12/01/2014 Jonathan Taylor

Why Lorisa Lorenzo and James Annarelli, bigots of Eckerd College, need to be fired

If you use Twitter, please tweet this to #eckerdcollege. Let’s make sure their school knows we’ll publicize when they discriminate against college men.

Have you ever heard that grand old story about people coming to America because they believe it to be “the land of opportunity”? That’s what I was taught when I was in elementary school. Apparently that’s not what they believe in at Eckerd College. Coming to us from The Tampa Bay Times:

ST. PETERSBURG — The invitation to foreign students on the Eckerd College website looks irresistible, with images of glistening beaches and sailboats knifing through the water. Over the past 40 years, “tens of thousands of students from all over the world” have learned English at an ELS Language Center on the Eckerd campus. They can eat in the cafeterias, swim in the pool, enjoy the waterfront or work out in the gym.

This week, however, Eckerd administrators reduced those liberties. “As of Monday, September 22, 2014, only female ELS participants will be permitted to reside in campus housing,” Lorisa Lorenzo, Eckerd’s associate dean for student life, wrote in an email sent Wednesday to all students…

…The ban also affects future ELS students and runs indefinitely, or at least until Eckerd and ELS administrators can work out an agreement that could allow male ELS students to return to a dormitory.

The 2014-2015 student handbook shows that Lorisa Lorenzo is not only the Assistant Dean of Students, but is also the acting Title IX Coordinator. The college website also lists her as the Coordinator of International Student Affairs. That means the responsibility for this decision rests in large part upon her. But not exclusively on her, as we will see soon.

So why did they decide that a bunch of college men – struggling to find their identity in a new country, with few resources and friends – should have the roof yanked out from over their heads?

The sudden policy shift, undertaken by Eckerd and acceded to by ELS, follows a tumultuous August. Authorities last month dealt with violations ranging from alcohol and catcalls to two allegations of sexual assault reported by female Eckerd students.

The phrase “authorities” is used very loosely here, as in no way does that mean the accusations were authoritative. The article continues:

Eckerd’s action was made after a freshman told campus security on Sept. 1 she was sexually assaulted three weeks earlier, St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said. The student said she accepted a drink from a group of ELS students from Spain and subsequently blacked out. She woke up in her dorm room “in a state of undress,” Puetz said.

“A lot of her physical state seemed to suggest that she had engaged in some sort of sexual act to which she did not give her consent,” he said. She was interviewed and signed a waiver of prosecution.

“Seemed to suggest”? How do you know anything she said was true when you are given nothing but her say-so? Also, I didn’t know that if someone signs a waiver of prosecution that automatically gives their accusation the credibility of a jury conviction. Who knew?

So how credible is the next case? Let’s take a look:

That incident was after another report from August by a different female Eckerd student, who asked the school not to report her assault to police.

“We can safely say that the level of seriousness in at least one of the incidents was part of the reason we have responded as we have,” said James Annarelli, Eckerd’s vice president for student life and dean of students.

Oh I see. So neither case was prosecuted because the accusers themselves chose not to. Is it totally beyond the realm of possibility that they didn’t want to follow through with their accusations because they were lies, and an investigation would mean a greater probability that they would be caught?

As has been proven time and time again, false rape accusations are quite common and are made for all sorts of reasons: attention, revenge, jealousy, to provide an alibi, and so forth. The list goes on and on.

From 2010 through 2012, the college recorded 250 liquor law violations, 402 drug law violations and 15 sexual assaults. None of the sex offenses resulted in arrests.

So fifteen accusations. No arrests. Fifteen false rape accusations by selfish or vindictive women? Fifteen accusations by hurting victims needing redress? Or a mix of the two? I guess we’ll never know, which makes acting in a punitive fashion seem incredibly stupid and unjust.

But I guess some people don’t act out of fairness or justice. Some people just do things to make themselves look good, and punish people based not on truth but on whatever they feel they can get away with. That about sums up the moral character of your average Student Affairs administrator.

Also, look at how the article throws around phrases like “none of the sex offenses resulted in arrests.” We don’t know whether these accusations were “sex offenses that actually occurred, but just happened to not result in arrests,” but that’s the language used here.

The next comment in the article captures the Orwellian double-speak nature of the conversation about gender on campus:

“We completely abide by Eckerd College’s decision on how to proceed in the investigation and their interpretation of Title IX policies and procedures,” said Alexandra Zilovic, the ELS senior vice president for operations and business affairs for North America. The private company provides English language education to foreign students.

Their interpretation of Title IX, you say? Let’s read the text of that 32 year-old law one more time:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of gender, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

If by “interpreting Title IX” Zilovic means “assuming Title IX means the exact opposite of what it really does,” then sure. But you know what side your bread is buttered on, don’t you Zilovic? So why would you contradict the Eckerd administration?

When was the last time the Eckerd administration punished black students collectively for the actions of a few? Or the last time they punished all their female students for the actions of a few college women? I think we all know the answer, but I’ll of course let a representative from Eckerd tell in the comments section us how they’ve used collective punishment and presumptions of guilt with people of other groups.

I won’t hold my breath.

So to all foreign students entering the country, and especially to those entering Eckerd College: welcome to the United States of Hypocrisy, sponsored by your local college.

And to the Eckerd administration: I do hope I will be adding your school to the lawsuits database in the near future.

Jonathan Taylor
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Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan is Title IX For All's founder, editor, web designer, and database developer. Hailing from Texas, he makes a mean red beans n' rice and is always interested to learn new things.
Jonathan Taylor
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About the Author

Jonathan Taylor Jonathan is Title IX For All's founder, editor, web designer, and database developer. Hailing from Texas, he makes a mean red beans n' rice and is always interested to learn new things.

Comments (11)

  1. Malcolm James

    ‘And to the Eckerd administration: I do hope I will be adding your school to the lawsuits database in the near future.’
    I wouldn’t hold my breath.
    1. The ELS students are by definition not American and probably have no wish to get entangled in the American legal system.
    2. Most of them come from very wealthy families and the cost of outside accommodation will be the least of their worries.
    3. There are plenty of English language colleges throughout Florida and the rest of the US, and I hope that the families of these students vote with their feet and chequebooks. This won’t be just the families sending sons. Do girls of that age really want to live in a convent?

     
  2. Malcolm James

    Are you trying to impress us by your early start, or is it insomnia?

     
  3. Kayla

    Kind of even more happy this school is my top right now. I don’t think what they did was the greatest choice of action. But at least they did something and didn’t sweep it under the wrong as so many other schools have.

     
    • Well, they sweep false rape accusations under the rug too. Would you be saying the same thing if they assumed the guilt of and summarily punished female foreign students in this manner, in order to crack down on false rape accusers?

       
  4. Joe Joe

    Your real enemy is not these small-fry administrators (as much as I can’t stand this type!). The Federal Government has changed the game. Before, these administrators were rewarded for keeping rape cases quiet, keeping both students on campus (i.e. non punishment), regardless of whether a real rape had occurred or not, and keeping students from going to the police. So administrators acted accordingly.

    The Dear Colleague letter was a game changer. Now, schools are being rewarded for lowering standards of evidence, getting rid of the accused male, regardless of whether a real rape occurred or not, and keeping students from going to the police. (Notice, everyone is still rewarded for not going to the police and sullying the university “brand.”) DOE/OCR is still allowing universities to keep everything in-house, but they have changed the guidelines for internal procedures. It is DOE “civil rights” concerns plus the corporate university’s PR concerns that have allowed these star chambers to proceed.

    The only real solution is the one thing the university does NOT want to do: send all rape victims to the real police ASAP. Yes, the university can provide support services to the rape victim (or alleged victim), but they should in no way be adjudicating these cases. Put sunlight on the damned thing and get the police to handle it.

    And as far as not allowing male students in student housing–it’s the LAWSUIT they’re afraid of.

     
  5. Alvaro

    I’m from Argentina, and i used to be an els student at Eckerd college, i
    don’t necessary agree with what was written on this article, also Malcom james you are right in some of the things you say, but….. I was there for a four month period. During my time there I made friends with Eckerd students as well as Els students. It was an amazing experience to be able to live on campus, see how things are done there, something as simple as eating at the cafeteria, nothing even close here, even attend to some classes as a listener, knowing people from the states and from all over the world. The students who were off campus didn’t have such a complete experience, not even close. So to deny this experience, for a random episode, and just to the males, seems weird, not fare and wrong.

    It’s true that I saw a little bitof everything, parties, alcohol, but nothing too crazy, and the craziest thing I went to, wasn’t organized by els students, not even close, they were Eckerd students, but still nothing serious and different
    than what happens in any other school i guess. So why not make it a woman’s
    school then.
    It’s a shame because it was an amazing experience that new International Males(that’s creazy) els students are not going to be able to have..

     
  6. Retire Justin ShLong

    The title of this article is offensive and with out proper justification. Here’s a question. Why are you writing about two people from a school you didn’t attend and have nothing to do with? Have you ever met these people?

    As a male graduate of Eckerd I can assure you that these two people are some of the biggest advocates for Eckerd students and go out of their way on a consistent basis to assist those students in need; Both male and female.

    The whole story your talking about runs way deeper than just these two people. The politics of Eckerd and the decisions that are made are rarely left in the hands of just two people.

    You should consider your self lucky that the individuals you have slandard in this article aren’t those to seek legal recourse against vacuouse individuals like your self.

    With that being said I will leave you with this. Yes, men sometimes get wrongly accused of sexual assault and rape by women, and yes that’s fucked up (and FYI most of these rape allocations were legitimate). But to insult and slandar two amazing people is even more fucked up. And because of that your fucked up. Reevaluate your life man.

    Cheers.

     
    • The only difference between my article and your comment is that I actually presented evidence to support my claim.

       
  7. Anonymous Female Student

    Well as a student who was there at this timeline, I thought it was dealt with inappropriately and sexist. Deeming all males dangerous is just generalization. A lot of these girls make false accusations and a lot of them do things and end up regretting them in the morning and find someone to blame. No one ever takes responsibility of their actions, drinking, partying, etc.

     

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