Amherst Play Poses Tough Questions About Sexual Respect on College Campuses

March 12, 2015

Performance of Probably.jpg Five College students Aine Hegarty ’15 (UMass), Isaiah Holloway 17, Noelle Micarelli 14 (Hampshire), Lilly Mommens 18, Rob Thoma 17 and Denzel Wood 18 present a staged reading at Amherst’s Powerhouse.

Sexual assault. Denial. The truth. These and other topics are at the heart of Probably, an original play by Amherst graduate Owen Davis 14 that is as captivating as its subject matter is difficult. 

Focusing on a fictional character named Katie as she tries to cope with the memory of a traumatic evening, its a story fraught with complexities that are front and center in todays national debates. And it poses tough questions: How do we broach the subjects of sexual violence and sexual respect on college campuses? How do students talk about these matters with each other? Where does personal responsibility begin and end?

Statement from the Board of Trustees

January 30, 2013

In October 2012, President Biddy Martin, with the support of the Board of Trustees, empaneled a special committee to make recommendations for improvements in the College’s efforts to prevent and address sexual assault and sexual misconduct at Amherst College. This action was taken following the emergence of disturbing accounts of cases of sexual assault and misconduct. At its meeting in October, the Board heard firsthand from many members of the Amherst community, including a delegation of students. The urgency of the issue was plain.

Letter from President Biddy Martin

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013

Dear Members of the Amherst Community,

This past October, in response to reports of sexual assault, Amherst College formed the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct. The committee, chaired by Professor Margaret Hunt and composed of students, faculty, staff, and trustees, was charged with providing a report that reviewed policies and made specific recommendations aimed at improving our capacity to prevent and address incidents of sexual misconduct. Given the urgency of the matter, the committee was asked to prepare the report for presentation to me and then to the Board of Trustees at the January meeting that just concluded.

An Open Letter from President Martin

November 6, 2012

An open letter to the Amherst Community:

I write to you today with an enormous sense of sorrow. Yesterday, a website for the Good Men Project posted a suicide note written by a former Amherst student, Trey Malone, who took his own life in June 2012. Trey's death is a tragedy. My deepest sympathies are with his family members and friends, who have suffered the most painful imaginable loss.

Board of Trustees' Statement on Sexual Misconduct and Assault

October 20, 2012

To the Members of the Amherst College Community:

Amherst College is confronting one of the most serious challenges facing colleges and universities across the country—sexual misconduct and assault.  In the way that it responds to these issues, the College is committed to holding itself accountable to the highest possible standard.

President Martin's Statement on Sexual Assault

October 18, 2012

Dear Members of the Amherst Community,

I write in response to the recent news about an incident of sexual violence and misconduct on the Amherst campus and to reports that the College has failed to treat similar incidents with adequate transparency or seriousness. A student’s first-person account in this week’s Amherst Student is horrifying—her rape, her painful efforts to deal with it on her own, and her subsequent experiences when she sought help on the campus.

A message from President Martin regarding sexual misconduct

October 11, 2012

Dear Amherst students,

I write to you concerning a matter that affects our entire community and for which we are all responsible, in one way or another. This message includes both information and an invitation. I know you are busy, but the issues are important. I hope you will take the time to read it.