On Sunday, Eckerd College President Donald Eastman sent an "open letter" to all students and faculty urging students to cut back on alcohol and casual sex in order to prevent sexual assault. He says that by doing so, students will address the "nexus of problems" surrounding sexual assault.
"You know that these incidents are almost always preceded by consumption, often heavy consumption, of alcohol, often by everyone involved in them," the Florida college president wrote. The full letter was published by the Current, Eckerd's student paper.
Eastman condemned casual sex, writing that "No one’s culture or character or understanding is improved by casual sex." He added that "those who are virtuous are happier as well as healthier," and referred to how "Western Culture" values virtue.
"I was trying to say that we would have a healthier and less dangerous campus if people drank less and took their sexual relations more seriously," Eastman clarified in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
Joshua R. Keeler, an alumnus of the school, began a Change.org petition asking Eastman to readdress the issue of sexual assault.
"I believe that laying the blame solely at the feet of the two issues you mentioned is an injustice to those affected by sexual assault, and will not solve the problem," Keeler wrote.
Eastman came under fire for remarks about sexual assault the same week that Robert Jennings at Lincoln University resigned his presidency after telling female students to not put themselves in dangerous situations. Former George Washington University president Stephen Trachtenberg was also criticized this summer for saying that women need to be sober enough to "punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave."
Eckerd did not return a request for comment.