A former department director of the University of Bologna he plea-bargained one year and eight months for harassment and sexual assault on three female students who attended his classes. The sentence dates back to last October, but was made public a few days after the Day against violence against women. “The penalty – explains the lawyer Maria Milli Virgil that with Malaconsiliaa self-managed student consultancy, followed the three members of the Bolognese university from the complaint to the proceeding – it was subject to conditional suspension provided that the former teacher undergoes a recovery course at the centers that assist abusive men ” .
Only today the students decided to tell what had happened to them, between harassment and insults, at different times (two about a year ago, for another the facts date back to 2013) in an open letter. Taking courage they turned to Malaconsilia: the former professor was dismissed in February. “We need to monitor what happens in university spaces – he explains Silvia Mazzagliaactivist of the Counseling department who, for Friday 25 November, International Day against Gender Violence, launched a garrison at 17.30 under the Portico dei Servi – in this case the university intervened promptly and took measures, but we know that similar cases that could be many”.
“This story highlights a problem we know, structural – explains the lawyer Virgilio – in man-woman relationships, which see power relations accentuated in the academic field. Meritorious is the commitment of Malaconsilia who has uncovered a vase whose content we knew, in the sense that these facts were known in the academic field. There was also a context which, in a certain sense, tolerated these facts, it was important to stop all of this. If women don’t feel left alone, these episodes can be fought”.
“We have shown that it is possible for female students to get out of situations of violence and also have answers from justice, for this reason we continue to ask for a space for counseling at the university”, she says Naomi DiIorioof the collective. “Now we have given a clear signal and, as the students state in their letter, “if we don’t keep quiet they will have no escape”.
When asked by the University of Bologna, the university defended itself by saying that “as soon as it receives the report, the University immediately intervened with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, transmitting all the information in its possession. Jointly, a provision has been made to suspend the teacher from any teaching function until the conclusion of the investigation”. And it concludes: “The University reaffirms its convinced and decisive commitment to combating all forms of gender-based violence. As proof of this commitment, a specific anti-violence desk was set up last October, in agreement with the Casa delle Donne of Bologna, open to the entire Alma Mater community. A measure that is still rare for the Italian university panorama, and which we believe is fundamental”.