The Buzz Online

July 22nd, 2009

By far the most notable recent comment posted at the bam website came in response to a letter in the May/June BAM from Associate Professor of Medicine Robert S. Crausman '85, '88 MD. In it, Crausman referred to the infamous 1996 sexual misconduct case involving Adam Lack '97 and Sara Klein '99, in which the University Disciplinary Committee found Lack guilty of "nonconsensual physical contact of a sexual nature." Lack was sentenced to a six-month suspension, but, upon appeal to the provost, the charge was lowered to "serious issues of personal and sexual conduct" and the sentence became two semesters of probation.

What happened next was much worse. The case helped ignite a scorching episode in the U.S. culture wars and an inferno of sexual politics. Lack soon found himself on the front page of the Chronicle of Higher Education and the focus of a John Stossel report on 20/20. Lack sued Klein and Brown, and the whole mess was finally settled in a confidential court settlement.

Lack died last July in a one-car crash.

In his letter noting Lack's death, Crausman wrote that Lack "brought much-needed attention to the profound discretionary power of the administration over the campus disciplinary system and to the importance of respecting students' civil rights. His experience at Brown raised difficult questions that challenged us all."

William Lack, Adam's brother and a surgical resident in Iowa City (, responded at "Dr. Crausman makes several worthy comments regarding the sexual misconduct case involving Adam Lack. As Adam's little brother, I witnessed most of the fallout from the controversy while a high school student in Osage, Iowa. I would like to add my personal perspective on my older brother, who was also my mentor, my compass.

"I am not a Brown alumnus, but now that Adam is deceased, I would like to enter a comment in his stead. Adam was and will remain a gentle and thoughtful soul who entered Brown with an innocent mentality that he never recovered. He did, however, manage to complete his degree, despite unsettling odds, and he had managed to move on prior to his tragic death. It was particularly trying for someone of Adam's ethic (you would have to know him) to weather the storm of personal attacks that came his way.

"In addition, since attending Brown he'd lost not only his father to cancer—Adam cared for him at home—but also two of his closest personal friends: Ray Rocha '95 (incinerated on 9/11 on the 105th floor of One World Trade Center) and Dimi Gavriel '97 (killed as a Marine corporal in Fallujah, Iraq).

"I wish only that they can all be in peace together now. I will continue to live my life as I have since birth, attempting to emulate the man who was there for family, friends, and strangers alike. I will always wish to be just slightly more like my big brother."

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Related Issue
July/August 2009