Atlanta Must Reads for the Week: Sexual assaults at Atlanta colleges, Cobb’s suburban renewal, and the Find-My-iPhone app’s bizarre bug

Plus, local music label Dust-to Digital’s ambitious and unfinished ‘Georgia’ project
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Melanie, a Spelman College student

Melissa Golden for Buzzfeed News

Anita Badejo in Buzzfeed on the silence surrounding sexual assaults at Spelman and Morehouse colleges

At Spelman College, students have struggled with the way sexual assaults on their campus are adjudicated. As Badejo finds out, reporting a rape can become far more complicated when an alleged perpetrator attends the all-male Morehouse College next door. The result can be silence, she writes, so as not to distract from the schools’ larger mission of racial equality:

The night of Jan. 19, 2014, had already been a difficult one for Melanie. She was upset after a fight with a friend, as she’d later write in reports to Spelman and Morehouse, and she hoped that talking to a friend from Morehouse would help her calm down. He told her he had just gotten cable, so she lay down on his bed to watch TV. After a few minutes, he reached over and put his hand down her pants. Melanie told him “no,” she wrote in her reports. He told her he would listen, but not long after, he tried again. “No,” she said once more. This time, he didn’t stop.

A week later, on Jan. 26, Melanie reported that she’d been raped to Spelman’s public safety department. However, because the incident had happened on Morehouse’s campus—like the vast majority of sexual assaults between Spelman and Morehouse students, given the former’s gated campus—it would be Morehouse, not Spelman, who’d have to adjudicate her case. Melanie knew that by reporting, she risked ruining the image of a Morehouse Man. But if she—a student from small-town Florida who’d barely even heard people talk about sexual assault before Spelman, let alone experience it—could go through the process, she thought, her black, all-women’s college could help assure her case was being adjudicated fairly.

Read: “Our Hands Are Tied Because Of This Damn Brother-Sisterhood Thing”

Janel Davis and Shannon McCaffrey in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Georgia Tech’s sexual assault investigations

On the other end of the spectrum, nearly every Georgia Tech student accused of sexual misconduct in the last five years has either been expelled or suspended. Earlier this month, however, the Board of Regents ordered the university to reinstate one student. That case is one of several that have raised questions about the school’s anonymous and secretive judicial proceedings that, according to critics, deny the accused due process. Davis and McCaffrey report:

Perhaps no school in the state has been as aggressive in punishing alleged sexual assailants in recent years as Georgia Tech. With campus rape grabbing national headlines, Tech has expelled or suspended nearly every student it has investigated for sexual misconduct in the past five years, records show. And at Tech, officials finding a student responsible for “non-consensual sexual intercourse” must either expel the student or explain why they did not.

The school has also cracked down on fraternities, handing out a stiff sentence for a house where members were accused of hurling racial slurs at black female student. But in its zeal to punish wrongdoers there are signs Tech has pushed too far.

Read: Wrongly accused of rape? Students question their expulsions from Tech

Payson Schwin in Creative Loafing on Cobb County’s loss of affordable housing

On this week’s cover of Creative Loafing, Schwin (also a contributor to this magazine) looks closely at the wide-ranging efforts to demolish what’s left of affordable housing in Cobb County. In doing so, he compares what’s happening now to Atlanta’s revitalization efforts circa 1960:

In the mid-20th century, local, state, and federal officials across the country embarked on ambitious programs to clear homes and apartments to make way for interstates, stadiums, and other public works projects, all in the name of progress. “Urban renewal” policies, called “slum removal” by some, often had another, often unstated purpose: to eliminate areas of concentrated poverty, not through better services or outreach, but by dispersing residents to parts unknown.

The city of Atlanta’s urban renewal policies leveled the homes of thousands in the 1960s in downtown neighborhoods with the promise of economic development. But for the residents able to remain in the surrounding areas, the revitalization never materialized around the new highways and stadiums.

A half-century later, elected officials in Cobb County have taken a page from that playbook to practice their own form of suburban renewal. They hope that by firing up the bulldozers, they’ll pave the way for economic development. The previous efforts should give them pause, however, because prosperity has not always followed demolition.

Read: Suburban Renewal

Kashmir Hill in Fusion on why an iPhone tracking app has incorrectly sent people to one Atlanta home

Since early 2015, more than a dozen strangers have banged on the door of a suburban Atlanta house because the Find-My-iPhone app said their missing phones were inside. Hill explains how an app most users assume is right can actually go wrong:

It started the first month that Christina Lee and Michael Saba started living together. An angry family came knocking at their door demanding the return of a stolen phone. Two months later, a group of friends came with the same request. One month, it happened four times. The visitors, who show up in the morning, afternoon, and in the middle of the night, sometimes accompanied by police officers, always say the same thing: their phone-tracking apps are telling them that their smartphones are in this house in a suburb of Atlanta.

Read: Why do people keep coming to this couple’s home looking for lost phones?

Wyatt Williams in Oxford American on Dust-To-Digital’s unfinished ‘Georgia’ project

Over the past month, Oxford American has slowly published the contents of its Georgia music issue online. You should read the whole thing in its entirety: Elyssa East’s story on Gram Parsons’s Nudie suit (which we featured here a couple of weeks back), Amanda Petrusich’s story on the Allman Brothers, and Maxwell George’s profile of Augusta-native Sharon Jones are highlights. But one of the issue’s best stories comes from Wyatt Williams, who looks at Dust-to-Digital co-founder Lance Ledbetter’s grand ambition for his “Georgia” project. So grand, Williams explains, that the music compilation may never see the light of day:

Eventually, I asked Lance if he was ever going to make another masterpiece. Of course, I didn’t say it like that. The word makes people uncomfortable. But if you’ve made a masterpiece, people generally expect you to make another.

Twelve years ago, Dust-to-Digital released a six-disc compilation box set of spiritual recordings from the first half of the twentieth century called Goodbye, Babylon. The Ledbetters spent four and a half years working on the project and founded their record company for the purpose of releasing it. The set was quickly recognized as a classic. Sasha Frere-Jones described it as “incomparable,” “the ark of the covenant.” It was nominated for two Grammys. Bob Dylan gifted a copy to Neil Young, who called it “the original wealth of our recorded music.” I asked if they had any plans for something similar “in size and scope.”

“When I finished Goodbye, Babylon, I had a few projects on my desk,” Lance said, pausing for a bite of barbecue. “I wanted to make a CD of Christmas music. I wanted to do a sacred harp set. I wanted to recut Fred Ramsey’s Music of the South. And I wanted to do a box set of music from Georgia.” As Lance explained it, the Georgia project had been as ambitious as Goodbye, Babylon. The other projects were all finished now, but Lance said, “I think I’ve given up on Georgia.” April put down her fork and looked at him. She seemed surprised.

Read: An Unfinished State

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