Content warning: Sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape
Instagram accounts with the goal of exposing the identity of students who have been accused of sexual assault have grabbed the attention of Loyola students and community members.
Within days of each other, two accounts with similar goals were created — one of which has since been deleted.
The account that’s still online shares stories that include the full names, social media handles and photos of those accused of sexual misconduct. It was created Sept. 13 and has since gained over 1,200 followers. As of Sept. 16, the account has 10 posts that detail claims of sexual misconduct.
The Phoenix hasn’t verified any of the stories posted to the account.
The account encourages people to share their stories with them via direct messages, and then summarizes their stories in the captions of public posts. The photos attached are screenshots of the accused students’ social media accounts, dating profiles or other identifying information.
“Have a story of sexual assault? Send us their picture and name, we aren’t afraid to share them,” the account’s Instagram bio reads.
In an email sent to the Loyola community Sept. 14, the university confirmed the accounts were targeting Loyola students.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have resulted in public accusations of named Loyola students without a formal investigation or due process,” the email read.
The email was signed by Jane Neufeld, vice president for student development, who wrote Loyola students should file reports of sexual misconduct with the Office of Equity and Compliance (OEC).
“To the extent that some have suggested otherwise, let me assure you that the Office for Equity & Compliance (OEC) follows up on any report received and promptly investigates every formal complaint that is filed by a Loyola student,” Neufeld wrote in the email. “As with any ongoing investigation, it is important to withhold judgment.”
Neufeld said the posts could infringe on the trust Loyola students have in the university’s sexual assault reporting process.
“Additionally, this has led to the spreading of unsubstantiated information that only undermines our community’s trust in established protocols and response to sexual misconduct, which is harmful to the University community,” she wrote in the email.
But, in a post published after the university’s email, the account owner suggested students might be wary of taking their stories to the university.
“LUC completely washes their hands of any responsibility they hold towards WHY students do not trust the University to handle their assault case with respect,” the post read. “Rather than addressing the multiple cases which they have fumbled, LUC decided to blame my account for universal distrust within the Loyola community.”
Tim Love, the executive director for equity and compliance and Title IX coordinator, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
As the posts gained attention online, a digital flyer began circulating encouraging students to show up for a demonstration planned for 4 p.m. Sept. 17 at Loyola’s Sullivan Center on Lake Shore Campus.
“It’s time our school protects victims,” the digital protest flyer reads.
This isn’t the first time Loyola students have expressed disappointment in the university’s sexual assault reporting process.
Three Loyola students accused a male student of sexually assaulting them in separate on-campus incidents, The Phoenix reported in 2019. All three filed reports with the university, and the accused student was found guilty of rape — but that conclusion took months, and the women said the university allowed a “serial predator” to remain at Loyola while it conducted the investigations.
Another Loyola student went to OEC in 2019, alleging a male Loyola student had raped her — following investigation, the student she accused was expelled from the university in April of that year, The Phoenix reported. However, a month after the accused student was kicked off campus, he walked the stage at graduation.
Accusations against Loyola students weren’t the only cases where those who brought cases to the OEC expressed frustration — in 2020, a Loyola professor continued teaching on campus after a university investigation found evidence of ‘unprofessioinal and sexual harassing behavior.’
Students who wish to file a report of sexual misconduct with the university can do so through the OEC website, luc.edu/equity. If a student wants to speak to a confidential advocate — which doesn’t trigger a formal report — they can call “The Line” at 773-494-3810.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and isn’t associated with Loyola. Their helpline can be reached at 800-656-4673.