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Reaction Continues To NY Times Article About Sexual Assault At HWS

Hobard and William Smith Colleges Logos

The attorney for the student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges profiled Sunday by the New York Times says the response to her client’s case has come from across the country. “It’s been overwhelming,” Inga Parsons told WXXI’s Evan Dawson in a phone conversation. “People have responded with shock and disbelief to the way her case was handled.”

Parsons told WXXI that Anna, her client who is declining to reveal her last name, is not doing additional interviews at this time. However, Anna is asking her classmates to get in touch with the new Coalition of Concerned Students. That’s an organization of current HWS students and HWS alumni. Through an online petition on, the coalition is asking Hobart and William Smith Colleges to dramatically alter their process of handling sexual assault claims.

“We, both current students and alumni of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, are horrified by the New York Times article exposing the administration’s mismanagement of a campus sexual assault case, reflecting a broader issue that needs to be addressed,” the petition begins.

The petition goes on to offer suggestions to improve the process, including stronger measures to protect victims’ privacy, appointing better-trained individuals to serve on panels, and hiring a new Title IX coordinator.

Monday morning, HWS was still referring reporters to its online statement. The colleges have declined further interviews on the matter. The online statement defends HWS’ handling of Anna’s case, and defends the colleges’ process of handling sexual assault in general, saying that the New York Times article “unfairly portrays the colleges and belittles the urgency and seriousness with which we address reported violations of our community standards.” You can read their entire statement here.

On Twitter, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand commended Anna for being “brave,” and called the story “infuriating… shows the need for real reform of how our colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases.”

Evan Dawson will explore the issue further during Connections, from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday on WXXI.

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.