Why we published the name of an alleged rapist
This afternoon we published an article about Emma Sulkowicz, CC ’15, filing a police report against another student who allegedly raped her in 2012. In that article, Spectator named her alleged attacker as Jean-Paul Nungesser, CC ’15. Sulkowicz’s story has been widely reported by both campus and national media, and she has been heavily involved in the activism on campus surrounding sexual assault policy this year. However, this was the first time that her alleged assailant had been named publicly.
In the interest of transparency, we want to explain our thinking. We made the decision to publish his name for a combination of reasons. First, and most importantly, because Sulkowicz filed a police report this week, the information in that report—including the name of the suspect—is publicly available. Furthermore, Sulkowicz and other students have said that she and two other women filed separate complaints against Nungesser through the University. Although these students have said that he was found “not responsible” in each case, the fact remains that three women have now accused Nungesser of sexual assault through the University’s adjudication process. Finally, Nungesser’s name was one of four listed on flyers and bathroom stalls this week, putting him at the center of the campus controversy surrounding sexual assault. When we considered these three factors together, we decided it would be irresponsible for Spectator to keep his name hidden.
Some people may think that we should respect his privacy since none of the allegations against Nungesser that Spectator knows about have been proven true by the University’s adjudication process. Indeed, just because Spectator is legally able to publish something does not mean that we are obligated to do so, or that doing so is necessarily the right decision. However, we feel that to hide or redact his name at this point would be doing a disservice to students on campus and to the truth of this story.
The choice to include his name in this article was a difficult one. We understand that this decision carries significant consequences—reputational and otherwise—for Nungesser, and we do not treat this matter lightly. However, we believe it is necessary to include his name.
We have chosen to leave comments closed on this post, as we want our message here to be clear to all readers. This is not meant to prevent dialogue around this issue. In fact, we encourage you to comment on the article and to email us if you would like to share your thoughts directly. You can send any questions, comments, or concerns to email@example.com.
Abby Abrams, editor in chief
Steven Lau, managing editor
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