Skidmore Student Found Responsible for Attack Suspended for Additional Two Years

WAMC Northeast Public Radio

On Wednesday, Kiefer was informed that her attacker would be given a two-year suspension. She said she initially hesitated to share the news.

“Then I decided, ‘You know what? These people have been by my side 100 percent this whole time, and I want them to know what’s going on.’ I want them to be a part of this because they’ve been a part of it, and I think it feels good to me to share that.”

Kiefer said she was satisfied to know that her attacker would not return to Skidmore during her tenure, but said the two-year suspension feels “incomplete.”

“I think in my case, specifically, because I can’t speak for everyone, penetration by incapacitation should be sufficient for expulsion.”

Kiefer’s attorney, James Marsh, said with Skidmore’s conclusive determination of the attack, the two-year suspension does not go far enough.

“When you have that kind of a conclusive determination with regards to this kind of behavior, the only alternative really is expulsion.”

But the campus conversation is not stopping. Marsh said Kiefer’s situation is rather unusual as most victims choose not to go public.

“Victims and survivors of sexual assault don’t want their picture in the paper or their name on the radio, so she really has pushed this issue and inspired a change at Skidmore in the way that they handle this.”

One student inspired by the protest and level of support for Kiefer is junior Abby Woodhouse. Woodhouse started a Facebook group called “Stand With Survivors.”

“I didn’t want that conversation to end once the protest was over, or once this specific trial was over, or once the school released a statement. I wanted to keep this going because it’s bigger than this one case, it’s bigger than Skidmore, it’s bigger than just universities. It’s an issue.”

Kiefer said she initially experienced a lack of community in her past two years on campus, but she said that’s no longer true.

“I sort of expected 50 people to show up to the hearing and half of them to be my best friends, but instead it just took off as this movement and it was something I never anticipated. And it’s strange to be labeled as an activist without pursuing that purposefully. It sort of just happened.”

Kiefer said her next wish is to meet with New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been at the forefront of combating campus sexual assault nationally.

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