Seventh Testimony, Ole Alum:
Note: this testimony is the redacted form of a letter sent to David Anderson’s secretary. It is an update of the fifth testimony. Contact the sender at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear [David Anderson’s Secretary],
I understand that you are the secretary of David Anderson, the president of St. Olaf College. I do not have a WORD attachment to my Acer laptop, so I will write in email form.
I request that you give this email to Dr. Anderson, the Board of Regents and Dean and Provost Sorter. Thank you.
Dear President Anderson,
I am a 69-year-old woman, an alumnus of St. Olaf from the 60s and a victim of sexual harassment and abuse by my teacher, [name redacted], now dead. This is the first time I have named him aloud, but have found courage because of the efforts of Madeline Wilson and the women and men that have stepped forward in the last month. This is hard for me and I feel my body shaking as I write, Not from fear, but from putting my memories down, and so reliving them.
I was a music major when I started school at the age of 17. [The professor] noticed me right away, commended me for my artistry, put me in a prominent seat in his [ensemble] and began the grooming process. From the very beginning, he pestered me almost daily. Since I needed to use the practice rooms for hours on end and his office was in the same building, I was easy prey. If I was not there, I would get notes in my po box summoning me to his office. If he found me in a practice room, he would distract me by sitting in and commenting on my playing—or just chattering.
I was innocent, but sensed something was not right. He would drive me home sometimes, once in a while taking me out into the country for coffee, without asking permission or considering I was a full-time student with hundreds of hours of practicing and papers to get done.. On one of these jaunts, he parked in the dark and kissed me on the lips. I remember thinking that this couldn’t be real—until he touched my breast. I remember pondering it all night, wondering if I’d imagined it. I didn’t know what to do and kept silent–like a lamb to slaughter.
When I was a sophomore, I quit the band to get away from him. I was accepted into the St. Olaf Choir that year but [the teacher] continued to hound me–even calling me at any time, day or night at my off-campus housing. He would cajole me under the guise of advising me as if he cared about me and my bad choices (like joining the choir). That summer, I lived in Minneapolis so that I could study with my [instrument] teacher. He tracked me down. He took me out to dinner several times. He said he wanted to present me as soloist with the [ensemble] the coming year. I was flattered and excited and accepted. I was the soloist for not only that year, but the following year, as a senior. All of the time, I felt squeamish and beholding to him. The unhappy (for me) sexual escapades continued, mostly in his car. It was a form of blackmail. He wanted ME, and didn’t care about anything else, lastly, me.
In my senior year, I called it quits. He continued to pursue me, however. Once he entered my practice room, turned off the light, and violently pushed me against the wall and tried to force himself on me. I screamed “NO” and he stopped.
I think he feared I would “out” him, because the next semester, he took a European sabbatical, Prior to his leaving, he acted like a zombie and others noticed this too. On tour, while I was performing my solo, he did not look at me once–even though the conductor and soloist need constant communication while on stage. It was as though I directed the whole band and he was a bystander waving his arms. He lost all professionalism.
As you might imagine, I have been deeply haunted throughout my life. I was an innocent child when I entered St. Olaf. I left four years later a hardened and distrustful child/woman. [The teacher] abused my body, but most of all my spirit. His actions have dominated my decisions in life, and have caused me depression, guilt and self-doubt. I’ve become a champion at compartmentalizing, something which all victims need to do to survive. It is exhausting and takes its toll on me and my family to this day.
Your students in the gray shirts are going through it right now. They are your children.
Sixth Testimony, Ole Alum:
Note: this testimony is the redacted form of a letter which the sender plans to send to the Board of Regents.
I went on an [redacted] interim with this professor. It was to be a wonderful, educational experience, but it ruined my life. My husband and I have worked through all this, including the change in my self-image that resulted from being exploited sexually and emotionally by this professor. Because of this relationship, I skipped some campus events (as a student) that I otherwise wouldn’t have, and that I still have some regrets about. I also still have feelings of great ambivalence toward the college when I am up on campus.
This prof used to invite students along for a walk when he went to scope out the next day’s events. One day, he asked me. After a while, he took my hand while we walked. What did I think? I wasn’t sure, but I was in a foreign country with the man who was in charge of my food and lodging.
He groomed me for his exploitation by his actions on the interim. He isolated me. He routinely put me with roommates with whom I was incompatible and who didn’t like me and who I was uncomfortable around, especially since one of them stole my camera film (pre-cell phones and digital cameras). He pretended he didn’t know that my real friends on the trip wanted me to share a room with them, even though they asked him to have me assigned to room with them.
He took me to a restaurant another night. Somewhere in the remainder of the trip, after I had had 2-3 large glasses of wine (as was customary at our group’s evening meal), at the conclusion of the meal, he invited me to his room, knowing full well I was intoxicated. You know what followed.
After we returned to campus, he placed a note in my post office box on campus asking me to visit him in his office. We met once a week in his office [redacted location] for sex. My contact with him continued after graduation, although we never had any intimate relations after I left campus. He pursued me with weekly letters, phone calls and uninvited visits to my place of work to solicit sex from me for another year and a half! He offered to take me on college-sponsored art trips and pan me off as his ‘secretary.’
You should also know that he tried to give me [redacted description of property] that was in the school’s collection (I didn’t accept it) and that he tried to fire a student worker in his department so that I could have that job.
At the end of the school year, but before finals, he invited me to his house in Northfield. I was to appear at the door with a package, as if I was delivering something, just in case the neighbors saw me. Once inside, he told me to stay away from the windows. I assume what followed was to feed his fantasies while he was at home. Or maybe put a notch on his desk.
He betrayed his trust to the college, a Christian school, by approaching students for sexual relationships. He betrayed his trust to his students by viewing them as potential sex objects. He betrayed his wife. He betrayed his role of being in loco parentis while being in charge of students off campus. And he betrayed my trust in him as a well-thought of professor. He had access to my personal information. He had the power of grading, recommendations and inserting things, true or not, into my personal file. And I was too naïve to realize that I could have told someone in administration about it, although it is doubtful much would have been done about it, given the attitude regarding date rape on campus that prevailed at that time. But I didn’t want my family to know about it.
He expressed no remorse toward what he was doing to his long-suffering wife. Married to this man, having to listen to how great he was, and knowing what he really was. Because she knew. He also had no guilt feelings about any repercussions that this would have on my future.
I also know that I was not his first student paramour. I am sure I was not the last. During my time at St. Olaf as[name redacted] student sex provider he called me by the name of his previous conquest and later after I graduated and he continued to pursue me he called me by the name of his next conquest/victim. [Name redacted] was indeed a busy man.
I also know that there were other professors that did the same thing. And I am sure you do too.
I have no illusions that the college will do anything to right the wrong he did to me and the other girls. What I would like to see is the college do something to prevent this from happening to anyone else. There are programs about date-rape, offensive speech and all sorts of things. How about a program about what to do when a person in a position of greater power than you—specifically a St. Olaf College professor– approaches you sexually? You could even take the high road and extend the concept so that it also applies to post-graduation institutions and workplaces. There should also be severe penalties for St. Olaf professors that have sex with a student.
And really, how about [type of memorialization redacted]? I want to vomit when I see it. Instead of being glorified by St. Olaf, he should have been fired. Plain and simple. Princeton University is setting the record straight about Woodrow Wilson and his racism. St. Olaf has the chance to do the same with Professor [name redacted]. For all I know, St. Olaf had a file on him that kept track of his peccadillos and should have taken action.
St. Olaf can do a number of things. It can take sexual exploitations of professors seducing and molesting female students (or male!) out of the closet. It should be discussed openly during student orientation. It can start a discussion in any of its many forums and venues. It can ask students to come forward with their experiences, especially his former students. I am sure there are lots of ways that St. Olaf can address this matter.
I want to see something done. [Name redacted] was a sexual predator.
You may contact me at email@example.com.
Fifth Testimony, Ole Alum:
Fourth Testimony, a former Ole from within the past 3 years:
Third Testimony, from an ’03 alum:
First Testimony, from a former member of the class of 2016:
If you are interested in sharing your experience, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do also note that we are interested in protecting the anonymity of all parties involved to reduce the risk of retaliation and harassment charges.