Amanda Knox in Court for Slander Case

Amanda Knox is expected to be in court on Tuesday, June 1st, regarding her accusation of abuse by Perugia police.  Ms. Knox has claimed that she was struck in the back of the head during questioning and this resulted in cries of slander by Prosecutor Guiliano Mignini.

Amanda Knox

While scouring the news this morning, I came across a post by the Barbie Latza Nadeau, a journalist for the DailyBeast.com. She is also the author of the book “Angel Face”, the first book about the case written by a bi-lingual journalist who attended the trial (she is fluent in English and Italian). Ms. Nadeau poses 10 questions to Amanda Knox in today’s blog on the DailyBeast.com. The questions are of the variety that are meant to provoke the Knox camp – and they have responded en force.

I am a study abroad administrator and not an attorney or juror. I again will state that it is not my role to form an opinion on whether Ms. Knox is guilty.  What I will say is that the 10 questions and comments under Ms. Nadeau’s post are full of strong opinion, passion and rage in support of both sides.

As a study abroad administrator, this case again reinforces for me how necessary it is to have frank dialogue with students about the serious consequences of being accused of committing a crime abroad. While pre-departure orientation tends to focus on the academic processes, travel logistics, cultural adaptation and such, it tends to gloss over the challenges of how being treated under local laws in a foreign country can land you in a different cultural pot of hot water.  As I do not know the details of the pre-departure study abroad orientations at Ms. Knox and Ms. Kercher’s home schools in the US and England, I will refrain from commenting about the specifics of what “should” have been covered in the pre-departure orientations.

Most US based schools review policy about the use of alcohol and drugs in pre-departure orientation materials and/or group meetings.  However, the focus is often of the institutional policy position related to the home school’s student code of conduct and often speaks to representation of the home school, home country, etc.  The Knox case adds a whole new layer to the seriousness of engaging in ‘recreational’ use of illegal drugs. It is clear that Ms. Knox’s confession of smoking marijuana the night of the murder has certainly diminished the credibility of her recollection during the trial.

Let me again remind you that I am an international educator with no firm answer as to “whodunnit.”  It isn’t my role to argue a position and it would be irresponsible of me to form an opinion based on press reports, tabloid media, and pressure to do so. But what I can express, with a heavy heart, is that two young women who left their home countries to embark on an exciting academic and personal experience in Perugia, lost their lives the night that one was murdered in Perugia.