Rape Happens Here: Sexual Assault Crisis at Swarthmore

The college used to resolve student conflicts in the Quaker tradition. Then came 91 complaints of sexual misconduct. In a single year.

Simon van Zuylen-Wood has a deep-dive feature in May’s Philadelphia magazine on a crisis at Swarthmore College: 91 reports of sexual misconduct in one year.

As the issue of campus assault gains national media traction, stories about incompetent or callous administrators have become bleakly — almost numbingly — familiar. But Sendrow’s account is also quite specific to Swarthmore. The unrest that’s roiled the little U.S. News & World Report juggernaut 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia over the past year — including dozens of allegations of student-on-student sexual assault, two federal investigations, two student-filed federal lawsuits, and four (unprecedented) expulsions for sexual misconduct — nominally revolves around a campus rape problem and an administration accused of abetting it. But the conflict in fact runs deeper: Swarthmore’s 150-year-old Quaker-inspired governing philosophy has collided with the far less forgiving demands of contemporary campus life.

During Swarthmore’s investigation, the school found that a student had committed sexual assault and expelled him; he is now suing the college. You can also read the Title IX complaint against Swarthmore and the college’s official response.

Swarthmore: Rape Happens Here