With new basketball coach Steve Alford's handling of the Pierre Pierce situation at Iowa still a fresh topic of conversation for UCLA fans, news broke this evening that UCLA freshman water polo player Hakop Kaplanyan was arrested last week on suspicion of rape. UCLA has immediately suspended Kaplanyan:
University officials did not release many details about the alleged incident.
In a statement they said Kaplanyan, 18 and an undeclared freshman from Glendale, "has been suspended from the university, subject to an appeal." The incident remains under investigation.
A female student reported that Kaplanyan, who was an acquittance, had raped her inside his residence hall, said Nancy Greenstein, UCLA Police Department spokeswoman.
She reported the attack to police late on April 2, and Kaplanyan was arrested without incident.
If proven true, this would obviously be a terrible criminal act to hit home in Westwood. So far, the university has taken the appropriate first step in suspending the accused (who remains presumed innocent until proven guilty). So far, UCLA has shown it can use the proper manner in handling these situations, unlike a certain new coaching hire in Westwood, and of course, Coach Adam Wright isn't hitting the media rounds to declare his player's innocence (and whether he is innocent or not, the proper course of action is to refrain on commenting while the investigation is on-going).
It is rather disconcerting given the other reported incidents of sexual assault on or near campus. Naturally, given another on-campus incidence of sexual violence, is begs some questions:
- Is Recessive Gene is doing what is necessary to protect students on campus?
- Or is Chianti Dan's hiring of Steve Alford (and his unapologetic mishandling of the Pierce situation) an indication of a tonedeaf administration in Westwood?
Fire away with your thoughts.
UPDATE 4/10 - gbruin: On Tuesday, the LA Times updated the story, releasing statements from the accused's attorney claiming that the accused and victim were dating and that the sex was consensual.
As we have said, Kaplanyan, like any defendant in the United States, is innocent until proven guilty, and we will trust the legal system to work properly and reveal the truth about this incident. So this report in that hard hitting investigative beacon of journalism called the LA Times is nothing new or surprising.
What is somewhat surprising to me is that the media has failed to make the obvious connection discuss any sort of parallel between this incident and the much discussed past incident with Steve Alford and the Pierre Pierce case at Iowa. Though the two events are obviously not directly related, the manner of handling the incidents should be of keen interest to all. So far, U.C.L.A. has handled this appropriately and has made no further comment. In doing so, the University has neither further victimized a young woman and supported a rapist, nor has the University falsely hanged a wrongly accused student without letting the legal system investigate the events.
The truth is, until the facts of this case are entirely revealed, none of us can be certain whose story is more accurate, and U.C.L.A. is handling this properly by avoiding any further comment.
I hope Coach Alford is paying close attention.