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MeToo

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina Remains in the Spotlight After Nassar Trial

The trial serves as a facet of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that call for accountability and change against sexual assault and harassment, and Aquilina’s strength marked a move towards the accountability of sexual predators.

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It’s been one week since former USA Gymnastics doctor and osteopathic physician at Michigan State, Larry Nassar, was sentenced to 175 years in prison for decades of sexual abuse. One important figure stands out amidst the national attention the case received: Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

Aquilina has received praised on social media for her time residing over the high profile case. The video of her throwing away the letter Nassar wrote about how difficult it was for him to listen to the extended amount of testimonies against him from multiple victims circulated throughout Twitter as a stand against sexual predators.

This is not the first high profile case has Aquilina presided over. She was the judge in the 2006 case against seven-year-old Ricky Holland’s adoptive parents; who were accused of killing their adopted son. She also filed an advisory memorandum to former President Obama in 2013 after finding the city of Detroit in violation of the state constitution by filing bankruptcy.

Victims of Nassar have come forward to praise Judge Aquilina for her strength while providing over the case. Aquilina’s no-nonsense attitude gained her the nickname “Barracuda Aquilina” during her 20 years as the first female Judge Advocate General’s Corps Officer of the Michigan Army National Guard. Olympic gymnasts like Jordyn Weiber and Simone Biles are among many thanking Aquilina.

“She’s a boss,” Biles told NBC, “But the Judge is my hero because she gave it to him straight and didn’t let him get any power over the girls.”

The trial serves as a facet of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that call for accountability and change against sexual assault and harassment, and Aquilina’s strength marked a move towards the accountability of sexual predators.

Savannah is a third year Journalism major with a French minor at Colorado State University. She works as a Communications Intern for the CSU Alumni Association, and hopes to one day work in a French speaking country.

MeToo

Viewpoint: There is No Problem with the #MeToo Movement

#MeToo is here to change America: Empowering survivors and giving their voice a platform.

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Recently The Atlantic posted a short video of writer Caitlin Flanagan explain what was wrong with the #MeToo Agenda.

Her first point was that it covered too much as it “descends the ladder from rape to bad dates making it a category big enough to be meaningless.” But there is an obvious difference between rape and a bad date and there is a huge gray area in between and the line is drawn with consent. I know too many men and women who are survivors of sexual violence. But I also know people who have had bad dates (myself included). A bad date is someone who’s rude or narcissistic or just not someone you’re interested in, Rape and assault are crimes. The difference is clear and no one tweets #MeToo over a bad date, they just “girl me too” to a friend.

Flanagan also mentions men who are unfairly caught in the crossfire among accusations of powerful men being brought to justice. She cites Matt Damon who said “groping someone’s butt was different than sexually molesting a child.” While Damon was correct from a legal standpoint, and that these two acts are different, both acts are acts of sexual assault or violence.

There is no excuse for assault or violence on any scale. The fact that Damon doesn’t realize this is a perfect example of how microaggressions find their way into our common media. Any act of unwanted sexual advances made by anyone is unacceptable.

To Flanagan, Damon is misinformed and part of the problem. But most of that comes from the fact that he was misinformed.

She criticizes women for thinking male power structure is part of the problem and suddenly smashing the patriarchy being added to the list of goals for the #MeToo Movement. You can only do so much good targeting individual offenders who have taken advantage of the unfair power structure stacked in their favor. Soon enough you need to address the root of the problem, and it often lies in our history of male centered power structures.

While we can’t undo history, we can work towards equal representation and allowing each individual to be able to thrive under a power structure instead of allowing the people at the top take advantage of everyone below.

Flanagan notes, “It seemed as though almost every woman had some sort of goal she wanted to add to the agenda. No problem was too small or too vague to be included–So long was a man was to blame.”

Have you stopped to think that there actually is a problem? If every woman can identify at least one time in their life where someone has made unwanted passes at them this is clearly a problem that needs to be handled.

Perpetrators needs to face justice and survivors need to heal.

This isn’t just a women’s issue: sexual violence affects everyone: More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

The #MeToo movement is about bringing those guilty to justice. Not attacking men.

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Campus Crime

Student Jailed for Sexually Assaulting Sleeping Frat Brothers Shown No Leniency

The former Albright College student argued that his sentence should be reduced.

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Former Albright College student Robert Convery Jr. shown in a booking photo. (Handout)

A Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Friday that a student who committed multiple acts of sexual assault on his fraternity brothers while they slept does not deserve a break on his sentence.

Robert Convery Jr., a former Albright College student, was sentenced to 13-to-30-years behind bars in 2016. He had argued at his trial that the sex was consensual, but a jury disagreed.

PennLive reported that the assaults were committed in 2013 and 2015:

Both of the victims were his friends as well as his Pi Kappa Phi frat brothers… Convery assaulted one of them twice, and apologized afterward.

All three assaults followed the same pattern. The victims fell asleep after drinking and awoke to find Convery performing oral sex on them.

Convery appeared in court seeking a reduction in his sentence. His attorney argued that his harsh sentence was a punishment for taking the case to trial instead of negotiating a plea deal or admitting guilt.

Judge Mary Jane Bowes found there was no evidence that Convery was punished for going to trial.

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Academics

Inside the Ivy: New Presidents and Immigration

The one with Harvard, new presidents and immigration reform panels.

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Harvard finally names a new president

Harvard University has hired one of its own as the 29th university president, Lawrence Bacow.

The Harvard Crimson reports, “Bacow, 66, formerly served as the president of Tufts University and the chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has also held roles at the Kennedy School, the Graduate School of Education, the Law School—and, most recently, on Harvard’s own search committee.”

Bacow will be taking over at a precarious time for higher education and Harvard; he will face a presidency that goes against university ideals and has enacted tax policies that will cost the university millions, an underperforming endowment and the roll out of Harvard’s controversial policy that penalizes membership in single-gender social organizations.

Jeb Bush and Joe Biden at Penn’s Silfen Forum

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports, “Members of the Senate failed to advance any immigration laws on Feb. 15, leaving the fate of various U.S. immigrants in an ongoing state of limbo. News of the vote came in as hundreds of attendees sat in Irvine Auditorium, listening to former Vice President Joe Biden and former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush discuss immigration policy with Penn President Amy Gutmann.”

The event, “Policy Adrift: A 21st Century Framework for Asylum Seekers, Refugee’s and Immigration Policy,” was part of an annual series of panel discussions on modern issues.

Conversation on the panel quickly shifted to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Randoms:

A little bit of hope for a tough week and love for Valentine’s Day

Princeton has its own dating app

Quote of the Week:

“#MeToo is just so simple. It is really just a conversation starter. Or, [it can be] the whole conversation. This is a movement that’s about healing. [The phrase] comes from a place of trying to connect.

– Tarana Burke, #MeToo movement founder and leader at Brown University

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