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SU students protest Kavanaugh, Reed blames Democrats for delaying allegations

Syracuse University students told personal stories of their own sexual assault experiences and rape culture on campus at a walkout Thursday against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused of sexual misconduct. Sarah Epelman, a senior, said there is no accountability from the Trump administration and she encouraged the crowd to stick together.  

“We are powerful, our ideas are thoughtful, our rage is valid and our voices are strong," Epelman said. 'So don’t let this momentum die. Listen to one another, mobilize each other, vote. While Kavanaugh’s nomination is the current issue, it won’t be the last."

Some upstate Republican members of Congress have condemned President Donald Trump for apparently mocking the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) said he does not agree with mocking Ford.

"But I do believe, if I read the transcript of what he said correctly, he was just questioning some of the details of what were presented at the hearing," Reed said. "If mocking is the situation, then obviously, we disagree with that."

Reed also said he is more concerned that Democrats used Ford as a political tool and waited to use her complaint at an opportunist time.

"That sends a very chilling message to any sexual assault victim that's out there, that is considering coming forward," Reed said. "If they're going to be utilized as political props in a political fight, we shouldn't be sending that message. We should be sending the message that we're not going to politicize this, we are going to get to the bottom of any complaints, take them seriously and stand with the victims."

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) said Trump's comments were inappropriate, but she also said Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein should have turned over information regarding Ford’s allegation sooner.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.