The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Nicolas Cristescu, a former Miami student, was convicted of gross sexual imposition and sentenced last Monday to five years in prison. Cristescu, a sophomore who remained enrolled in school until the start of this semester, drugged, raped and filmed an unconscious woman, who was also a Miami student, in a Heritage Commons dorm last October.
The charges of rape, sexual battery and voyeurism he initially faced were dropped due to a plea bargain, and he was only indicted for the third-degree felony. His five-year sentence is the maximum allowed for sexual imposition.
Miami has not acknowledged the case except for one obligatory campus crime alert email, sent out Oct. 19 last year, which provided only a bare description of Cristescu and a note that “a female student reported to the Miami University police that she was sexually assaulted by a male known to her.”
This is unacceptable.
This case is one of many glaring incidents of sexual assault that happen on Miami’s campus. This is an extreme case, but it is not a standalone issue. Miami neglecting to acknowledge the case not only downplays what happened but perpetuates an air of ignorance surrounding campus sexual assault.
This is not normal. We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to incidents of sexual abuse, and we must hold our university accountable for recognizing what takes place here.
Miami offers a lot of preventative measures meant to curb sexual assault: the It’s On Us campaign, informative orientation assemblies and, most recently, a policy that will limit residence hall access during certain times of the night. But the school itself can’t directly stop assaults from occurring and should stop pretending that preventative efforts alone are enough.
We need action. We need to know that student perpetrators will be held accountable for their reprehensible behavior. While we are under under no delusion that Miami can directly put a stop to all campus sexual assault, the university can assuredly be more direct in its handling of this issue.
The Miami Student has been covering the Cristescu case since last fall, but we cannot reach everyone on campus. The university can. Making other students aware of incidents like this is necessary not just for safety reasons, but because perpetrators need to be aware that these actions have consequences — not just for themselves, but for the victims.
Students need to understand that this could be anyone – victim and perpetrator alike. It could be the girl who sits across from you in class, your frat brother, that kid you pass on the way to campus, the girl sitting alone in Kofenya, the guy you bumped into at Brick or your best friend. It could be anyone.
Campus sexual assault is not a uniquely Miami problem; it’s a nationwide issue. But Miami choosing not to acknowledge this particularly egregious incident is damaging — not only to the university’s reputation, but to its students.