• Published in Missions

#ShineALight: Stopping College Campus Abuse Coverups

Before I begin, I need to emphasize how important my anonymity is. What I’m going to tell you involves the most powerful college dean in the country. A dean that people are intimidated by. Let’s call her BLACKLIST. But Blacklist is not the only one in her position who has done what I am going to delve into. There are universities across the country that are covering up and tampering with sexual assault and rape cases. Blacklist, and other universities, have been silencing people from getting this story out there. It is why I need to remain anonymous: For my protection, and the protection of those I care about.

Call me KNIGHT.

I’m a co-founder of an anonymous community service organization in Savannah, GA called THE ASTRALS. For the past few years, our goal has been giving victims a voice and helping them feel comfortable reporting their cases to local law enforcement. Some of the cases that have been sent our way by people involve sexual assaults, rapes, thefts, information on neo-nazis, cults, you name it. In a very short period of time, we’ve expanded to other communities across the country and even received attention from people around the world. I’m still surprised a teenager in Argentina did a class presentation on us.

Very early on in our first year, we got word from an inside source that a university’s dean - BLACKLIST - was covering up rapes and sexual assaults committed on the university’s campus. At the time of hearing this intel, I was shocked but guarded. I felt that today’s day and age with #MeToo, there was no way a case of this scale wouldn’t have slipped through the cracks. Luckily, I had a contact I could talk to.

I had a meeting with the Chief of Police of Savannah regarding this case. I discussed the information and some stories circulating. One story being that of a student who was raped by a homeless man who broke into her dorm, and this student was then blacklisted by Blacklist from all resources the university had in the student’s field of choice. This student was a senior.

To my amazement, the Chief was suspicious of this activity for a long time. He explained what we needed to get in order for the SCPD to open an official investigation into the matter. Myself and the other three founders (REFLEX, APEX, STRIX) went at it based on the advice given.

We heard rumors of a case that had occurred in a dormitory the previous year. The story goes that a homeless individual broke into a student’s dorm and raped her. As she went up the chain to share her story, she eventually reached Blacklist. This student was a senior, and to silence her - Blacklist blacklisted this student from the resources and connections the university had in the industry of her choice. This, of course, is how the nickname Blacklist was created.

We looked into the situation every way we could. We utilized any leads we could gather, and though many went cold, we kept looking. By the end of the year, we got in contact with a security officer from the university. This security officer claims to have responded to that specific case and knows the student. He was willing to create a video testimony, which we then sent to a new point-of-contact (the Chief had stepped down). A few months later, we were told the video testimony was enough for an official investigation to be opened.

Once we were told the investigation was opened, we let the law do its thing. However, a couple of years later, we continued to get similar allegations but from students across the country. After doing some digging, we found that USA Today reported in 2015 that 89% of colleges reported 0 cases of sexual assaults or rapes. Obviously, we found this incredibly suspicious. We also found a story regarding a man named BOBBY ZAREM, who was fired after coming forward about 4 rape cases being covered up by a local university. We spoke to Mr. Zarem directly about what happened. Since we had not heard any updates from the point-of-contact we sent the video testimony to, we decided to try to help by bringing attention to this issue.

Upon figuring out a plan, there was news circulating of a person named PINK who was exposing the original university for wrongdoings regarding tuition during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pink was very public about his outcries and garnered backing from the student body of this university. I had personally been in contact with Pink for a while discussing if he had any leads regarding the possibility of more cover-ups. He was focusing on the wrongdoings he had uncovered, but assured that he would work with us on our case when the time came.

Eventually, Pink was suspended from the university, and his visa was removed. This was still during the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused an outcry from the student body, but it also became an aid to back up the already 15-30 allegations of colleges covering up any wrongdoing. Not just sexual assaults and rapes. However, we needed to adapt a plan we had put in place due to the state of the world.

We wrote a bill with a friend of ours in the city council. THE COLLEGE PROTECTION BILL is aimed at ensuring that an allegation from a student will be enough for local law to look into any specific matter, and get the backing necessary to hold those responsible accountable. Due to the state of the world, our adapted plan of bringing awareness has not been successful. However, we have tweeted a brief summary of the issue, and what people can do to prevent it from happening again.

Universities are under-reporting these cases. And, in one case in particular, blacklisting students to keep them silent. There is a rabbit hole to go down regarding this story, and I’ve provided links that will lead you down it. We’re hoping that writing this press release will help spread the word of this issue. We’re hoping this will give people the platform they need to come forward. Most of all: We’re hoping this will help bring an end to this issue once and for all.

- The Astrals

Links:

Main links: https://linktr.ee/shinealight (please sign and share the petitions)

Twitter Post: https://twitter.com/AstralsThe/status/1261811952583684103?s=20

Security Officer Video Testimony: https://streamable.com/ta1l9z

Nation-Wide Universities Under-Reporting Articles: https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/sexual-assault-on-campus/

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/27/universities-actively-covering-up-sexual-assault-and-harassment-report-says

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/06/05/why-do-campus-abuse-cases-keep-falling-through-cracks

https://www.insider.com/texas-state-university-underreporting-rape-cases-is-a-national-problem-2019-10

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/college/2017/05/11/study-89-of-colleges-reported-zero-campus-rapes-in-2015/37431949/

"SCAD: Selling A Dream" Article: https://www.ajc.com/news/special-reports/how-scad-sells-dream/VVfRSVilHliyrTe9LAd5hN/

"Stress, Suicide, and the Savannah College of Art and Design" https://medium.com/@stephaniefranklinmarr/stress-suicide-and-the-savannah-college-of-art-anddesign-2e02197ddd65

Bobby Zarem Article: https://pagesix.com/2014/11/14/bobby-zarem-suing-savannah-film-festival-after-firing/

A Choice SCAD Website: https://achoicetheproject.wixsite.com/website-2/take-action

Pink’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mr.pinkypromise/?hl=en 

 


“The Astrals” is simply a stylized name given to an international group of people that serves to assist in community policing and public safety. They primarily serve as a third-party crime reporting service, similar to Crime Stoppers. You can learn more about them at their website: https://astrals.rlsh.net 

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The.Amazing's Statement on #BlackLivesMatter

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Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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