"All of these allegations, including those brought today, are deeply troubling, and we take them very seriously." wrote Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune on Friday after announcing that Chris Boyd was suspended from the football team after being charged with accessory after the fact related to the incident that occurred in a Vanderbilt residence hall June 23.
We've been hearing Fortune's name a lot lately in reference to Vanderbilt football and it hasn't been for the release of good news. In late June we found out that four unnamed players had been suspended from the team. In that release Fortune commented, "We will not tolerate any actions that threaten student safety and security."
Then on August 9 the four players; Brandon Vandenburg, Cory Batey, JaBorian McKenzie and Brandon Banks, were indicted for aggravated rape and sexual battery. Vandenburg received additional charges of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography.
"We are shocked and saddened by the allegations that such an assault has taken place on our campus and that they include members of our football team," said Fortune in yet another sobering release.
Now Vanderbilt has lost Chris Boyd for likely the season. It is believed that Boyd didn't participate in the actual rape but apparently offered illegal advice. My guess is he advised Vandenburg to delete the photos or video off his phone, but that's just a hunch. I could be wrong. However, if Boyd did do this he may have had no idea that what he was doing was highly illegal. It's unfortunate for Boyd that he may have to spend months or even years in jail for getting involved in something he had no business jumping into.
To me, all this points to another serious problem at Vanderbilt. Like many other universities, the abuse of alcohol and drugs on campus contributes to travesties like this at Vandy. We don't know whether the victim was drunk, on drugs or had been drugged. However, regardless of the reason she was incapacitated what was done to her was wrong and the four charged, if found guilty, need to be severely punished. My guess is that the culprits themselves were also either drunk or under the influence of who knows what. Here's a stat for you, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says that 37 percent of all rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol. Twenty-seven percent of all aggravated assaults involve booze. Over 36 percent of all inmates in prison "were drinking at the time of their conviction offense".
Vanderbilt has taken bold moves in the past, like abolishing the athletic department (since reestablished) and other innovative yet controversial steps. I don't have all the answers, but I hope the administration will take an aggressive, hard-line stance against alcohol and drugs on campus. Then maybe we won't be getting so much bad news from Beth Fortune.
The ugly ordeal continues for Vanderbilt
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