Morehouse joins Spelman in investigating rape allegation

Morehouse College is joining Spelman College is investigating an allegation which surfaced on social media Tuesday that a student at the Atlanta women’s college was raped by four male students from Morehouse College.

Morehouse president John Wilson issued a statement to the campus community late Wednesday night saying he was “deeply troubled” by the allegation.

Wilson’s statement comes a day after Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that her campus was conducting a full review of the allegations.

In a series of social media posts, a self-identified Spelman student recounted an alleged sexual assault. She tweeted anonymously from the account @RapedatSpelman.

“At Morehouse, we take seriously all allegations of sexual assault and we are redoubling our efforts to ensure that our students and students throughout the Atlanta University Center are encouraged to report any such incidents,” read Wilson’s statement. “Both our Office of Campus Safety and the Title IX Office have been activated to fully investigate the allegations with the limited information that we have.”

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The posts - and the reactions to them - ignited on social media. The two historically-black schools - one male and the other female - enjoy a close relationship and are located side-by-side in the Atlanta University Center.

“Our hearts go out to this student and I want to personally offer her our full support and assistance,” Spelman President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Campbell also issued a statement to the Spelman community last Wednesday night, expanding on the previous media statement.

“I know that members of our Spelman community join me in expressing heartbreak and outrage over the incidents and experiences recounted on Twitter. Because the Twitter account is anonymous, I tweeted an invitation to @RapedAtSpelman to reach out to me personally so I, and the College, can provide full assistance and support,” read Campbell’s statement. “We continue to follow leads to identify the victim to offer our help and services.”

The school did not immediately say whether the alleged victim had filed a police report or other complaint. They did not specify whether they knew who the alleged victim was. The tweets did not say when the alleged assault took place.

The AJC could not independently verify the allegations or contact the individual who made the posts.

Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for Morehouse said the school had “no knowledge” of the allegation until Tuesday, and were unaware of any police report. “The information anonymously shared on Twitter was our very first indication of this incident. Now that we are aware of these allegations, we are determined to pursue the investigation to the fullest extent possible,” Wilson said in the statement.

In the posts, the student says this is her freshman year at Spelman, but will be her last because of the sexual assault. The student describes attending a party where she drank with friends and older students. She says she was drunk, but remembers going to an upstairs bathroom to throw up.

“(A)nd when I opened the door I was surrounded by 4 Morehouse students who took me to another room and took turns raping me,” the tweet said.

The student says she was went to file a report with public safety and was sent to the hospital for a rape kit. She also claims Spelman officials took a month to contact her about the case, and then a school dean and public safety officer questioned her about her attire the night of the alleged incident.

The dean allegedly said the student should “give them a pass” because Spelman and Morehouse are brother and sister. “I never felt so worthless,” the student wrote in the post.

Spelman did not address the woman’s specific allegations regarding the school’s actions.

The posts have led to an outpouring of support on Tuesday from other students at schools in the Atlanta University Center, and protests of school administration.

Tuesday’s allegations follow demands late last year from Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta students that school administrators do more to ensue students’ safety. At the time the students sent administrators at the colleges a list of 13 demands for the schools to do more to “protect, serve and work for and with all students to keep us safe.” Their demands included two or more campus convocations and forums dedicated to the issues of consent, sexual violence, sexual relationships and health relationships. They also demand the “immediate cessation of harmful, victim-blaming information” from all three campus police departments.

Wednesday’s statements from both presidents reference the work done by school officials to improve its handling of sexual assaults and allegation.

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