. Who had voiced their concerns about the email and got a response that pretty much said “sorry” and “things will change next time.” We’ve all heard that from them before.

Pierce could have gone a different way with delivering an email like that. I, myself, am a sexual assault survivor and the email was very insensitive. It triggered memories and feelings I have been trying very hard to put away.

I couldn’t even finish the email without tears.

Many fellow Blugolds posted on the meme page offering support to those who needed it, who felt violated by the email.

Many students made comments on the meme page saying they love the “support Blugolds have for each other” when new issues arise on campus.

The UW-Eau Claire administration did not protect their students in this situation, but instead made Blugolds feel violated by their choice of words. I was appalled by the email and felt saddened by the lack of sensitivity that the administration has for their students.

The love Blugolds have for each other is unexplainable. I am proud of our fellow Blugold for reporting her assault. It was a brave and scary thing for her to do.

 For extra support, please reach out.

You can also call the national sexual assault hotline 1(800) 656-4673. 

Geiger can be reached at [email protected]