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EUR student draws up petition to have her assaulter suspended

IBCoM student Cece Dao wants the university to suspend her attacker. The male student is…

Last month, Dao started a petition, which has gathered nearly 2,400 signatures. In the petition, the 21-year-old Vietnamese student called on the university to suspend her alleged assaulter. Two years ago, the man allegedly assaulted her while she was sleeping. The IBCoM programme management promised her that the two students would not be in classes together, but after Dao had returned from an exchange in South Korea at the beginning of this year, they still had to attend compulsory lectures together.

Now a temporary solution has been found. “It’s a small step, but I feel that we’ve accomplished something”, Dao says. “I had to cry after class last week, because I was so happy that I didn’t have to run into him anymore.”

Vague procedures

Nevertheless, the student hopes that it will not end here. “The procedures are so vague, and I think the university hasn’t tackled this properly. For example, initially I wasn’t told that I could file an official complaint; I only found out after the petition. I was told that I should have looked on the university website for information on what I should do. But when I came directly to the student advisor for help, I had expected to be provided with all the information I needed.”

Dao’s friend Lena Weiberlenn had experienced something similar several years ago. Last year, during her exchange in San Diego, she realised how important getting help at university can be. “During the mandatory intro-week lecture, someone explained what the procedures were step by step. So every student knew about the people to contact and the procedures from the very beginning. That made it easier for me to find help by the time I needed it. That could be improved a lot at Erasmus University. As a survivor of sexual harassment you are really unable to read regulations on a website or jump through all bureaucratic hoops without someone there to help you along the way. That is far too stressful, especially if the procedures are convoluted and insufficient.”

The two hope that the university will use the petition to take a good look at the procedures. Dao: “This university provides amazing education, but can improve a lot in the procedures concerning students’ safety. There is too little transparency about what you can do if something like this happens to you.”