Previous coverage from the sex crime investigation involving former Vanderbilt University football players. More >>
Previous coverage from the sex crime investigation involving former Vanderbilt University football players.More >>
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
Vanderbilt University and its head football coach are taking heat for their response to the alleged gang rape of a student by now-former football players in a campus dormitory.
Some of the backlash is coming from the university's own alumni who say the school is not doing enough in its response to the disturbing allegations.
Robert Funke, who graduated from Vanderbilt in 2009, didn't mince words when he wrote a letter to the university, saying, "Since the arrest of four Vandy players for allegedly raping an unconscious Vandy student, I've had a hard time feeling good about my allegiance."
Channel 4 spoke with the Los Angeles-based screenwriter and online blogger about why he decided to go public with the letter that is now posted on a sports blog.
"Hearing that players that we've recruited had done something like that was pretty devastating," Funke said.
And he's not the only one who's upset with the university's response to the rape investigation.
In Thursday's edition of The Tennessean, a letter to the editor addressed the alleged attack and the indictment's claims that it was recorded.
"Vanderbilt's football team should cancel this year's season out of respect to a young woman attacked and photographed by members of the Vanderbilt football team," a concerned Nashvillian wrote.
"To say just because we kicked them off the team that I should feel totally fine, I think, is disingenuous," Funke said.
And, in the blog post, the Vanderbilt alumnus also has a proposal for the university, suggesting the school's athletics department should team up with the campus women's center to, in his words, "show that Vanderbilt football stands with survivors of sexual violence."
"Vanderbilt can take this opportunity to say the allegations remind us how important it is to support women on campus and women in our culture who face a lot of fear of sexual violence," Funke said.
Channel 4 News reached out to Vanderbilt University officials for a response to these letters.
In a statement, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune said:
"We understand that there is deep concern – among our Vanderbilt campus community, our alumni and the general public – surrounding the allegations of this incident that happened on our campus. We appreciate efforts to galvanize our alumni and others to support Vanderbilt, particularly our Women's Center, in an effort to make our campus safer and show support for victims of sexual assault. We are considering the most appropriate way to call attention to the problem of sexual violence in society – especially on college campuses. The safety of our campus has been and always will be a priority and a large number of people work diligently every day in the hope that our students do not become victims of crime."
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