University of New Hampshire Students Band Together in Protest Outside President’s House
This past Friday evening saw many students at the University of New Hampshire gather outside of President James Dean's on-campus house, protesting for their peers and their protection.
According to The New Hampshire, the student newspaper which bills itself as "the independent student news of UNH" on Twitter, over 100 students gathered on the lawn at President Dean's house to protest their concerns over recent sexual assault allegations.
As The New Hampshire reported, one UNH student has been accused of multiple acts of sexual assault against different women, leading to a Change.org petition calling for the student's expulsion that so far has garnered over 4,000 signatures. Following presence from UNH Police and the Durham Fire Department at Stoke Hall on Friday, an email was sent to residents of Stoke Hall, according to The New Hampshire.
“The university, and University Police, thoroughly investigate all allegations of criminal activity, including vandalism, sexual assault and any other alleged violation of university policies or law. The university is aware of a recent sexual assault claim and several serious vandalism incidents in Stoke Hall. We take every allegation seriously, investigate all those matters, and take action as needed to ensure the safety of all. We cannot always provide the level of information you may want about active investigations and actions that have been taken, but please note that any students found responsible will be held accountable with sanctions ranging from probation and restitution to suspension.”
The New Hampshire reported that the protest moved from President Dean's house to Stoke Hall, where Dean of Students Michael Blackman was at the time with other administrators, and addressed the student protesters.
“I know it’s hard, because people are looking for specific answers and updates, and want to know what’s going on, and unfortunately, because we need to respect the privacy of the people involved in this situation, including any potential victim of sexual violence, we don’t give details to people about what’s going on. And I know that’s really hard. I know you all want answers. I know you all want to know what the school is doing. And I know that it’s hard to have an administrator up here that you don’t know that we can’t tell you specifics. There’s a very specific set of criteria when we’re legally allowed to get those timely warnings out to people. So going into why a timely warning may or may not have gone out in that situation would require going into details about this particular case.”
Dean Blackman and other administrators stuck around after to answer students' questions and speak to them privately as well. According to The New Hampshire, although UNH administration has been made aware of the allegations, Durham Police Deputy Chief David Holmstock said that "the Durham Police Department is unaware of any allegations" and that nothing has been brought to their attention.