Colleges

BuzzFeed talks to the 'inappropriate relationship' in Oxy-Felch case

oxy-quad.jpgSome players in the controversy over sexual assault reporting by Occidental College — and the subsequent firing of LA Times reporter Jason Felch — have been shopping their version of the details. Now it appears that the side alleging that Oxy has messed up found an outlet in BuzzFeed. The site quotes the woman who says she was "involved" with then-LA Times reporter Jason Felch — she is identified as "a faculty member critical of Occidental’s administration" who agreed to be named then changed her mind. Highlights:

[The woman] has told her story, describing acts that she said are reflective of the suspicion and tension felt by the school’s critics on campus.


For example, she said, while serving as a faculty advocate for a female student allegedly raped by a tennis player last spring, a tennis ball — bearing the letters SCIAC, for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference — was placed and replaced in her campus mailbox for weeks. Days before the school approached the Times for a correction, her workspace was broken into; while nothing was stolen, she said, pages from her journal that referenced her relationship with Felch were laid out on her desk.

Other faculty members also told BuzzFeed of break-ins and activities they found suspicious. Last summer, Caroline Heldman, chair of Occidental’s politics department, added a disclaimer to the bottom of her work email signature: “Please be aware that Occidental College administrators are tracking this email.” She told BuzzFeed her office was broken into three times last spring, in what she suspects were attempts to intimidate her into quelling her criticism of the school.

Allegations of retaliation at Occidental have been formally lodged in a confidential “Title IX” complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Title IX is a federal law that requires schools to “respond promptly and effectively” to sexual violence and harassment, prevent recurrence, and address its effects.

In that document, obtained by BuzzFeed, current and former Occidental students, faculty, and staff allege that they were verbally reprimanded or even lost jobs at the college after speaking up about the school’s sexual misconduct policies or supporting those who did.

The story has a lot more detail and denials from Occidental. I didn't see anything new from the Felch or LA Times sides.

Previously on LA Observed:
Jason Felch statement, and a clarification on Occidental College
Occidental College adds its own take on the Jason Felch incident
LA Times admits errors in Occidental College stories, fires reporter*
LA Times hands out newsroom awards for the year


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