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Students react to SDSU's handling of rape allegations

This should be an exciting time for SDSU students. They’re heading into a fresh school year with a new stadium just days away from opening. But many now feel like their reputation is tarnished because of how recent rape allegations have been handled. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado has more.

Christian Smith said Monday that he takes a lot of pride in being a first-year student athlete at San Diego State University.

He worked hard to be in his current position. But now, with gang-rape allegations against football players coming to light, he feels he must work even harder to overcome the assumptions people make when they think about SDSU Athletics.

"It's going to be a learning experience because now we have to build back that trust and help others realize that San Diego State is actually a beautiful campus and actually a place that’s ... diverse and welcoming," said Smith, who is a baseball player. "We have to break that reputation of being a sexual assaulter place — like, we can’t have that."


Resources at SDSU for sexual assault victims

SDSU Counseling & Psychological Services: (619) 594-5220 (non-emergency)

Counseling Access & Crisis Line: (888) 724-7240,

Student Health Services, Calpulli Center: (619) 594-5281,

SDSU Police Department: (619) 594-1991

Center for Community Solutions: (888) 385-4657 (bilingual rape crisis hotline),

Last week, former star punter Matt Araiza and two other former SDSU players were accused in a civil lawsuit of gang-raping a then 17-year-old girl last October at an off-campus party. The former players have denied the accusations through their lawyers. The San Diego Police Department referred the criminal case to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, which to date, has not pressed charges.

Smith said the teachers and coaches are top notch, but he fears they will lose good athletes because of this case.
"I definitely think now it’s going to be a factor on whether they come here now, because I wouldn’t want to go to a school that has a bad rep," he said. "But meeting the coaches and facilities here — it’s amazing,"   

A group of young women who were on their way to class on Monday, said the University's handling of the case confirms what they’ve felt for a long time.

"It’s not that I feel completely unsafe around campus it’s just feels almost, betrayal because it’s proof that they really — they don’t value the safety of women here as much as they value football players," said Isabella Jacobs, a 19-year-old sophomore.

Eileen Solano, an 18-year-old sophomore, said when she gets emails from the university, many are promoting the new stadium and football team, not offering support.


"As as woman this hurts more because our president is a woman too, and I feel that there should be more support," Solano said. "The emails that are being sent out are not supportive at all. I don’t like how the situation is being handled by the school."

University officials did not respond to a request for comment from KPBS.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.