Influx of LC students to Reed causes complaints, accusations of sexual misconduct

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Illustration by Kelsey Gray

By Zibby Pillote///Editor-in-Chief

“Go home Clarkies,” has become a familiar chant for students at Reed College. After months of influx of Lewis & Clark students to the Reed’s campus in Southeast Portland, the student body has filed a formal complaint against LC to the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark.

Following the Bad Bitche$ Ball on Friday, Feb. 22, several Reed students took to Facebook to express their concern with the number of “off-campus” party attendees.

“What’s the update on the Reedies-to-Clarkies ratio?” Reed student Hayley VanderJagt said.

The discussion that followed included accounts of sexual misconduct and talk of the Reed student government sending a formal complaint to ASLC.

One Reed student, Dylan Holmes, enjoys the opportunity the two schools have to mingle together, but worries that the way LC students perceive Reed is leading to a misconception about the behavior that is welcome there.

According to Holmes, some issues are “harmless,” like LC students asking Reed students for ways to find alcohol, weed and various other recreational drugs. However, Holmes also expressed that there is a serious problem with sexual harassment. “Too many people come here with the objective of getting fucked up and hooking up without understanding social boundaries,” he said.  He, too, has fallen victim to such harassment.

“An individual from LC…sweeped me to the side, shoved his tongue down my throat, and proceeded to grope underneath my clothes repeatedly despite my protests,” said Holmes. “I eventually shoved him off and he disappeared…and this is only the tip of the iceberg for my girl friends.”

Holmes claims that many of his female friends have complained about being “frequently accosted, harassed and grabbed on the dance floor” without their consent. According to them, it is almost always drunk LC kids who commit these acts.

HIDE YOUR ‘PIO PRIDE’

According to an article published in the Quest, Reed’s student newspaper, entitled “The Risk Of Being The Coolest College In Town,” campus security officers at Reed have documented at least ten incidents of LC students engaging in acts of misconduct. These acts include, “getting drunk, openly smoking pot…joy-riding an electric cart, stegophily [climbing buildings], and most recently, being uncooperative and confrontational…when asked to leave.”

Reed is renowned and has been widely criticized for its lenient drug policy. The Willamette Week said of Reed in 2008, following a student’s overdose, “Reed College, a private school with one of the most prestigious academic programs in the U.S., is one of the last schools in the country where students enjoy almost unlimited freedom to experiment openly with drugs, with little or no hassles from authorities.”

“I’ve gone to Beyonce Ball and the Talking Heads dance party since sophomore year,” Tyler Rizzo (’14) said. “LC students have this image of the Reed community as a hardcore, wild party environment which leads to ‘Clarkies’ behaving rudely and disrespectfully—because they think anything flies at Reed.”

Rizzo lived a block from Reed last year, and would often attend lectures, events and parties on campus. “I’ve always been embarrassed to identify myself as an LC student there because all of my peers act like douchebags at their events.”

“We’ve made a huge presence there, not only in numbers but in behavior,” Julia Burns (’16) said, whose boyfriend attends Reed. “They think it’s a free-for-all. Yes, Reed has loose policies regarding drugs and alcohol, but that shouldn’t give us an excuse to go crazy when we go there.”

Burns states that she’s witnessed LC students stealing from the Reed school store and from party attendees, vomiting in public, peeing in public, disrespecting Reed’s campus safety officers and performing acts of misconduct, such as groping girls on the dance floor.

“I think that the faux-rivalship between our schools has become very much real,” Burns said. “I now feel uncomfortable being a ‘Clarkie’ when I’m visiting Reed.”

PEACE, LOVE AND PASTA

In his 60-second message to students last week, ASLC President Musa Ahmed (’14) said that Cabinet received a complaint from the Reed student government about LC student behavior at Reed parties.

“Our interactions have been very cordial,” Ahmed said. “Reed is coming to campus on Friday for pasta, and they’re bringing dessert.”

Both Reed and LC hope to find a solution to the problem with or without institutional intervention.

“We are meeting them student government to student government,” Ahmed said. “I think once we figure out where we stand and what we need help with, we will reach out to the administration.”

In the meantime, Burns and Rizzo suggest LC reevaluate the party scene on and around campus to better accommodate students’ apparent needs.

“What does Reed have that we don’t?” Burns said. “Speakers. Music chosen by students. A space. It really shouldn’t be that hard for us to do something similar.”

“It sucks, because it turns what could be fun and cool environments between Reedies and Clarkies into really strained and uncomfortable spaces,” Rizzo said.

“I certainly don’t want to see the openness of Reed’s events go away, but the current dynamic of these large parties is unsustainable,” Holmes said. “[We] need to come to an understanding of what’s expected of each other in regards to these events, and I think that is entirely possible. I just request that we all respect each other’s space, ask consent and not see each other as a means to an end (i.e. drugs or sex) but rather as college students who all deserve to have a good time.”

 

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