Friday, September 25, 2015

College expels male using 'preponderance' standard; male sues, college claims he should meet 'clear or substantial likelihood of success on the merits'

The men of Middlebury College ought to be concerned--very concerned. Their college doesn't bother to give men accused of sexual assault a hearing. Instead it trains sexual assault "investigators" to decide whether the male is guilty by telling them to start off by believing the accuser. The investigator is allowed to expel male students on her own using the lowest standard of evidence--"preponderance of the evidence"--but when the male student challenges the expulsion in a real court that holds actual hearings, the school wants the court force the male student to meet an even higher standard than the court normally employs in such proceedings, "a clear or substantial likelihood of success on the merits."

This actually happened, folks. Fortunately, the federal judge saw the injustice and reinstated the male student. But the editors at the student newspaper are very unhappy.

Sometimes I think the college rape witch hunt can't get any worse. Then I read about places like Middlebury College. Read on. This case encapsulates everything that's wrong with college sex "justice."

In November 2014, while on a study abroad program with the School for International Training ("SIT"), a male student of Middlebury College was accused of sexual misconduct. The accuser was also a participant in the SIT program but has never been a Middlebury College student. The male student's counsel asserts that he “was falsely accused of sexual misconduct" by the young woman. According to the male student, he and accuser engaged in consensual, sexual intercourse.

In accordance with its policies, SIT investigated the accusation and actually held a real, live hearing--after which the male student was exonerated in December 2014. Throughout the proceeding, SIT kept Middlebury informed regarding the complaint, investigation, hearing, and outcome. Middlebury allowed Plaintiff to return to campus and classes in January 2015.

But then, you can guess what happened. The accuser, and her unnamed college, weren't happy with the outcome. They made it clear that they were going to protest to the the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (the office that issued the anti-male "Dear Colleague" letter). According to Prof. KC Johnson, the college effectively set aside SIT’s finding, a Middlebury dean later said, based on the accuser’s “perceptions of SIT’s investigation and hearing process.” Middlebury decided to conduct its own purported "investigation" into the complaint. Middlebury didn't bother with silly things like a "hearing."  Middlebury investigators, Prof. Johnson points out, are trained how to investigate these kinds of cases: "they must 'start by believing' the accuser. The discussion with the accuser must not involve the investigator interrogating her; 'This is not the time for ‘"just the facts."’” Moreover: "While the investigator must 'start by believing' the accuser, the Middlebury official must begin by wondering if the accused is 'who he said he is.' . . . Middlebury investigators [are counseled] against using the term 'accuser' ('victim' or 'survivor' is preferred)." And: "The report prepared by the investigator 'should not include . . . consensual language' or anything indicating 'mutual participation.'” (Prof. Johnson asks: "But what if the intercourse was consensual . . . ?") And: "Nor should the investigator’s report include the following language: The 'victim has inconsistencies with her story.' . . . . Nor should the report conclude that 'the victim’s account of the incident is not believable or credible to officers given her actions during and after the encounter with the suspect.'”

This, of course, is beyond Orwellian. The case is over even before it has begun.

In the case at issue, the investigator used a preponderance of the evidence standard. Is it any wonder the investigator found the male student responsible? He was expelled.

The male student sued and sought a preliminary injunction to allow him to return to school to graduate in 2016. After a hearing, on September 16th, Judge J. Garvan Murtha of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont granted the injunction and reinstated the male student. The Judge found the male student had established a "likelihood of success on the merits" and noted that he would suffer irreparable harm if the federal court did not issue a preliminary injunction. The judge clearly was concerned that "Middlebury's policies did not authorize a second investigation and de novo evaluation of the allegation of sexual assault after it had been decided in [the male student's] favor by SIT, the sponsor of the study abroad program during which the alleged misconduct occurred, to whose discipline [the male student] was subject." The court wrote: "As a result of Middlebury's breach, Plaintiff has suffered the harm of expulsion and--in the absence of an injunction--the concomitant loss of a job, emanating from a completed summer internship program offered to rising college seniors, that depends upon his graduation in 2016."

The case is reported at 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124540 (D.Vt. 2015).

Just another witch hunt fomented by the misandry-laden sexual grievance industry. For devotees of that sad but powerful cult, things like due process and fairness are luxuries colleges can't afford to extend to male students. Innocent young men are necessary collateral damage in the war on campus rape.

But here's the interesting part: in footnote 7 of the court's opinion, the court notes that Middlebury wanted the court to require the male student to meet a higher judicial standard--requiring the male student to demonstrate "a clear or substantial likelihood of success on the merits." The college claimed that this higher standard was appropriate because if he prevailed on the preliminary injunction, the "relief cannot be undone and because [the male student] seeks to alter rather than maintain the status quo." The court rejected the argument.

But do you see the irony? When the college wanted to expel a male student, it applied the lowest legally permissible standard--preponderance of the evidence--and didn't even bother to give him a hearing. When the male student tried to undo the expulsion given the palpable injustice, the court holds an actual hearing, but the college wants the court to force the male student to abide by a higher standard than the court employs when deciding preliminary injunctions.

As if the school hasn't done enough to the male student, it is appealing the judge's decision.

So how do the good students of Middlebury react?

The student newspaper has written an editorial about the case that is positively other-worldly. It commended the college for its actions. The fact that SIT had previously conducted a hearing and exonerated the male student? A "technicality," clucks the editors of the student newspaper. "His counsel is made up of experts in their field with axes to grind; Harvey Silverglate, part of the firm representing Doe, published an op-ed in the Boston Globe asserting that 'the campus sexual assault panic' is 'one of many social epidemics in our nation’s history that have ruined innocent lives and corrupted justice.' Lawyers like these have the resources to find legal loopholes without having to contend with their clients’ guilt."

The next excerpt is laughable, pathetic, and chilling, all at once:

"Although we do not believe Middlebury to be above the law, we worry that if the College must face forces like Silverglate every time it decides to expel a student found guilty of sexual assault, our judicial system may be compromised and victims of sexual assault may hesitate to come forward because of Doe’s complicated legal challenge to Middlebury’s ruling."

Your "judicial system"?! Seriously? Your school trains "investigators" to find male students guilty, and doesn't even bother to give them a hearing! There have been two hearings in connection with this incident--one by SIT and one by the federal judge--and both concluded its more likely than not that the male student should not be expelled. Yet, you moan about your "judicial system"? You need to grow up.

I know that most college students look at the world in simplistic, and idealistic, black-and-whites, and that they march in lock-step to their moral superiors, the sexual grievance industry. But the good students of Middlebury College need to ditch the knee jerk assumption that their male classmates are guilty by reason of penis. Justice is anything but politically correct, and mature citizens of the world understand that fair processes are the only bulwarks we have against tyranny.

Every student of Middlebury ought to be outraged about what's going at his or her school.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sen. Lamar Alexander for President

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tennessee, strikes a blow for presumptively innocent students accused of sexual misconduct. Yesterday, he spoke out against the Dept. of Education's overreach in promulgating the unjust "Dear Colleague" letter. The Dept. of Education insists that institutions of higher education follow their edicts (making it a de facto law) without following the lawful procedures for enacting laws or regulations.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Off-topic: Sen. Ted Cruz: "I believe in democracy." Colbert audience: boo, hiss

Colbert, a lightweight regarded by the know-nothing generation as an intellectual, tried to tangle with a Constitutional expert about the Constitution. Cruz gives the glib Jack Paar-wannabe a civics lesson about the Constitution. But the boos and the hissing when Cruz mentions "democracy" pretty much say it all: we're doomed.

Another college rape scare survey that is not reliable

Yet another seriously flawed self-selecting survey purports to show a college rape epidemic. The line for the flawed college rape scare surveys starts on the left, please. I ask, how can these scare surveys be squared with the DOJ study that comes up with a number that's not just dramatically different, but in-a-different-universe different? They can't. The scare surveys have engorged the definition of sexual assault beyond recognition. I'm not going to legitimize this latest survey by describing its flaws--read Ashe Schowe's article.

There have been many articles debunking the college rape scare surveys that ably explain the flaws in the surveys' methodologies. But all of the critics--as correct and as well-intentioned as they are--overlook something critical and dramatic: even if these scare surveys were structured to yield unbiased results, they still would not be reliable. How can I say that? Because in this latest survey and all the others, every allegation that meets the survey's criteria of sexual assault is uncritically accepted--and none are tested against competing claims of innocence.

Every time rape claims are subjected to scrutiny against competing evidence of innocence, most are either deemed unfounded or false. Those few studies that actually look at actual rape claims show that false or unfounded claims are extremely common--in fact, more common than actual rapes. And we know that when women actually report rape, a significant percentage of them turn out to be false or unfounded.

But don't rely on me for that. Feminist Brett Sokolow, the leader of the campus sexual grievance industry who has done more to shape colleges' sexual misconduct policies than anyone in America, last year wrote that he sees "case-after-case" where "sincere victims . . . believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not . . . ." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen." And brace yourself: Mr. Sokolow suggested mental health issues play an important factor in these false accusations.

Here's the chilling fact: the college rape scare surveys would accept as true every allegation of sexual assault that even Brett Sokolow says are spurious.

Actual reports of rape can't be automatically accepted as true, yet responses on a survey are treated as if the respondents just ingested truth serum. The only legitimate way to test for the prevalence of rape on campus would be to take a representative sampling of rape accusations and carefully examine the evidence (including--heaven forbid--interviewing the accused and all pertinent witnesses) as to each claim in a painstaking, objective manner.

Unfortunately, the sexual assault milieu is so terribly politicized that attempts even to broach the subject typically are met with vitriol and name calling, not serious, much less respectful, dialogue. Why, some of you scoff, would women lie on surveys? Let me turn it around: why would women lie when they report rape, and which is easier--to lie about rape to the police or on a survey where a lie has no consequences?

A recent scientific study shows that some women lie on surveys to minimize their consensual sexual encounters, likely because of societal double-standards that find it acceptable for men, but not women, to engage in sexual activity. These lies are designed to bring women in sync with their expected gender role. When women believe they can lie and get away with it, they understate the number of their sexual partners. In contrast, when women are hooked up to a polygraph and believe their lies will not go undetected, they generally report more sexual partners than when they felt no such compulsion to be honest. (Men lie too -- but exactly the opposite: they exaggerate the number of sexual partners when they think their lies won't be detected.) Therefore, should it surprise anyone that some women report in surveys that they've been subjected to unwanted sex even when the sex was consensual in order to be in sync with societal expectations about gender roles?

Feminist writers acknowledge that some women lie about rape to "defend their femininity." Amanda Marcotte once wrote that "the idea that it's shameful to just have sex because you want to" is "the reason that you have false rape accusations in the first place." Marcotte noted that "[i]t's the women who are afraid they'll be called sluts if it gets out that make up these rape stories." Likewise, Amanda Hess once explained that given women's adherence to their expected gender role when it comes to sex, it is "inevitable," among other things, that a woman who "had desired the sex all along . . . must defend her femininity by saying that she had been coerced into sex."

It is a proven fact that there is significant regret asymmetry between men and women: women are more remorseful following casual sex than men. A study shows how common remorse is for women following one-night stands: "Overall women’s feelings were more negative than men’s [about one-night stand casual sex]. Eighty per cent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience compared to 54 per cent of women. . . . . The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been 'used'. Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out. Women found the experience less sexually satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, they did not seem to view taking part in casual sex as a prelude to long-term relationships."  Another recent study has confirmed the regret asymmetry between men and women. Amy Bonomi, a professor of human sexuality at OSU specializing in domestic violence and assault, explained: "Women tend to feel bad after having a random hook up." Typically men are not upset by these occurrences. Bonomi attributed this situation to society's "gender double standard" that men are expected to be more sexually forward than women. And yet another new study shows that women attending universities who have casual flings are more likely to suffer from depression than people in ‘romantic’ relationships.

The National Institute of Justice made this startling assertion: "Surveys of men and women on college campuses show a striking disparity in the proportion of women who report being assaulted and the proportion of men who report (even anonymously) being perpetrators. For example, in the Campus Sexual Assault survey, 19 percent of the women reported experiencing a completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college, while 2.5 percent of the men reported being perpetrators."  Why this disparity? The National Institute of Justice posed this as one possibility: "Men and women may have different perceptions of the same incident."

So why is it assumed that sexual assault surveys are the moral equivalent of truth serum where women are incapable of telling anything but the one, objective truth?  The fact is, people exaggerate, lie, and claim their behavior is better than it really is in all sorts of public pronouncements. They exaggerate the hours they work; how often they go to church; their height and their weight; and their altruism during emergencies. White voters lie in surveys about their willingness to vote for a black political candidate. Heck, people even lie about the reason they buy a new computer. Nearly one in four women admitted to exaggerating or lying in social media about key aspects of their lives between one and three times per month.

So why is it verboten to suggest that some women defend their femininity by claiming the consensual sex they engaged in was non-consensual? Or that men will defend their masculinity by understating the incidence of non-consensual sex they are subjected to?

The issue we raise isn't some abstraction, and we do not write this to engage in some sort of "Oppression Olympics."  The fact is, sexual assault surveys are used to justify the policy of diminishing the due process rights of students accused of sexual assault. There are legitimate reasons for doubting the reliability of these surveys, and these concerns should not be dismissed as rape apology, misogyny, or slut shaming.

The real problem is that we are raising a generation of girls that sees rape oozing from every crevice on campus. The fact is, college women are seeing rape where it doesn't exist--and that's not just my opinion. One of the recent college rape scare surveys accidentally revealed it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jared Polis apologizes for supporting the expulsion of innocent men

Last week, Jared Polis made some shocking comments and was widely criticized for them. We wrote about them here: He now says he misspoke. Ashe Schow isn't buying it, but whatever Polis's motivation, the following op-ed by Mr. Polis appeared in a Colorado paper and evidences that he realizes his words were not acceptable:

Jared Polis: Colleges should handle sex assault cases
I misspoke

During a subcommittee hearing last week about sexual assault on college campuses, I committed a major gaffe during the back-and-forth exchange with a witness who was advocating for removing the authority of colleges to adjudicate sexual assault cases that happen on their campuses. My words did not convey my beliefs nor the policies I now or have ever supported

During that exchange I went too far by implying that I support expelling innocent students from college campuses, which is something neither I nor other advocates of justice for survivors of sexual assault support. That is not what I meant to say and I apologize for my poor choice of words.

Sexual assault on college campuses is a serious issue — one that shouldn't be whittled down to errant sound bites. For the incoming class of 2019 that arrived at college campuses earlier this month, nearly one in five female students will be assaulted or raped by the time she graduates .

Nor should this be seen strictly as a gender issue. Men also experience sexual assault and they face the same types of trauma as female survivors.

To most people who don't know much about this issue, it makes sense to solely adjudicate these cases in our criminal justice system, just like we do other crimes. The witness mentioned above who I was questioning was arguing for just such an approach.

However, this is a deeply dangerous idea that demonstrates a cursory and superficial understanding of the issue. Ask any sexual assault advocate and they'll tell you the same thing.

There are very important reasons why colleges and universities currently have jurisdiction over assaults that occur on their campuses, and why the process is separate from the criminal justice system. In my effort to defend this practice, I went too far, and I regret that my remarks have detracted from the substance of this debate and have reflected poorly on the good work being done by college offices across the country that investigate these cases, including two in my own backyard in Colorado (University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University).

Decades of research and case histories show how woefully inadequate the criminal justice system can be for survivors of sexual assault. For starters, rape survivors are unlikely to report cases to police, citing things like not thinking it's important enough, not wanting others to know, not having proof, fearing retaliation, and being uncertain about whether what happened constitutes assault . According to a recent Department of Justice study, only 20 percent of campus sexual assault survivors report the assault to police .

Secondly, our criminal justice system moves slowly. Campus assault cases are designed to move efficiently so that survivors, as a basic matter of campus safety and to prevent additional trauma, don't have to cross paths with their assailant on campus for an extended period of time.

Third, colleges have a unique obligation to adjudicate these cases because of a landmark federal civil rights law, Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in any federally-funded educational institution. Sexual violence on college campuses creates a hostile learning environment, particularly for women, and is therefore a violation of civil rights. It's essential that colleges uphold the right of every student to a safe learning environment and colleges are uniquely equipped to provide that through accommodations that local police simply can't offer. For instance, helping a student switch classes or move dorms so she or he doesn't have to interact with their assailant on a daily basis are critical to survivors' ability to complete their education.

This is precisely why the Department of Education four years ago stepped in and required schools to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard to remove alleged assailants from campus, meaning the evidence shows it is more likely than not that the student is guilty of the assault.

This requirement doesn't discourage survivors from also pursuing criminal complains if they wish, but it allows schools to take more timely action against individuals who the evidence shows are guilty, so that assailants are not allowed to remain on campus and reoffend while their cases slowly make their way through criminal courts (if they ever do — only half of all sexual assault cases that are investigated by police are prosecuted ).

Our criminal courts weren't designed to decide who can safely be in the same classroom with your kids or mine; they were designed to set a high bar for depriving someone of their liberty and imprisoning them. In my comments last week I was attempting to make this point, though I went too far in making it. I regret that my gaffe is now being used by some to advocate for a dangerous and myopic policy that would make our college campuses less safe.

For those of us also concerned with the rights of the accused, dragging their name through the newspaper as an accused rapist through a criminal justice process will haunt them

forever, even if they are found not guilty. So too, it damages the survivor of sexual assault even more to have their name and crimes against them in public, especially because a popular defense strategy is to attack the victim.

Yes, balancing the needs for campus safety and due process is not easy. But the answer is not simply to tell schools to wash their hands of all responsibility on the issue and refer every student to a court system in which justice is elusive (for every 100 rape cases reported, only three rapists will ever serve a day in prison ).

Instead, we should be working together toward the same goal: college campuses where survivors feel empowered to come forward and where administrators have the resources they need to handle these cases promptly, fairly and equitably.

Jared Polis represents Colorado's second congressional district in the House of Representatives.

The institutionalized hostility to the rights of college men is not a "war on men," clucks female writer

Maggie Cassidy, a student at the University of Maryland, has a problem with "white males"--as in How dare a "white male" point out that institutionalized hostility to the rights of college men constitutes a war on men. Cassidy takes issue with noted law professor Glenn Reynolds USA Today article about Congressman Jared Polis's willingness to expel innocent men to insure the guilty are punished.

Cassidy points out that Reynolds is a dreaded "white man" in order to tarnish his credentials to speak to this subject. Does Cassidy have a problem with "men" as a class? I ask that because of this comment in her article: "The numbers crunched by the National Association of Scholars further show that men still aren’t grasping the sinister presence of sexual assault." Did you get that? "Men" still aren't grasping. Not "a very small percentage of men," not "men who commit sexual assault." Just "men."

Given the culture we live in, I'm not sure if my moral superiors (i.e., anyone who is not a white male) will allow me to deal with--you know, silly things like facts--but here goes: of the rape claims that can be definitively classified, false claims are more common than actual rapes. Shocking? Try and refute it--I mean actually refute it. Don't do what English major Maggie Cassidy does--her idea of arguing is to reduce people she disagrees with to vile caricature (e.g., "right-wing zanies who publish political manifestos on their misogynistic blogospheres") and to invent straw men instead of dealing in reality (men are lashing out not because of indisputable injustices that some of the most reputable law professors in America have taken issue with, but because they want "to resume their rightful place on top" of society).

Cassidy raised a point that merits special attention. She blithely dismisses Prof. Reynold's concern that "men are wildly underrepresented" in the college "positions charged with interpreting and enforcing the sexual harassment rules." Professor Reynolds points out that this is problematic “considering that the overwhelming preponderance of sexual harassment allegations are directed by women at men." Maggie Cassidy doesn't buy it: "Yes, Reynolds is statistically right that men don’t play a large role in groups that promote diversity and sexual assault awareness, but how does that help his argument against the war on men? Because it doesn’t."

But, of course, it does. Men and women do not look at the issue the same way. A much-touted new survey on sexual assault in American colleges shows a significant gender divide on key issues. College women believe, by an overwhelming margin, that it's better that innocent young men be punished for offenses they didn't commit than to allow a guilty man to go free. (Question 32) Most college men take the opposite view. In addition, the National Institute of Justice has said that when it comes to rape, men and women may have different perceptions of the same incident. In what universe is it fair to de facto exclude men from the positions that will decide men's punishment for alleged sexual assault?

What's alarming is that Prof. Reynolds' well-reasoned piece apparently so incensed Maggie Cassidy that she felt a need to refute it. Some people just can't stand it when a man points out that, yes, young men are the targets of certain injustices. That's not to say women aren't, or that men have it "worse," or that sexual assault isn't a problem.

The injustices Prof. Reynolds wrote about will continue so long as the prevailing mindset in this culture is that the one group not allowed to complain about even real oppression is young white men.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Appalling trend: innocent young men are deemed necessary collateral damage in the war on rape

Professor Alan Dershowitz is especially fond of this line: "Some people regard rape as so heinous an offense that they would not even regard innocence as a defense." Dershowitz has been using that line for years but, sadly, it has recently lost its sting because the extremists Dershowitz references are now the ones making public policy.

Last week, United States Congressman Jared Polis made the following other-worldly comments during a congressional hearing on college sexual assault: ". . . even if there is only a 20 or 30 percent chance that it [sexual assault] happened, I would want to remove this individual” from the college where the accusation occurred. And: “. . . if there’s 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people.”

Polis' blatant hostility to fundamental notions of fairness was matched only by his shocking insensitivity to the countless young men who've been wrongfully expelled for imaginary sexual assaults and their families. Polis's repulsive comments came during an exchange with noted civil libertarian Joe Cohn of FIRE. Polis garnered cheap applause by derisively trivializing the harm caused by wrongful expulsions, then he refused to allow Mr. Cohn to speak to the issue.

Polis's barbaric sentiments flip on its head a long-settled principle of jurisprudence famously expressed by the celebrated English jurist William Blackstone: it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." (Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765.) "Blackstone's formulation" is not merely one of the pillars undergirding our sense of justice, it is the very hallmark of a civilized society, one of the things that separates us from tyranny.

Sadly, Polis's backward views are not isolated curiosities, they are becoming mainstream in a culture that regards innocent young men as necessary collateral damage in the war on sexual assault. I am not referring to the "rush to judgment" crowd that wrongly assumes guilt based on nothing more than an accusation and a bias that women never lie about rape. (I note in passing that of the rape claims that can be definitively classified, false claims are more common than actual rapes.) I am, rather, referring to people who acknowledge that the accusation may be false but who have no compunction about punishing the accused anyway.

A much-touted new survey on sexual assault in American colleges shows that college women believe, by an overwhelming margin, that it's better that innocent young men be punished for offenses they didn't commit than to allow a guilty man to go free. (Question 32) This question exposes a sharp gender gap--most college men take the opposite view.

Last year, Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, declared that campus policies aren't going far enough to protect students. She asked: "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?" Dartmouth defended Childress's comment, noting that she "was asking a question—a provocative one—meant to generate dialogue around complex issues . . . .”

Ezra Klein evinced satisfaction that innocent young men may be expelled for rapes they didn't commit: "Critics worry that colleges will fill with cases in which campus boards convict young men (and, occasionally, young women) of sexual assault for genuinely ambiguous situations. Sadly, that’s necessary for the law’s success. It’s those cases — particularly the ones that feel genuinely unclear and maybe even unfair, the ones that become lore in frats and cautionary tales that fathers e-mail to their sons — that will convince men that they better Be Pretty D–n Sure."

When a court held that school districts do not have to disclose names of teachers who've had unsubstantiated allegations of sexual misconduct made against them, a newspaper took offense: "Yes, public knowledge of the allegation could lead to the end of a teacher’s career even if it were proven to be false. . . . . A few teachers being unjustly accused is far less important in the long run than the outing of a school district that hides evidence of patterns of misbehavior by teachers."

The Princeton student newspaper defended lowering the standard of proof to find students guilty of sexual assault because the evidence to prove sexual assault is often unclear. The paper acknowledged that more innocents may be found guilty under this standard, but, the editors told male students not to worry--the disciplinary committee has discretion to impose reduced punishments. (And, no, I'm not making that up.)

The Columbia University Marching Band instituted a policy of expelling from the band persons merely accused of sexual assault. In an official statement, a spokeswoman of the band acknowledged that "there could be problems with the policy," but said "[w]e don't care if [the allegation] is not confirmed . . . ." Also at Columbia, student editors of a school blog asked a staffer to "resign" based on an accusation of sexual assault, explaining: "Our decision does not reflect a position on the innocence or guilt of this former staff member . . . ."

During a panel discussion on sexual assault at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a teaching assistant "said she did not feel that the notion of innocent until proven guilty should apply to rape cases because it only helps protect the rights of the accused instead of the victim. Only one of the panel members spoke out in disagreement with this statement." One student stood up to declare that she was "horrified" to discover that her accused rapist had due process rights.

When police arrested identical twin brothers because they believed one them might be a rapist, many of the comments beneath the story were beyond appalling: "Wow just shoot them both! No biggie!" And: "Shoot 'em both and let God figure it out!" And: "Spit the difference. Charge each one with three of the six assaults." And: "Well, we've got it down to two suspects FLIP!" And: "Just shoot em both obviously there's something messed up in their DNA."

When five innocent young minority men were wrongly arrested for rape at Hofstra University, they were "treated like animals" in jail; one of them was fired from his job; one was expelled from Hofstra; and the news media skewered them by treating the accusation as definitive fact. Even after the false accuser admitted she lied under oath and there was no doubt about the young mens' innocence, a  writer for a major New York daily declared that they got "the good scare that they well deserved." As if that wasn't bad enough, the wrongly accused young men were booed when they appeared on the Steve Wilkos show.

The Dept. of Education's infamous April 4, 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter requires schools to give accusers protection from their alleged sexual perpetrators even before an investigation is completed by insuring the accuser and accused are kept separate--the letter goes out of its way to say that "a school should minimize the burden on the complainant" (not the accused) when it does so.

When this blog writes about Blackstone's formulation, we are sometimes greeted with very angry reactions. One reader wrote: ". . . . you thump your chest and break your arm patting yourself on the back because you stood on the wall for the" one innocent guy "when 17 [sexual assault] victims and their families can't get any sleep because there is no justice." Another reader wrote: ". . . Fuck you and I hope you get raped, and told to 'stop being hysterical' and that you're making it up by the police." Another wrote: "Yes, I do hope you get raped too. Brutally. This blog is just a space for a bunch that's frightened of women's rights. Ah, I do pity these losers!" (Do you see why we stopped allowing comments?)

Back in 2001, Catherine Comins, then-assistant dean of student life at Vassar, spoke to Time Magazine about rape: "Comins argues that men who are unjustly accused can sometimes gain from the experience. 'They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. 'How do I see women?' 'If I didn't violate her, could I have?' 'Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?' Those are good questions.'"

Time Magazine recognized the injustice in Comins' comment, noting that "there is an ugly element of vengeance at work here." Sadly, that "ugly element of vengeance" has become the prevailing culture on American college campuses and the motivating impulse of the people who dominate the public discourse on sexual assault in America.

Friday, September 11, 2015

FACE Responds to Hearing Testimony from House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training

Statement by FACE:

Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), a not for profit organization that advocates for fairness for any student accused of sexual misconduct on campus, expresses the following responses to key points made in testimony before a House subcommittee meeting on the topic of campus sexual assault held on September 10, 2015.
FACE strongly disagrees with the statement by Congressman Jared Polis (D-Co 2nd District) that lowering the standard of proof in order to expel more students makes campuses safer and fairer. As other speakers noted, Title IX is a gender neutral law, and any innocent student who is expelled from college is illegally deprived of access to education. Being expelled from college does not simply lead to transfer to another college, as permanent disciplinary records with ominous findings make it difficult or impossible to enter another institution or find employment. Furthermore, the profound and lasting emotional trauma associated with a false accusation, just as for victims of assault, is not a matter to be taken lightly. Many victims of false accusations suffer from PTSD, depression and other health issues as a result of their experiences. 
FACE shares concerns expressed by several speakers that colleges are subject to burdensome and conflicting regulations regarding their handling of student discipline. Many of us have dealt with college officials who genuinely did not understand their own roles or the rules governing disciplinary proceedings, and this is less attributable to their training than to the scope of what colleges are being asked to do. Under current regulations, colleges are asked to serve as, a support structure for students claiming to have been victimized, an arbiter of fairness and equal access to education, and a fact-finding and punitive system operating in parallel to criminal courts. These roles are contradictory and unsustainable.

We agree with Mr. Joseph Cohn of FIRE that colleges are not equipped to handle fact-finding and determinations of truth in criminal matters, lacking the resources, powers, and knowledge of trained criminal justice professionals and officers of the court. We would add that college employees are also not subject to the same measures of public accountability of the criminal justice system. Judges, prosecutors, and members of the criminal justice system are accountable to professional boards, internal review processes, and in some cases, voters. College officials do not take professional oaths and are not subject to similar accountability measures, removing a key barrier for abuse of power. 
FACE does not agree that mandatory law enforcement reporting will create a chilling effect on reporting rates of sexual violence. In fact, the existence of a non-professional adjudication system on campus has created negative experiences and low expectations of that system for all parties, and bypassing that system increases the likelihood that claimants will be exposed to trained, competent professionals. We agree with Mr. Cohn that the criminal justice system is not perfect and that reform in that area will help more than trying to use the college disciplinary process as a substitute.

Finally, we support Mr. Cohn’s suggestion that the Safe Campus Act be amended to encourage colleges to use non-punitive measures to support students in all cases, even if the claimant chooses not to pursue criminal proceedings. Colleges are well equipped to coordinate numerous support systems to students involved in disciplinary hearings including provision of housing and academic accommodations, counseling, support while navigating the criminal justice system and other resources. FACE agrees with Chairwoman Fox “that every college student should be able to learn in an environment that is safe and free from fear.”

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis needs to resign: he wants to expel innocent students who are merely accused of sexual assault

United States Congressman Jared Polis made his shocking comments yesterday during a higher education subcommittee hearing on college sexual assault. Polis said schools might want to use a standard lower than preponderance of the evidence. Then he made the following assertion, which is as shocking as it is inane: ". . . even if there is only a 20 or 30 percent chance that it happened, I would want to remove this individual.” And:  “. . . if there’s 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people.” The innocent should be sacrificed for the greater good--the interests of Title IX trump due process and fairness. The audience applauded Polis's rant trivializing wrongful expulsion.

Polis's comments yesterday were not merely morally grotesque, they were the most egregious affront to the rights and dignity of the wrongly accused this blog has ever heard from a lawmaker, much less a United States congressman. There is no room in the public discourse for such blatant hostility to the presumption of innocence or for such ham-handed pandering to a powerful interest group at the expense of innocent citizens.

Polis's comments were shockingly insensitive to young men wrongly expelled for sexual assaults that never occurred, and to the families of those young men. He owes them a sincere apology. COTWA will support any effort by FACE to censure this congressman.

Blithely punishing the innocent to make sure the guilty are also punished is a barbaric practice that is a hallmark of tyranny. From the time of Magna Carta, many brave men have died battling such tyranny. Polis's notions are unjust in any context, not merely in criminal proceedings. Ask any child if it's fair to punish him for something he didn't do. Apparently children know better than a United States congressman. Polis's flippant, indeed hateful, comments--trivializing wrongful expulsions with a derisive guffaw to garner cheap applause--echo sentiments uttered at the hanging trees of the Old South and by every dictator who has trampled the rights of the innocent. Polis's constituents ought to be horrified. It is well to note that Polis's district includes the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University. His comments yesterday prove him unfit to serve approximately half the students who attend those institutions. He needs to resign.

Polis made the comments during the testimony of FIRE’s Joe Cohn. According to Fire:
As Joe pointed out, students expelled for sexual assault find that the “rapist” label follows them for life, hindering their professional careers and other goals. And many lawmakers are pushing for exactly this result, with legislation designed to make obvious to recipients of a student’s transcript when that student has been punished for (or has an unresolved investigation for) sexual assault. Of course, if the student actually committed the crime, this result is appropriate. But to do as Polis suggests and derail a student’s life because of the mere accusation that he or she might have done something wrong—without a majority of the evidence pointing to his or her guilt, and even with the vast majority pointing to his or her innocence—is irretrievably incompatible with basic principles of fairness and justice.
Robby Soave asked Polis about his comments, and Polis's justification of his disdain for fairness was, to put it charitably, buffoonish. Let us hope the good people of Colorado demand that this disgrace resign immediately.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The real college "rape culture": Young women are believing the sexual grievance industry lies, putting innocent men at risk

Don't read this on an empty stomach. It is disturbing on a host of levels--I'd go so far as to say it's a barometer of a culture in free-fall. Regular readers know that last year, RAINN, the nation's leading anti-rape organization, debunked the "rape culture" meme. Yet, the sexual grievance industry clings to the "rape culture" canard the way a drowning sailor clings to a life preserver.

The "rape culture" lie teaches our children that it is not only acceptable but proper to unjustly stereotype and reduce young men to vile caricature. Young women are being taught that innocent young men are rapists or rapists-in-waiting, and this inculcation is putting innocent men in jeopardy of expulsion and even lengthy prison time. If you think that's too extreme a characterization, read on and decide for yourself. The recent evidence is overwhelming.

*A Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows that almost half of all college women-- full 44 percent--wrongly think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. (Question 35(c)) That same survey shows that an overwhelming majority of college women automatically think that the man is more to blame whenever they hear an accusation of sexual assault. (Question 21) In addition, an overwhelming majority of women think it's better that innocent young men be punished for offenses they didn't commit than to allow a guilty man to go free. (Question 32)

*In a survey of all Michigan State first-year and transfer students, 74.9 percent said it was “false” that “someone can still give consent for sex if they are using alcohol or drugs.” (They don't understand the difference between intoxication and incapacitation.)

*In a lawsuit filed by a male student at Washington & Lee, the student posited that the school's Title IX Officer conducted a presentation during which she introduced an Internet article that alleged "regret equals rape." The Title IX Officer said that “everyone, herself included, is starting to agree with” that. (Another writer posited that regret equals a "rape-ish" situation.)

*At Berkeley, students protested the notion that their classmates accused of rape should be treated fairly.

*At Ohio University, angry protesters called due process for college men accused of rape "bullshit."

*At Penn, angry law students objected to the idea that 16 of their law professors would call for fair procedures in sexual assault cases.

*At a panel discussion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, students expressed horror over the idea of "innocent until proven guilty" and due process when it comes to men accused of sexual assault.

*A former Columbia University student newspaper editor admitted the paper would did not cover Emma "Mattress Girl" Sulkowicz fairly because the paper have been excoriated if it had.

*Elisabeth Dee, Stanford class of 2016, one of the organizers of the “Carry that Weight” demonstration where students were urged to carry a pillow or mattress around for a day to symbolize the burden placed upon survivors of sexual assault, called on the school to reduce the burden of proof required to find someone guilty of sexual assault, which is already the lowest legally permissible, "preponderance of the evidence." Dee said that Stanford, should not be focusing on "defending the perpetrator, because essentially burden of proof is a defense of the perpetrator.”

*Julia Horowitz, a journalist at University of Virginia’s school newspaper, wrote that "to let fact checking define the [sexual assault] narrative would be a huge mistake.”

Where are the students getting these absurd notions? They are getting them from adults who are part of, or allied with, the sexual grievance industry.

*The entire multi-million dollar war on campus rape has been geared toward rooting out the "campus rapist" bogeyman--that infamous serial sociopath who preys on unsuspecting college women by plying them with alcohol. It turns out he's the Loch Ness Monster because the study that invented him doesn't support the conclusion that he exists, according to articles by Linda M. LeFauve and Robby Soave (here and here).

*How about the "fact" that hardly any rape claims are false--only 2 to 8 percent? Another lie. Of the rape claims that can be definitively classified, false claims actually are more common than actual rapes.

None of that stops the adults from treating young men like rapists-in-waiting.

*A United States senator judged a male student a rapist because it was the "in" thing to do, and because it served her agenda of scoring political points with women at the expense of college men.

*Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, declared that campus policies aren't going far enough to protect students. She asked: "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?" Dartmouth defended Childress's comment, noting that she "was asking a question—a provocative one—meant to generate dialogue around complex issues . . . .”

*The general counsel of a large university equated presumptively innocent men accused of sexual assault with "perpetrators."

*College men wrongly accused of sexual assault sued their school because the school had issued a public statement after the alleged sexual assault calling them criminals. What did the school say about the lawsuit? A spokeswoman said the school does not issue public statements on legal issues.

*Ms. Magazine quoted Caroline Heldman, a professor at Occidental College, on suits filed by men for alleged violations of their due process rights in connection with sexual assault claims: "These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape."

*In the world of pop culture, Justin Bieber came under fire from celebrity Lena Dunham for writing song lyrics where a guy asks a girl to clarify whether she consents to sex. Apparently, it's verboten to suggest women sometimes send mixed signals even almost half of all college women think a nod in agreement is not consent.

*Activists protested pending legislation that would support sexual assault victims while insuring minimal due process for the presumptively innocent accused. One said, "We are not at a point to analyze 'due process'" yet.

*When writer Robby Soave questioned whether the UVA Rolling Stone "gang rape" was a hoax, Jezebel called him an "idiot."

*When Jezebel posted an article that referenced the UVA frat members suing Rolling Stone for lying about them and causing them emotional distress, a Jezebel reader wrote: "Who gives a f' if these three frat boys 'suffered emotional distress.'"

*Gender zealots declared that they want the prosecution of rape liars to stop -- it violates human rights.

*Duke University Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek was asked what would happen if two students got drunk to the point of incapacity, and then had sex. "Assuming it is a male and female, it is the responsibility in the case of the male to gain consent before proceeding with sex," said Wasiolek.

*Jessica Valenti mocked the efforts of three mothers who started Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) that seeks to raise awareness about the injustices faced by presumptively innocent college students accused of sexual misconduct. Each of the three founders of FACE has been touched directly by campus rape injustice: their sons were ensnared by it. Valenti wrote: "Alternative name for this group: Not My Nigel." Of course, "Not My Nigel" is radical feminist shorthand to suggest that women who defend their male loved ones accused of rape or similar acts are defending rapists.

*Ezra Klein evinced satisfaction that innocent young men may be expelled for rapes they didn't commit: "Critics worry that colleges will fill with cases in which campus boards convict young men (and, occasionally, young women) of sexual assault for genuinely ambiguous situations. Sadly, that’s necessary for the law’s success. It’s those cases — particularly the ones that feel genuinely unclear and maybe even unfair, the ones that become lore in frats and cautionary tales that fathers e-mail to their sons — that will convince men that they better Be Pretty D–n Sure."

*Laura Dunn, executive director of SurvJustice, on why some colleges have pushed back against lowering the standard of proof for sexual assault cases to make it easier to hold young men accused of sexual assault: "To put it bluntly, I think it's arrogance and ingrained male privilege . . . ."

*Zerlina Maxwell wrote this: “Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist.”

*The Columbia University Marching Band's adopted a sexual assault policy that assumes all sexual assault accusations are sexual assaults.

*The University of Michigan defined "sexual violence" to include "withholding sex and affection."

*The co-author of California's "affirmative consent" law in the state assembly, Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, was asked how an innocent person is supposed to prove consent. She said: “Your guess is as good as mine."

These are not isolated instances of nitwit-mongering. The nitwits are now in charge of sexual assault hearings in our colleges, and courts are starting to call them on their idiocy. See, e,g, herehere and here. It promises to get a lot worse before it gets better--angry gender zealots are teaching a generation of young women that a nod in agreement can be recharacterized as "rape" if the woman later regrets it, that they shouldn't worry if innocent men are wrongly accused, and that rape oozes from every crevice of our college campuses.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Woman claims college harassed her by asking for proof she was a virgin before sexual assault and has no interest in sex after

A woman is suing Virginia Wesleyan College because she alleges a student employed by the college as a peer adviser provided her possibly-drugged alcohol on the night she was assaulted by another male classmate. According to Huffington Post, the woman claims that because of the purported attack, she is unable to have sex and has no interest in sex and, as a result, has experienced difficulties in her romantic relationships. She also said she was a virgin at the time of the assault.

To test the veracity of the claims--claims that the woman, herself, put at issue--Virginia Wesleyan College is asking her to name her sex partners, before and after the assault. An attorney for the school explained: "Miss Doe is seeking money damages based in part on the following claims: she is unable to have sex, does not have any interest in sex, and has experienced difficulties in romantic relationships due to her inability to have sex and lack of interest in sex. Given the significance of these claims in a case where $10 million is at issue, Virginia Wesleyan has to investigate these claims like any other claims Miss Doe is making in order to properly investigate and defend this suit."

The woman refuses to answer the questions, claiming they constitute harassment. The usual suspects from the sexual grievance lobby chime in and claim the school is just trying to show the woman was promiscuous. It doesn't matter how many prior sex partners the woman had, one clucked (ignoring the fact that the woman, herself, put that claim at issue). Another said she was "shocked" and another was "deeply offended" by the school's questions, which, they insist, are "an invasion of privacy" and a reason why rape victims supposedly don't report their rapes. One said that--horrors--"It sounds like the school doesn’t believe her.” And: ". . . only 2 percent of reported rape cases turn out to be false" (which is simply wrong), and “rape is almost worse than murder.”

Are you able to keep your breakfast down after reading all that?

If you don't understand how utterly stupid those comments are, let's connect the dots for you. A woman sued the college seeking millions of dollars and claiming she was a virgin before she was assaulted and that she has no interest in sex after. The college is seeking discovery to test the veracity of her claims. See, that's how the system works in every civil case. The bellyachers don't seem to understand that when you're the defendant in a lawsuit that seeks millions of dollars of damages from you, you don't just "believe" the plaintiff, you require her prove her claims.

Most offensive is the dishonest spin the usual suspects put on it--that the school is looking for the information to show that the woman is promiscuous, and that such questions are a reason women don't report being raped.

It reminds me of one of my favorite cases. Back in 2008, we reported that a woman who was arrested for falsely crying "rape" had the audacity to proclaim, "That's why women don't report rape." See here.

Sexual grievance lobby take note: when you don't even take your own memes seriously, you shouldn't expect other people to take them seriously, either. I hope the court sanctions this woman for refusing to answer a question that tests the veracity of her own allegations.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Heather MacDonald is back, in fine form

". . . preserving the principle of male fault is more important than protecting females from 'rape.'”

Read it here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Song lyrics where a guy asks a girl what she means is 'rape culture'

Justin Bieber has a new single out called "What Do You Mean?" and it contains these lyrics:

What do you mean? Oh, oh
When you nod your head yes
But you wanna say no
What do you mean? Hey-ey

Bieber explained the track's meaning himself: "Girls are often just flip-floppy. They say something and they mean something else. So … what do you mean? I don't really know, that's why I'm asking."

And, of course, this is misogyny!

Lena Dunham--actress, author, screenwriter, producer, and director--sent out a tweet that a lot of people assumed referred to Bieber's song:

"Let's do away with pop songs where a girl nods yes when she means no and vice versa, k?"

Really, Dunham? Artists should self-censor? Why on earth?

Pundits said Dunham's tweet suggested the song promotes or alludes to "rape culture." See here and here.  And, no, I'm not making that up--"rape culture." Has any other imaginary concept ever been invoked as often to mean so much and, really, nothing at all?  Read what we said about "rape culture" last week here.

Even in the alternate universe of the extremists who run the sexual grievance industry, the song is about the least objectionable thing imaginable. Its lyrics have a guy asking a girl for clarification about she means. Isn't that exactly what both men and women are supposed to do when they are confused?

Dunham denies she was dissing Justin Bieber with her tweet, and whether Dunham was thinking "rape culture" when she tweeted doesn't matter--her tweet was preposterous.

It would be nice if women's outward manifestations of assent always mirrored their inner thoughts, but we've learned that's not the case. A new survey shows that almost half of all college women--a full 44 percent--think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. And, of course, there is a scientifically proven "regret asymmetry" separating young men and women in the bedroom that makes women regret sexual encounters after-the-fact more than men.

I never thought I'd type these words, but, at least in this song, Justin Bieber's lyrics hold a mirror up to a lot of relationships. People like Dunham don't like the mirror. They want to pretend that women always manifest their true desires with crystal clarity, and if men behave in a way women don't like, it's men's fault. And it's rape

One way to promote healthier sexual relationships and to reduce rape hysteria would be for female role models like Lena Dunham to admit publicly that there's a great deal of truth in these lyrics.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ohio store suggests need for "Freshman Son Drop Off"--in order to start a "conversation" about "rape culture"

A store in Columbus, Ohio is trying to turn the tables on some OSU frat guys who put up banners outside their house reading “Daughter Daycare 2.0” and “Dads, we’ll take it from here.” The OSU banners were similar to the Old Dominion frat banners we wrote about last week. In response, the store posted the above picture on Facebook. They say it's an attempt to "start a conversation" about "rape culture."

You may recall that extremist pundits used the Old Dominion banners as yet another excuse to whip up campus rape hysteria and to talk about "rape culture."  This Facebook post is just more of the same, tired silliness. Our guess is that the store doesn't really want "a conversation"--that they'd much prefer a monologue. In any event, what more can be said about a made-up culture that has been used to foment hostility to due process and diminish the rights of so many innocents?

This latest Facebook post only underscores what we wrote last week--about how destructive the "rape culture" meme is: "The real problem with the 'rape culture' meme is that it foments rape hysteria and encourages young women to reduce young men to vile caricature and see them as predators."

And that's exactly what this store is doing--it is using a broad brush, under the guise of "starting a conversation," to demonize and shame an entire gender by suggesting that college men, as a class, are in need of a talk about rape.

Rape is not "normalized," it is aberrant criminal behavior that is almost universally detested (try telling these men victimized by rape hysteria that it isn't). Sarcastically reminding teenage men, as a class, not to rape accomplishes nothing. (The store would do well to spark "a conversation" among college women--almost half of all college women think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. It seems the bigger problem is that--incredibly--college women are mistaking their own consent for sexual assault.)

It is amusing that the folks who buy into the "rape culture" meme were among the loudest voices to protest when GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump fear-mongered that rape is normalized among undocumented immigrants. Trump's generalization was horrible, they said (we agreed).  But somehow, that same crowd has no difficulty insisting that rape is normalized among mostly white college men. That they can't see their own hypocrisy is mind-boggling, laughable, and frightening, all at once.