Letter: USD students should hold university accountable through #MeToo movement

If you have watched the #MeToo movement unfold around the nation, but have no clue how it affects you directly on a daily basis, you’re not alone. That was me, until a few weeks ago, when I sat down with a friend and heard for the second time about the alleged sexual harassment concerning Douglas “Papa Doug” Manchester — or maybe more commonly known to students from the Manchester Hall Admissions Building.

When I came across articles published by the Voice of San Diego, Washington Post, The Hill and the San Diego Union-Tribune, I was in awe. Unfortunately, I was not surprised by sexual harassment allegations. But, I was surprised that university officials had not made any sort of statement, and still have not to this day regarding Manchester, the donor of at least five buildings to University of San Diego, including a child development center.

When Manchester accused a woman of being opportunistic who received a settlement from him for unwanted hugs, he furthered the culture of victim-blaming, something the university should not stand for. The message the Manchester Admissions Building sends to future students is that the university is not only aware of this behavior, but is compliant with Manchester’s behavior being swept under the rug, yet again.

Manchester’s presence on the USD campus is a clear example of how the university does not properly respond to allegations of sexual assault or acknowledge the trauma of survivors. In light of the #MeToo era, university officials should come forward and discuss the allegations surrounding Manchester in a public forum. The university must create a responsible policy surrounding donorship that aligns with University of San Diego’s core values, which the students should hold them accountable to.

Jessica Dockstader is a peace and justice graduate student at USD.


Editor’s Note: The USD Vista was unable to run this letter due to spacing limitations. However, the #MeToo movement is a pertinent issue, especially on college campuses, and perspectives should be shared regardless of the university discussed.