Recently, victims of sexual assault and rape have come forward because of social media movements such as #MeToo or #WhyIDidntReport. Although it’s terrible that women and men have to go through this, what is worse is that it happens in schools. John Jay College of Criminal Justice has recently been on the news for sexual assault, rape, prostitution and drugs.
Claudia Cojocaru, an adjunct professor at John Jay, and Naomi Haber, a recent graduate of John Jay, reported that professors at this college forcefully made sexual advances at them. The professors have also been accused of distributing drugs. There are more than four professors who have been accused, but only four — Anthony Marcus, Richard S. Curtis, Barry Spunt and Leonardo Dominguez — have been mandated to go on administrative leave.
This case was not given to law enforcement until recently. The college waited several months to look into it with their personal investigator. Why would John Jay want to keep the investigation internal? The two victims have stated that through the internal investigation, it felt as if they were reliving the trauma and the college was trying to brush this case under the rug. Law enforcement only heard about this case because the women decided to share their story on Sept. 22 with The New York Post.
Many have wondered why victims decide to report rape later than sooner. When the public exhibits examples of victim-blaming — wondering how long the skirt was, how much alcohol was given and dishing out lame excuses of “boys will be boys” or “she asked for it” — it becomes harder for victims like Cojocaru and Haber to speak out.
Sweeping the case under the rug shows that the college could not care less about the victims. By putting the accused on paid leave, the college undermines its own statement: “The safety of the John Jay community is of utmost importance to us.”
If this were true, why wasn’t the case given to law enforcement from the start? John Jay may have wanted an internal investigation because, according to the Tampa Bay Times, schools deal with sexual violence cases internally because they follow the logic that students will be unable to get the education they need when either a professor or classmate commits sexual assault. To them, anything that hinders education should be dealt with as a school matter.
Additionally, the federal law of Title IX prevents sexual violence from taking place in federally funded areas, which would mean that when it takes place in schools, the institutions must address it. But should schools be handling sexual violence cases? Couldn’t schools have a hidden agenda and hold bias in favor of professors?
Paid administrative leave is not a punishment. These cases will continue to happen until colleges give out harsh punishments to professors who use their position of power in disgusting acts of sexual violence and drug distribution.
Until these harsher punishments are established, PR statements from John Jay or CUNY won’t solve anything.