WLU ’21 — Biology Professor

In my freshman year Biology class, I went to office hours frequently because I knew I wasn’t doing very well. I’m a humanities major, I’m not dumb, science just wasn’t my thing, and I expected the professor to understand that as this was an introductory class. Most of my classmates were pre-med, though, so I’m sure I stood out as “the bad student.” Either way, he told me multiple times I should consider transferring because I “don’t belong here.”

I failed our first test, so I went to his office hours for clarification. He continued with his previous comments that didn’t explicitly call me stupid, but he heavily implied that I had no place in his class or at the school. I began to tear up, and I apologized, embarrassed. He gave me a tissue and told me not to worry about it, because “I’m used to girls crying in here.”

I could tell he meant it to be a kind gesture, so I said nothing. 

He made me seriously question my intelligence and capabilities, when his job was to educate. I came in for help and was met with sexism and implicit insult, but somehow it felt like it was my fault for being weak and dumb

WLU ’19 — Math Professor

I also had to take a class with the previously mentioned horrifyingly sexist Mathematics professor. It was Discrete Mathematics, a class that every Computer Science major has to take before graduating, and one that’s very frequently only taught by this professor. I guess they don’t care because most CS majors are men, so it doesn’t matter if the few women feel unsafe, right?

He used to wear unique ties every day to class, making us memorize them for extra credit. For the final he wore one with two “hula girls” on it. He made a very specific point about how they USED to be topless and you USED to be able to see their nipples but his horrible wife made him cover them up. He then proceeded to make the men in the class vote on which woman in the class to name his naked hula ladies after. It was so incredibly demeaning and vile.

My friend got a lower grade on her first exam, nothing she couldn’t recover from, but she wanted to do better and went into his office hours. He told her – to her face – that she clearly wasn’t good at math, she shouldn’t try, and he couldn’t help her. A male friend got the same grade, went to his office hours, and got a full and productive hour of help. 

He also mentioned how much he hated that the school allows women now, because he wants to make sexual comments about women’s bodies but the “overly sensitive” female students would get upset.

Most egregiously of all – and the reason why I never reported him (though I’m ashamed for it all the same) – was that on the very first day of class he sized all of the women up, looked us each in the eye, and told us a “funny story” about how some “crazy” student tried to file a Title IX report against him. He found out about it while she was still in his class, and he told us – laughing- that he directly confronted her and got her to admit that he wasn’t actually sexist (because I’m sure she has no reason at all to be afraid) and retract the report. It was a warning to us. If we tried to report him, he would find out, and he would intimidate us into silence.

I had panic attacks almost daily because of his behavior. I feel sick thinking about him to this day.

WLU ’21 — Campus Culture

TW: Description of sexual assault

This story is an absolute roller coaster of ways W&L’s culture has failed me and people like me. During my Admitted Students’ Day, I was with a current student who I trusted and was dating at the time. He was on Adderall to study that day, though it had not been prescribed to him. While I was in his room, he pinned me down and started doing things to me I told him were not okay. Instead of listening to me when I told him to stop, he flipped me over and I had to fight him off me

He told me his behavior was out of character and only happened because of the drugs he was on. I never reported because my status as someone who hadn’t started at W&L stressed me out, and before I had even begun classes I was worried about my reputation.

I thought about reporting an Honor Violation for his unprescribed use of a drug, knowing that the University may have taken it more seriously, but by the time I had become a student able to report these things, several months had passed. 

I asked a friend to be on the lookout for him at parties in case he tried to confront me (when I removed him as a follower from my finsta account, he gaslighted and threatened me, so I was afraid of what would happen if I saw him in person). Most of my friends don’t know that this ever happened, because this young man was not especially popular and I was worried that people might not like me if my first move on campus was to accuse someone of assault (though I know that the people who are my friends would never treat me this way, I don’t feel that way about the student body at large).

During our relationship, this individual would repeatedly compare my body to his Black ex-girlfriend’s in an explicitly racist way, saying that my whiteness made me more appealing to him for several reasons so nauseating I won’t repeat them. Because of his overall behavior around me, I was so afraid to ever speak up about these horrible things he said and did. It scares me even more now, because he was accepted into a PhD program and can continue to use his influence to be blatantly racist and misogynistic, even if only behind closed doors. I’ve been having nightmares recently about him and how the culture at our university allows people like him to be successful.

WLU ’19 — Crossing Lines

TW: Mention of rape

After seeing some other stories about the same professor, I figured I would share my experience as well. 

I went to his office in order to catch up on what was covered during a Writing Center meeting I had to miss during my senior year. He closed the door, which felt very strange—I never experienced a professor, let alone a male professor, do that. His office blinds were drawn, and he sat between me and the door.

As a survivor of sexual assault, all of these things had me on high alert. We discussed the Writing Center and he caught me up from a meeting I missed, which was fine. But then he wanted to talk about becoming a mentor for a club I was leading, and that was when things took a turn.

He said he would only be a mentor “if it’s worth his time,” and he went into the stories of people he’s been a confidant/mentor for over the years, presumably to prove to me he’d be a good/effective mentor for the students in my organization.

He mentioned that he had “bone chilling stories” (his words) to share of the things that go on at W&L, playing coy and not seeming to want to tell me at first. Of course, I already knew there were plenty of bone chilling things going on, but he seemed to think this would be new information for me.

One story was about a white male student who got a DUI, who he advised to get a lawyer and got out of the charge. Another was “falsely” accused of rape (it didn’t sound false to me the way even he told the story) who he also advised to get a lawyer, and another who was kidnapped by a fraternity during pledging (hazing).

He then said he “hoped I’d never gone through anything as bad as those experiences.”

I wanted to reply that I’ve been raped twice on this campus (and had been writing about it all year) by men exactly like the ones he’s worked to protect, but I decided it was better to say nothing. Safer. I’d gone numb and into survival mode, trying to get out of the conversation as quickly as I could. After over thirty minutes of these stories, he ended the meeting. I left shaken and dazed, a little unsure of what had just happened, as all of it was inappropriate.

I reported this incident to my advisor, who told me to share it with the department head, who escalated it to HR. My advisor also spoke to this professor, advising him not to talk or interact with me outside of Writing Center duties.

Some days later, at the senior capstone reading, I came in a few moments late, and this professor stared directly at me (perpendicular to where the students were speaking, so it was very obvious and uncomfortable) until I acknowledged him. I was trying not to acknowledge him because given the social situation I didn’t feel like I needed to-I was late and wanted to pay attention to the capstones. Further, he had already been advised not to speak to me, as I did not want to speak with him, given how uncomfortable he had made me.

Later during the event, he reached to get his cup that was somehow on the ledge on the other side of me. He put his hand on my lower back to reach by, which was completely unnecessary and inappropriate. I do not want to be touched. I do not want to be touched without my consent. I do not want to be touched by a professor that had made me feel so upset and uncomfortable. I shouldn’t have to say that, really

And he especially shouldn’t have touched me after I had reported him (which he had happened to find out about, making me feel even more unsafe and anxious.)

I was always on edge walking around campus for the remaining few months of my senior year, worried I’d run into him and he’d try to talk to me about my report, etc. He was known for crossing lines left and right, so it never seemed out of the realm of possibility.

I don’t think he received much in the way of consequences, but it was an unpleasant and severely anxiety-inducing experience, especially as someone with diagnosed PTSD after being raped twice at W&L. Given the volume of stories about him I’ve heard or read here, ranging from verbal and written harassment to horrific racism to sexual harassment,

HE SHOULD NOT BE EMPLOYED BY THE UNIVERSITY.

WLU ’15 — Haunted

TW: Mention of rape

I worked in Dhall. One of the law students who also worked in Dhall told me in detail about how he wished he was stranded on an island with models so he could “ethically force them to have sex with him.” I told him that was rape and that he was making me uncomfortable, but he persisted.

He also said he wanted to be a father figure to me, and I tried to laugh it off saying I already had a dad. He went on and on about both of these for our whole shift. We worked in very close quarters, so it was extra uncomfortable.

I told the student manager who told the manager, who forced him to apologize. He insisted I misunderstood, but I refused to take that.

We continued to work in the same space until almost the end of the year and there was no other consequence for him.

When he stopped showing up to shifts, I asked about where he had gone. He had started working for Traveller instead. I don’t know if he ever assaulted a woman while working there, but I’m still haunted with guilt about the possibility.

WLU Transferr — Nightmare

TW: rape

I transferred 4 years ago, and I am still plagued by nightmares of WLU. I still wake up in cold sweats thinking I’ll have to go back there.

Like many from lower classes, I only attended due to scholarship. During my visit I was told that Greek life wasn’t that present, that drinking culture was easy to get around, and that diversity was a priority of the school.

I felt pressured to stay, to rush, to drink. It wasn’t until I was raped at a frat party the end of my freshman year that I knew I would do anything to get out of that school.

I tried to report to the Title IX officer, but since I didn’t remember anything (I had one cup of jungle juice and several girls besides me remember nothing from that night), and I didn’t know who it was, so I had no recourse.

It wasn’t until after that I learned this particular frat was known for date rape drugs in their punch. Almost every student on campus, and many administrators, knew this. Despite this widely known secret, the frat stayed on campus because it was a “good ole boys” frat.

I’m not the first to have this experience, nor will I be the last.

My entire second year there I battled crippling depression only heightened by several more sexual assaults, coupled with threats of my safety (due to a separate issue).

Reports to the administration only caused the issues to be worse.

I know for a fact that if I would have stayed I’d be dead now. I would not have survived. Even now, every relationship I have is tainted by the abuse I faced at that school.

WLU ’21 — Unsupported

I had the same English Professor that has come up previously in 2019, and I agree with everything that has been said. I hadn’t heard anything bad about the Professor and personally asked for a space in the course. Boy, was that a mistake. 

This Professor’s “lectures” were filled with sexist and racist claims, virtually unsupported by the text we were meant to be referencing. Whenever students brought up disagreement, it was dismissed, silencing anyone outspoken. 

Some specifics: He claimed that there is no such thing as oppression and that someone cannot be a victim of oppression; that Native Americans were inherently violent and brought about their own destruction by white settlers because of their violence; and pioneer women could not have been oppressed because they did not write about oppression.

I had a requested a one-on-one meeting for an essay, and I have never been so uncomfortable with a teacher in my life; he told me I was quiet and made other veiled sexist remarks. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, I fear. I left every day feeling upset and often horrified. 

There’s a difference between learning from a professor you disagree with (which I have enjoyed in my time in college) and attempting to make it through this garbage. I was able to drop the class and switch into another in the department, but this course is still on my transcript. 

Luckily the English course I moved into was taught by an incredibly welcoming Professor, I just wish I didn’t have to experience this first.

WLU ’14 — Themes

The Greek system has a stranglehold on W&L student life. Here’s a list of actual party themes during my four years that I can only hope are dead and buried: Old South (complete with antebellum costumes); Filthy Rich / 1%; Dirty South; a tequila shots party where the frat erected a fence attendees had to jump, patrolled by pledges dressed as ICE agents with water guns; a jungle party where the pledges were dressed as, ahem, rabbits (the first time I learned that particular slur); and countless “__ Bros & __ Hoes.” The school seemed more concerned with kegs than the racist, classist, and misogynistic themes.

WLU Transfer – Object

It’s difficult to share my story about the toxic culture at W&L as my time there is shrouded in shame, embarrassment, and trauma. I was assaulted a number of times by multiple students in multiple occasions. 

The Greek system encourages a work hard and play hard mentality that is dangerous. “Blackout” was something to be worn like a badge of honor. Hooking up was worn with a badge of honor. The misogyny there is rampant and is encouraged by the Greek system and “boys will be boys” mentality.

I remember being driven back from a party far from campus in the back of an SUV. Four other girls were packed in the trunk area while men were sitting in seats with seatbelts.

I don’t remember where we were driven or what happened after but I know I woke up in a fraternity house. 

In another instance, I remember waking up in a bare mattress covered in water with my clothes no where to be found. I remember being texted repeatedly to make sure I took the morning after pill by someone I thought I trusted and then that same person refused to make eye contact with me after that. I remember waking up with a stranger on top of me in my dorm room where I had passed out.

I left the school my freshman year in order to seek treatment and refused to return because of the shame and the trauma that occurred there. I now know I was taken advantage of and violated. Being drunk gives NO ONE a free pass to rape or assault someone.

At W&L I learned what it is to be treated as an object, as meat because I was female. 

The honor code is a charade that disappears on nights and weekends. There, honor only exists between white men. BI&POC and women are not treated with honor or respect. 

In all honesty, I’m glad I didn’t get a degree there.