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Rochester

Protesting Students Call On University of Rochester to Censure Professor

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Rochester: Protesting Students Call On University of Rochester to Censure Professor
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Some students staged a protest at the University of Rochester on Monday. It centered around statements made by an economics professor regarding rape.

The professor in question is Steven Landsburg. In a blog post regarding the rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, where the victim was unconscious and incapacitated by alcohol, Landsburg questioned hypothetically whether a crime was actually committed if a person was unconscious.

Some students took exception to Landsburg's remarks and protested outside Hutchison Hall, where the professor was teaching a class.

"It's upsetting to me because I am a woman and that rape is real and that it happens every single day and it happens all over the world," said graduate student Ali Grenert.

"All we're asking is the university take disciplinary action of some form. We're even thinking a written warning, something official to send the message to the university community that the university won't tolerate justifications of rape of any kind," said graduate student Daniel Nelson.

Nearly 650 students signed a petition asking the university to censure Landsburg.

The professor has since issued an apology.

Statement from University of Rochester

Many members of the University community have been offended by Professor Steven Landsburg’s March 20 blog post that poses hypothetical questions about the rights of an unconscious rape victim. They maintain that his questions can be read as condoning the rape of unconscious victims.

On April 5, Professor Landsburg released a statement saying in part, “I am both sad and sorry that my recent blog post has distressed so many people so deeply, both on campus and off. I am particularly sad because many readers got the impression that I was endorsing rape, while my intent was to say exactly the opposite—namely that the horror of rape is so great that we should rethink accepted principles of policy analysis that might sometimes minimize that horror.”

Professor Landsburg made his post on his personal blog. It has no direct connection to the University. His views are his own; he does not speak for the University. The University disagrees with the content, which does not reflect its views or values.

In his remarks to the conference “Survivor to Thriver: Confronting Sexual Assault on Campus,” on April 3, President Seligman talked about the horror of cases in which unconscious victims are exploited. “The trauma that rape victims feel can affect their lives for decades in ways that can be emotionally devastating not only to the victim but to those who love her or him.”

Bill Murphy
Vice President for Communications

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