Women+ in Computer Science Letter of Solidarity for Organizing for Survivors (O4S)

As members of Women+ in Computer Science, we voice our support for the survivors and allies involved in the movement that Organizing for Survivors has led.

The College must be held accountable for the improper actions they have taken in addressing sexual assault cases. They have allowed their students to feel unsafe, silenced, and disrespected. We demand that the College apologize for its wrongdoings, properly handle sexual assault cases on campus, and address the problems O4S has brought to light by changing policies and systemic flaws. We stand by O4S and their continuing efforts in generating much-needed change on this college campus.

Our organization aims to support the community of women and non-binary, underrepresented students in the Computer Science department. Sexual harassment is incredibly pervasive in the computer science and technology industry. In recent years, more and more have spoken out about their experiences with sexual assault and the failure of companies to address this misconduct. Victim-blaming, gaslighting, and retaliation are common reactions to those who tell their stories of sexual harassment. This problem disproportionately hurts those who are underrepresented in the field, and the ones who speak out end up with negative emotional repercussions. We find it completely unacceptable that the College has used these same harmful tactics, among other unacceptable behaviors, to make survivors on campus feel silenced and dismissed.

We reaffirm our mission to create a safe, accessible community for individuals in our department and beyond. As such, we commit to continuing conversations with each other, our classmates, faculty members, prospective students, and college alumni, about the College’s mistreatment of sexual assault cases. We demand that Swarthmore College make the policy changes necessary and address the issues that have been brought to the forefront of our community. We fully support O4S and those involved in furthering their efforts, and we encourage others to commit themselves to this movement. Together, we can help reimagine a transformed system in which those who have been harmed may hopefully begin to heal and those who come after may feel safer and protected.

In solidarity with O4S,

W+iCS Executive Board

Ellen Liu

Jessica Berg

Michelle Ma

Cindy Li  

Rose Kolinsky

Caroline Reynier