Duke rape case summons dissenting opinions on campus

Some students at Florida A&M University expressed sorrow for the alleged rape victim of members of the Duke University lacrosse team. Other, however, believe that the situation could have been avoided.

A woman who was hired as an exotic dancer accused members of the lacrosse team of raping her during a party at a house rented by the team captains. The woman, a student at North Carolina Central University, said that she had become an exotic dancer in order to pay for her education and support her daughter.

At FAMU, single mothers and workers in the field of exotic dancing have differing opinions about the situation that occurred March 13.

Roland Gaines, vice chancellor of student affairs at NCCU, spoke about the alleged rape and what is occurring on the NCCU campus. “First of all, we cannot confirm if the story is true or not because the student will not step forward,” said Gaines, a former registrar at FAMU. “The students are leading the action more so than the administration by holding meetings to come up with other methods of helping out with the situation.”

The statistics released from the FAMU Police Department show that between 2003 and 2005, six reports of forcible sexual offenses have occurred on the campus.

Nedra Gilliam, 25, a health care graduate student from Tallahassee, is a mother who believes she has to be careful of what path she may choose when it comes to supporting her child and education. “Other means should be looked at when it comes to supporting a child. In this case she needed to set an example for her daughter,” Gilliam said.

A FAMU student majoring in social work from Atlanta, Gilliam has been in the profession for about five years. She said that rape and robbery are two of the biggest risks to take when going into such a profession.

In the case of the March 13 rape that occurred at Duke University, the student, who asked to not be identified, said, “I would not go with just two people to perform for about 40 men. Even though the women thought that there would be about five men there, the moment I would have saw that there was more than that, I would have been gone.”

Dana Moody, 25, a senior psychology student from Jacksonville, said that there is absolutely no excuse for what occurred. “The woman should get a fair trial. The people who are guilty should get what they deserve; they violated the woman’s rights,” Moody said. “Occupation has nothing to do with what happened.”

Gilliam however, believes that occupation played a role in the woman being in such a situation. “If you don’t have respect for yourself, then no one will respect you. I think the woman made the wrong choice in becoming an exotic dancer,” Gilliam said.

While Gilliam did not like the idea of being an exotic dancer, she said that it did not give the Duke lacrosse team members the right to rape the woman. “It shows that the guys have issues if they are going to rape her. But with that profession, there are other roads to take.”

Gaines said that being an exotic dancer is not the best way to go when looking for ways to pay for college. He said one of the chancellors is “setting up an event for students which can help those who need help with funds for their education.”

Contact Cherise Wilkerson at famuannews@hotmail.com