Friday, September 7, 2012

Task force slams Boston University hockey team's 'sexual entitlement'

This is a follow-up to our report on Max Nicastro, one of two Boston University hockey players to be accused of sexual assault during the last school year. The charges against Mr. Nicastro were dropped by the district attorney after what seemed to be an exhaustive investigation, and there is no basis, of which we are aware, to conclude that he committed sexual assault. The other player pled guilty to sexual assault. 

A task force of professors and trustees from the university was charged with investigating the hockey team's culture, and it issued its report yesterday. The report said that the team has an "elevated social status" on campus, and the task force is shocked -- shocked! -- to find that frequent sex without a relationship or commitment is going on in hockey players' dorms!

The exact quote from the news story about the task report: ". . . the task force found that the team's 'elevated social status' on campus led to 'frequent sexual encounters with women absent an emotional relationship or ongoing commitment.'"

In fact, it would be more shocking to find that this wasn't the case. To suggest that this morally problematic culture is somehow unique to the Boston U men's hockey team, or that it isn't the sine qua non of the so-called "hook-up" culture on campus, is more than a stretch.

One of the responses to the task force's report will be to open a sexual assault center on campus and to institute of a sexual assault prevention education program for the hockey team.

We noted last June that Mr. Nicastro's case was rife with assumptions of guilt from the outset by some observers. We noted that intolerance of rape is a noble impulse but assuming the guilt of a man on the basis of an accusation alone is not.  Now we are wondering if the entire hockey team is being maligned because of two allegations of sexual assault -- the one that resulted in a guilty plea, and Mr. Nicastro's case.

Did the task force conduct a study to tie the culture of frequent sex without commitment or relationship to an enhanced risk of sexual assault, or did it suggest a link for the sake of making it appear that Boston University is doing something about sexual assault on the men's hockey team?

The news report about the task force: