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Police investigate alleged assault

Deputy Editor

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 13:02

Waltham Police and Brandeis Police are currently collaborating to investigate an alleged sexual assault that occurred on Dartmouth Street during the weekend of Jan. 18 to Jan. 20, according to Waltham Police Sergeant Tim King in an interview with the Justice.

In a Feb. 4 email to the Justice, Brandeis Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan confirmed the ongoing investigation.

“Brandeis Public Safety staff, are aware of a Waltham Police investigation into an incident, that was reported as occurring within a Dartmouth Street residence,” Callahan wrote in the same email. “Brandeis Public Safety staff are assisting as requested.”

As of Feb. 4, no arrests had been made in relation to the investigations. The University declined to comment as to whether or not any administrative action has been taken in regards to the case at this point in time.

A University administrator familiar with the situation confirmed that the University is conducting its own investigation of the recently reported incident, independent of the Waltham Police. That administrator confirmed that the incident is the same as the one referred to by Callahan.

According to the 2012-2013 Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, should University action be taken, the special examiner’s process would first have to be initiated. The process allows Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer to delegate investigation of a case of possible violations of Section 3 (Sexual Responsibility) or Section 7 (Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Harassment) of the Handbook to an individual examiner, as opposed to the usual board of faculty and Student Conduct Board members.

An article printed by the Waltham News Tribune and The Hoot connected the confirmed Waltham Police investigation of an alleged sexual assault from the weekend of Jan. 18 through Jan. 20 to the suspension of a member of the Zeta Beta Tau chapter composed of Brandeis students.

While the Justice confirmed the suspension of a ZBT member following a recent incident, according to an email sent by ZBT President Dan Leisman ’14 to Greek Awareness Council president Leah Finkelman ’13, the Justice cannot independently connect the incident being investigated with the ZBT suspension.

Finkelman ’13 sent an email on Monday, Jan. 24 to the presidents of the various unrecognized Greek organizations, referring to a “rumor … of what allegedly occurred … this weekend.”

Finkelman wrote in the email that "the purpose of the GAC is to promote the reputation of Greek life and to bring us together into one cohesive community. This is important now more than ever. We must stand by ZBT through this, and that means not discussing the situation."

Later on in the email, Finkelman quoted Leisman in an email he wrote to her. He wrote, “As I have advised my brothers, by discussing specific persons and events, you are legally implicating yourself, on an individual level, in this matter.”

According to a Justice interview with Finkelman on Jan. 28, the GAC does not have an official policy on sexual assault.

Finkelman mentioned that “since all of this has started happening … the GAC is hoping to sponsor or co-sponsor some sort of sexual assault awareness event. The GAC hasn’t done anything specific in the past.”

The ZBT Epsilon Phi chapter, which is composed of Brandeis students, is also planning educational initiatives relating to sexual assault, both for the allegedly involved ZBT Brandeis chapter and for the larger Brandeis Greek community, according to a member of the organization’s leadership.

According to the same ZBT member, the group will meet with the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance to work on these initiatives.

“[Sexual assault] does happen on college campuses way more than we think it does,” said Julia Dougherty ’15, the vice president of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.

“This is not talked about very much, but it happens, and it happens here.”

—Jeffrey Boxer, Sam Mintz and Andrew Wingens contributed reporting. 

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