Thursday, May 14, 2015

Campus activist who claims she was raped despite serious questions is feted as a hero; campus activist who exposed injustice in the school's handling of sexual assault claims is treated as a pariah

This is a tale of two campus activists. One wants the world to believe she was raped despite serious questions about her claim; the other is concerned about systemic injustice to men accused of campus rape. Can you guess which one is regarded as a hero, and which a pariah?


First, we have Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz, who claims a fellow student named Paul Nungesser sexually assaulted her. Sulkowicz is now a bona fide feminist icon because she carried her "rape" mattress around campus in a loony "performance art" demonstration of her self-proclaimed victimhood. Professor KC Johnson summed it up: "Even though [Paul Nungesser] was found not culpable in Columbia’s accuser-friendly adjudication process; and even though the NYPD declined to pursue Sulkowicz’s claims; and even though Nungesser’s advisor cast doubt on Sulkowicz’s portrayal of the Columbia disciplinary process; and even though flirtatious e-mails from Sulkowicz to Nungesser seemed irreconcilable with Sulkowicz’s claim that Nungesser violently attacked her—media portrayals offered up Sulkowicz as a 'survivor.'”

Worse, the school has actively supported Sulkowicz's one-woman witch hunt. The president has expressed sympathy for her, and the professor who supervised the mattress insanity called it "an amazingly significant and poignant and powerful symbol . . .." Even a United States Senator got swept up in the Emma-frenzy, branding the man she accused a "rapist" based on nothing more than the mattress toter's say-so.

Some people know better, but there is tremendous pressure on them not to say so. The former editorial page editor of the school's student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, candidly admitted that the campus news media didn't cover Sulkowicz's story impartially, critically, or thoroughly. He said that if he had written that due process should be respected, he would have been excoriated and branded as someone harming survivors.


Next, we have Professor David Barnett at the University of Colorado. When Prof. Barnett took it upon himself to investigate the school's handling of a sexual assault claim against a former student of his and “became convinced that [the school] had intentionally and systematically manipulated the evidence in order to support a finding of guilt,” instead of applauding him for exposing injustice, the University decided to fire him, claiming he retaliated against the female student.

Prof. Barnett appealed. A faculty panel said he did not retaliate against the female student, and recommended that he not be terminated. Before the school's president acted on the recommendation, the school paid Prof. Barnett $290,000 to leave. The School said it just wanted him off campus for so long as the female student at issue remained a student, to "protect her learning environment," but Barnett is certain the school's president was intent on terminating him permanently.

Prof. Barnett still believes the university has a "flawed system" for investigating sexual misconduct claims and said he wishes the university would devote "comparable resources" to establishing an appeal process for those found responsible of sexual misconduct. "It grants the accused no right to see the evidence against him or her, no right to a hearing and no right to appeal," he said.

Prof. Barnett is merely voicing the same concerns expressed by numerous (almost entirely liberal) law professors the past few months. Their voices have been almost entirely ignored except on sites like this one.

And there you have it, a microcosm of the inexplicable campus "rape culture" insanity that has swept this nation the past few years. A self-proclaimed rape "survivor" is feted as a hero despite serious questions about her claim; a professor concerned about injustice to the accused is reviled as a pariah despite serious flaws in the system he's exposed. We are so far down the rabbit hole, not even the rabbits can survive at this depth. No one cares whether Emma Sulkowicz was actually raped, or whether Paul Nungesser is actually innocent or about protecting his "learning environment."  All that matters is the theater, the spectacle, of simple-minded gender morality plays, where the scripts are written long before the facts are known, and the heroes and villains are selected based on whether the players have a vagina or a penis.

If, indeed, the world has gone mad, one thing is certain: it started on the campuses of American colleges and universities.