A Tumblr called the Hyde Park List accusing several students of committing sexual assault or sexual harassment roiled the University this weekend. The list was also posted around campus and has led to extensive media attention.
The Hyde Park List named six current and former male students, and labeled each as “code red” or “code orange,” with red as “the most severe offenders,” according to the site. One student’s entry included, “Note: Often at fraternity parties.” The Tumblr, which states that it was created by “concerned citizens,” purports to “[keep] the community safe—since the University won't.” The creator of the Tumblr did not respond to an e-mail request for an interview.
A link to the Tumblr was posted in the Facebook group Overheard at UChicago on Sunday, though both the Facebook post and the Tumblr were taken down later that night. By Tuesday, however, the Tumblr was back online, taking submissions for names and soliciting help to clarify the color-coding system. Print versions of the list were also distributed around campus, Jezebel reported.
The University News Office has no comment on the Hyde Park List.
This kind of list is neither a new nor a recent phenomenon on university campuses. Last May flyers with the name of four alleged male rapists circulated throughout Columbia University, drawing international attention and controversy. The list at Columbia alleged that three of the men on the list had been found “responsible” for sexual assaults by the university, and alleged the fourth was a “serial rapist.” CNN reported that none of the men appeared in a New York Police Department 2014 database of criminal activity.
In November 1990, The New York Times reported that lists of names of alleged rapists appeared in bathrooms at Brown University. Janitors attempted to scrub off the lists, one of which contained up to 30 names, only for them to be re-written. Similar graffiti appeared at Columbia this past spring.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is currently investigating both UChicago and Columbia for potential breaches of Title IX, a law to prevent sex-based discrimination. The campus-wide investigation of UChicago stems from a student complaint filed in March 2013.
Since the investigation began, the University has altered its handling of sexual assault cases. The changes took effect this July and included updating two sexual assault policies, adding a new associate dean of students in the University to deal with sexual assault, and establishing a new University-wide disciplinary committee to hear complaints. The University recently endorsed It’s on Us, a national initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses.