Monday, December 04, 2017

Pound MeToo In The HBCU's

NYTimes | The fliers appeared suddenly on a crisp morning in early November. They were scattered among golden leaves on the grounds of Spelman and Morehouse, the side-by-side women’s and men’s colleges that are two of the country’s most celebrated historically black schools.

“Morehouse Protects Rapists,” some of them read. “Spelman Protects Rapists.”

Some of the documents accused prominent athletes and fraternity members by name. Though workers quickly made the fliers disappear, students were already passing photos from cellphone to cellphone. Before long, the names were on Twitter.

And the next morning, students at Morehouse woke up to another unnerving sight: graffiti marring the chapel, a spiritual gathering place dedicated to a revered alumnus, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scrawled in red spray paint, the message read: “Practice What You Preach Morehouse + End Rape Culture.”

In a letter to the campus on Oct. 29, the provost, Michael Quick, announced he was convening a series of forums and task forces. “There is no place on our campuses, or in our society, for abuse of power,” it said.

And in Atlanta, the issue is gripping two campuses, and exposed a deep fissure between schools closely linked by history and geography.

Neither Spelman nor Morehouse would disclose how many complaints it has received, and in interviews, Spelman students and professors said they did not believe sexual assault was any more common there than elsewhere.

But most said they believed the colleges had not been taking the issue seriously enough. Now their pent-up frustration has burst into the open during a national moment of reckoning.

“I don’t believe our students would be doing what they’re doing if things like this hadn’t been happening nationally,” said Beverly Guy-Sheftall, a women’s studies professor who was one of more than 70 Spelman professors who signed an open letter supporting students who said they had been assaulted.

In a three-minute speech on Nov. 9, the day the graffiti was found on the King chapel, Harold Martin Jr., the interim president of Morehouse, said there was “clearly a belief that there is a population that does not feel heard.”