Students at meeting agree: Stand up to friends behaving inappropriately

NEW ORLEANS (February 21, 2019) – Stand up to your friends – rather than remain silent – if you see them behaving inappropriately: That was the consensus of a campus discussion Jan. 16 about sexual improprieties spurred by the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series.

Hosted in the Student Union Theater by Leah Erby, parliamentarian of the Student Government Association and a Chicago junior, the first SGA event of semester was attended by about 35 residents. In order to have a safe place to share, Erby said, no administration representatives were present other than Dillard counselors.

Kelly, famed singer/songwriter/producer, was the subject of a six-part series on Lifetime that examined his career and lifestyle, including rumors of sexual and mental abuse and pedophilia. It featured alleged victims, exes, relatives and others connected to the celebrity.

Erby said the idea for the public discussion was prompted by Twitter chatter in which many people blamed the women involved, saying they brought the incidents on themselves.

Erby asked, “Why do you all think the women are not believable?” The answers ranged from being scared to speak initially to suggestions that they were making the allegations for financial gain.

However, the conversation moved from R. Kelly to the issue of the threat of sexual assault on college campuses. Students said that, like the women involved with R. Kelly, college women fear complaints will not be believed. Some also pointed to the threat posed by some off-campus guests being on campus and in dorms.

To the question, “Are we safe?” a proposal was offered that DU police be required to walk students to their dorms at night.

Mr. Dillard Joseph Caldwell, who also is student director for The Men of Dillard, suggested that complaints about male inappropriate behavior come to his organization.