“An Open Letter to Students”: President Eastman emails Eckerd community about sexual assault and harassment on campus

Posted by on Nov 23, 2014. Filed under News.

This is the email sent out to all students and faculty by President Donald Eastman on Nov. 23, 2014 at 1:57 p.m.

Dear Eckerd College students,

As you know, the College has launched an educational and awareness campaign to attempt to minimize sexual harassment and assault in our community. The goal is to raise the awareness of all community members with respect to sexual harassment and assault and to help prevent those incidents by that increased awareness.

You also know that our College is not alone in its concern about such behavior, principally among its students. And you know that these incidents are almost always preceded by consumption, often heavy consumption, of alcohol, often by everyone involved in them.

You can do your part in helping this College and this culture address this nexus of problems by doing two relatively simple things:

  1. By limiting your own consumption of alcohol, and encouraging your friends to do the same. Socrates included wine at his Symposium, but he did not get drunk.
  1. You can be thoughtful about the dramatic and often negative psychological effects that sexual activity without commitment can have. Virtue in the area of sexuality is its own reward, and has been held in high esteem in Western Culture for millennia because those who are virtuous are happier as well as healthier.  No one’s culture or character or understanding is improved by casual sex, and the physical and psychological risks to both genders are profound.

Every year at the end of the Eckerd College Commencement ceremony, I say to the graduating class, “I hope you feel not only well taught, but well loved. We will miss you.” I mean every word of that. This open letter is written in that spirit – not as preachment, but with great affection and true, deep and lasting concern.

As always, I am available for your responses or a visit to my office. I wish each of you good luck in your final weeks of the semester, and a happy, healthy, virtuous 2015.

Donald R. Eastman III


Posted by on Nov 23, 2014. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “An Open Letter to Students”: President Eastman emails Eckerd community about sexual assault and harassment on campus

  1. Craig Colbeck

    Dec 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Wow! This is astoundingly backward. As a colleague at the college wrote, this “sounds like it was written in 1957.” I actually wouldn’t necessarily go that far back, but blaming a proxy (alcohol) and victims rather than perpetrators, while finishing the statement off with non sequitor platitudes, certainly reveals a deep lack of commitment on President Eastman’s part to addressing sexual violence. I can only hope that those leading Eckerd’s supposed campaign against sexual violence on campus show more common sense, respect for the gravity of the issue, and leadership.

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