The Lamron’s Nov. 15 article that reported allegations regarding an improper relationship between a former Geneseo student and professor of history Emilye Crosby.
The former student alleges that the relationship between her and Crosby was initiated in 2003, lasted for about a year and was characterized by abusive tactics that she said undoubtedly affected her academic career at Geneseo.
At an institution where 60 percent of the student body is female, administration should have handled the situation with far more respect and concern. The safety of the students should be the number one priority of the university; by failing to be transparent throughout the past 14 years, Geneseo has completely disregarded this imperative.
According to the article, following the former student’s graduation, she revealed the story to late professor of English Julia Walker who played a role in helping the victim to come forward.
The alumna attended a meeting in 2005 with former provost Katherine Conway-Turner where she shared her story. Conway-Turner declined to discipline Crosby but drafted the Sexual and Amorous Relationships policy in November 2005 which explicitly prohibits relationships with this power dynamic.
Although the alumna said she returned to administrators again in 2009 and 2017, all three of her attempts were ultimately dismissed by three different generations of Geneseo administration.
Since the publication of the article, students have rightfully expressed their discontent with the administration’s lack of action through various platforms, including a Change.org petition created by an anonymous student.
Regardless of how many years ago this improper relationship took place, the former student had the courage and strength to share her story to multiple different administrators, all of whom dismissed her and focused on the school’s image. This behavior is nothing short of disdainful and makes it clear that the school had no intention of ever releasing this information to the public.
In a time where the #MeToo movement is more prominent than ever before, it is deeply disappointing that the college is choosing to take no further action against Crosby. When an environment allows these sorts of issues to be swept under the rug for the sake of protecting the institution’s reputation, the #MeToo movement is undermined and the vicious cycle of victim-blaming is further perpetuated.
Over the years, Geneseo students have been under the impression that they attend a premier liberal arts institution that is committed to the safety of the student body. It appears, however, that this isn’t fully true, raising the question of how many other victims administrators have left without a voice in an effort to avoid a public relations disaster.
It no longer feels as safe on this campus, knowing the extent of the trauma and disrespect that this former student underwent without any sort of consequence given to Crosby. While the victim will undoubtedly carry the pain and trauma with her for the rest of her life, Crosby gets to carry on with her life completely unbothered and backed by an institution who refuses to hold her accountable for her alleged behavior.
There is ample evidence and numerous documented encounters with administration and faculty throughout the years confirming the validity of these allegations, so at this point, taking further action shouldn’t be a matter in question.
As women in positions of power who are supposed to embody compassion and leadership, President Battles and Provost Robertson must bring an end to the endangerment of the students and remove professor Crosby from her position.