Brown University is at the heart of a controversy today after it was discovered the school punished a rapist with just a one year suspension.
Student Lena Sclove spoke to a gathering of supporters at Brown on Tuesday and told the crowd that the fellow student who raped her would be allowed back on campus in the fall. Whether the assailant, Daniel Kopin, did in fact rape Sclove is not being debated – the university already found him guilty of four counts of student misconduct. That’s why Sclove and her supporters are left wondering how such a light punishment serves justice to so damaging a crime.
"I was just so angry, and the first thought I had was I can't finish my degree here," Sclove told The Huffington Post. "They're letting him come right back, so either I need to take two years off until he graduates or I need to transfer somewhere else. … I did not do anything wrong, and yet I'm the one who's going to take time off or transfer."
Kopin was originally punished with a two year suspension by the school board. But J. Allen Ward, the school’s senior associate dean of student life, reduced his suspension to one year. Sclove unsuccessfully appealed the reduction.
To make the situation worse, Sclove was forced to miss an entire semester of school due to injuries she suffered during the sexual assault. Her neck was injured and she has since been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
“I couldn't walk without help," Sclove said. "I wasn't paralyzed, I could move, but had very limited mobility… I lost my one semester of freedom, and my next opportunity to come back as a student to matriculate here at Brown is the same semester that the rapist is allowed to come back and matriculate here at Brown.”
A Brown spokesperson declined to comment extensively on the case.
"These are often very complicated situations," spokesperson Marisa A. Quinn said. "The University takes a number of steps, including sexual assault orientation sessions for incoming students, to ensure that every student is aware of applicable policies."