Gisela Factora, a student editor at Hofstra University's The Hofstra Chronicle, wrote a blistering op-ed piece condemning her school for advising students against allowing strangers in dorm rooms.
The college's Public Safety Department reportedly issued an emailed safety alert to the student body addressing campus-related assault and suggested preventative measures against being the victim of such assault.
What did the email say?
Factora published the email in her op-ed. A portion of the email read:
It has been reported to Public Safety that a residential student was assaulted in their room by someone they had recently met. Please be careful about inviting people you don’t know well to your residence hall room. Call Public Safety immediately at 516-463-6789 if you or someone you know needs assistance and follow all guest policies as outlined in the Guide to Pride and Living Factor.
What did the student editor say?
Factora griped that the email didn't contain a "trigger warning" that might upset survivors of sexual assault and also indicated that the message's tenor seemed to victim-blame.
In the article, titled "Public not-so-Safety," Factora called the email "alarming" and said that the brevity "only contributed to the shock. "
"There’s a lot to unpack here," Factora wrote. "First of all, the subject line of the headline was 'Hofstra University Safety Alert,' which could mean anything from an inclement weather warning to an active shooter warning."
"Opening an email like this, which begins with a mention of an assault with no prior warning, could potentially be triggering to survivors of sexual assault, especially on-campus sexual assault," she added.
Factora added that she's not even sure if the victim "consented to this email being sent."
"Even if the student is anonymous, it could be an upsetting experience to have your story of sexual assault sent out to the entire school," she wrote, and called the message an "additional source of stress that this student surely does not need."
Factora continued her op-ed by musing over whether the email was even necessary.
"Not providing a warning when discussing sexual assault on campus is a massive oversight and is hugely insensitive to this survivor and all survivors on campus," Factora continued, and set her sights on the Public Safety Department.
"[W]hat is Public Safety doing to apprehend the perpetrator, if anything?" she asked. "Second of all, if a student reports an assault, the appropriate response is not to basically blame the student for inviting someone into their room, even if that’s someone they just met."
She added that "assault and rape are never the victim’s fault."
"Telling me with a patronizing 'please' not to invite strangers into my room does not make me feel safe," she qualified. "Quite the opposite, actually."
Factora concluded her op-ed and wrote, "If this email is any indicator, Hofstra has a long, long way to go before this campus can be considered a truly safe space, not just for survivors, but for all of us."