Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Old Dominion frat banners are not evidence of 'rape culture'

A fraternity at Old Dominion University has been suspended for hanging three banners from a balcony bearing these messages: “Rowdy and fun—hope your baby girl is ready for a good time,” “Freshman daughter drop off,” and “Go ahead and drop mom off too…” See here. They are the latest manifestation of a hook-up culture that detaches sex from emotional intimacy. Robby Soave summed it up: "Some frat brothers are eager to have sex with girls—is this surprising?"

But the real story about the banners is the overreaction to them. On a day when two innocent television journalists were horrifically gunned down on-the-air by a former reporter colleague (the shooter tweeted his own gruesome video of the misdeed before killing himself), a writer named Adrienne Lafrance declared that the fraternity banners are "worthy of international attention." Yep, you read that right--"international attention."

If that seems over-the-top to the point of absurdity, Lafrance's explanation is even sillier. She harrumphs that such banners are not "distinct . . . from the prevalence of rape on college campuses." They are, rather, a manifestation of the dreaded "rape culture."

And when Moe konks Curly on the head with an over-sized mallet, it's evidence that we live in a "murder culture."

You see, to the chronically offended extremists who insist ours is a "rape culture," rape is "in the air"--it's like "The Force" in Star Wars, "it surrounds us and penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together." But the fact is, lewd banners are neither "rape" nor is actual rape a cultural norm. The folks who get as worked up over a leer as a brutal rape, and who have no compunction about citing non-rape as evidence of rape, don't have the foggiest idea how prevalent campus rape really is or who commits it. Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M has concluded that "pornography is no more linked to rape than violent games are to violent crimes" but to our moral superiors who dominate the public discourse on rape, facts are beside the point. When they insist these banners are a way station on the road to rape, they undermine the perceived integrity of every actual rape victim because their insane overreaction suggests that rape isn't a very serious problem--if it were, the rape pundits wouldn't be offering such crappy evidence of it. But, alas, this is a group prone to over-the-top overreactions when it comes to anything that remotely resembles men and sex.

One thing we can be fairly certain of: the boys who made the banners are neither rapists nor rapists-in-waiting because there is a chasm as forbidding and as difficult to cross as the Great Nefud Desert that separates horny frat men who openly brag about getting off from the small percentage of deviants who rape. But, hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good sexual grievance industry meta-narrative? When they cite the banners as more evidence for the "ban fraternities" movement, it's as compelling as Rolling Stone's manufactured gang rape of Jackie at UVA.

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. We can thank the "rape culture" hysteria for the fact 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. This sort of wrong-headed thinking translates into policy: the "rape culture" meme gives license to anti-due processors who are happy to chip away at critical rights of persons accused of sexual misconduct--that's not my opinion, it's a fact. The quartet of judicial decisions in the past several weeks supporting college men accused of sexual assault shows how terribly misguided the "rape culture" extremists are. We can expect a lot more favorable court decisions in the months ahead as the cases work their way through the judicial process in the wake of the mandates of the Department of Education's unjust "Dear Colleague" letter.

Regardless, there is no question that the extremists who trade in "rape culture" hysteria have done more to harm innocents on campus than the most ardent law-and-order conservatives -- ironically, the purveyors of the "rape culture" meme are otherwise among the last people who'd want to roll back due process rights, but when it comes to college men and sex, the term "man-haters" is not too strong to describe them. It is time to insist that RAINN's counsel be heeded and that the "rape culture" meme be mothballed once and for all. "Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime," according to RAINN. The "unfortunate" tendency to blame 'rape culture' for sexual assault," RAINN wrote, "has led to an inclination to focus on . . . traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., 'masculinity'), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape." The extremists think they know better than the most prominent anti-rape organization in America.

The chronically offended gender zealots are dangerous people.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Proof that colleges are following wrong path to fight sexual assault falls on deaf ears--and the reason is obvious

". . . perhaps the fact that the media response has come from one end of the ideological spectrum has revealed this a political issue."

Tell us something we don't know. But read the whole article here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Should colleges be required to report rape to law enforcement? The argument is unworthy of serious debate

The question of whether colleges should only report rape to law enforcement at the whim of the accuser is not merely absurd, it is unworthy of serious debate. That there is debate about the issue is an indication of the power of extremists on matters of college sexual assault.

If a student were brutally beaten, would anyone suggest a college should not report it without the accuser's consent? By failing to report, innocent students are put at risk. Rape is no different. The oft-repeated meme that requiring colleges to report to law enforcement will keep some victims from reporting is, of course, the worst kind of politicized bullshit. As Joe Cohn of FIRE has explained: "Requiring institutions to report allegations to police doesn’t require the complainant to cooperate with investigators." (In other words, it's like any other crime.) "If the alleged victim doesn’t want to talk to the police, he or she doesn’t have to. But without notifying police at all, authorities are left in the dark, without the opportunity to offer support and services to complainants, or discover other evidence to prosecute the crime."

To allow colleges to not report plays into the dangerous stereotypes that rape is a "different" kind of crime and that women are helpless children who need to be coddled.

It also sends out the unmistakable signal that college sexual assault really isn't a "crime-crime" like assault and armed robbery and murder. It's just a card college women ought to be allowed to play if they feel like it. Is that really what they want?

And, of course, almost everyone agrees that colleges are unqualified to investigate and do justice when it comes to thorny issues of she said-she said sexual assault.

So why are we even having this debate? We are having this debate because the usual suspects who dominate the public discourse on all things gender have created an empire of their own on college campuses, with the help of an extremist Department of Education that shares their philosophy. There, they have have created their own little pro-accuser system of "justice." What does that mean?  You see, it has long been the ultimate goal of radical feminists to shift the burden of proof in sexual assault cases from the accuser to the accused (to force the accused to prove sex wasn't rape any time an accusation is lodged -- something that flips due process on its head), and they have been able to achieve this on campus. This goal of shifting the burden of proof is part and parcel of their extremist belief that we should automatically believe the accuser--and that belief is the animating impulse behind their hostility to the due process rights of the accused when it comes to sexual assault.

Make no mistake, once they are certain they've "won" on college campuses, they will try to bring their peculiar brand of "justice" to a courthouse near you, and that's a good reason to kill it now, before it gets bigger and bigger.

To involve law enforcement in college sexual assault accusations threatens the very foundations of their empire, and that is why they will do anything they can to oppose it. That these policies hurt innocent men and fail to protect innocent women is beside the point to these zealots. Those are not their concerns.

All persons of goodwill need to stand with the legal scholars who have condemned the extremists. And now, finally, as the cases of expelled men work their way through the judicial process, judges in a string of judicial decisions have joined the growing chorus.

Right will always win out in the end. Sometimes, terrible things need to happen first to awaken the good people to stand and say, "Enough!" We've now reached that point.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Average guys who did big things, and little things, that inspire

The summer is winding down, and as we start the weekend, I thought we should take a break today for a change of pace--off-topic stories we've written about average guys who did big things and little things that inspire. They are among my favorite posts on this blog, and I hope you like them:

Carlos Arredondo: Inside a Broken Man There Lived a Hero

Joseph Argenzio, Jr.: A Boy at D-Day

Aaron Tobey: The College Student Charged with Disorderly Conduct for Displaying the Words of the United States Constitution

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Landmark case shines light on real campus rape 'epidemic': equating regret with rape

A landmark judicial decision was handed last week that will have important implications for college men wrongly accused of sexual assault. In Doe v. Washington & Lee Univ., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102426 (W.D. Va. 2015), a federal judge appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton ruled that when a college promotes the idea that a woman's post-intercourse regret is tantamount to rape, it manufactures a climate of gender discrimination against male students that can "railroad" (the court's word, not mine) the innocent who are wrongly accused of sex offenses. Read the decision here--and I summarize it in the next section below. The Doe v. W&L decision is among the most important events for wrongly accused college men in a long time because it shines a light on the root cause of the so-called campus rape "epidemic"--something this blog has called the "regret asymmetry" that separates the sexes. Women, more than men, regret casual sex, and it is these unsatisfying sexual unions caused by regret--not rape--that is the real sex problem on campus. Read about it here.

What is chilling is the allegation in the case by the accused male student that a college administrator openly promotes the idea that regret is tantamount to rape--an idea that is absurd, unjust, and hateful all at the same time. Sadly, this thinking appears to be gaining ground among college women (see below), and it needs to be stopped. It is time for a national conversation about the single most important issue when it comes to campus sexual assault, the "regret asymmetry" that separates young men and women.

Doe v. W&L

In the Doe v. W&L case, a W&L student, pseudonymously called “John Doe,” sued W&L for, inter alia, violating Title IX (which forbids gender discrimination in colleges) in connection with his expulsion for alleged nonconsensual sexual intercourse with a W&L female student, pseudonymously called “Jane Doe.” W&L filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted in part and denied in part. All of the facts in the case are taken from Doe's complaint--whether they are accurate will need to be proven at trial. Doe’s complaint averred that John and Jane met at a party then proceeded back to his room where Jane initiated sexual intimacy, and the two proceeded to have consensual sex. The next morning, he drove her home, and they exchanged phone numbers. Jane later told a friend she "had a good time.” Thereafter, John and Jane became Facebook “friends,” and John texted her, “. . . I felt like we had a pretty good connection,” and she responded, "haha I thought we did as well.”

Approximately one month after their initial encounter, they again had consensual sex. But then, Jane saw John at a party kissing another female and left upset. That summer, Jane went to work at a women's clinic that dealt with sexual assault issues. Seven months after the initial encounter, Jane visited a therapist, who said Jane’s had “an evolution” about how she felt about the initial encounter.

Thereafter, Jane attended a presentation by W&L's Title IX Officer, Lauren Kozak, who introduced an Internet article the court would later label “gender biased” against males to alleged that "regret equals rape." Kozak said that “everyone, herself included, is starting to agree with” that.

Almost nine months after the encounter in question, Jane initiated an internal disciplinary investigation of John. Ms. Kozak interviewed John and refused to allow him to involve an attorney. A hearing was held, and, among other irregularities, Jane was not asked about inconsistencies in her various statements about the encounter. After the hearing, Rolling Stone published an article about a later-debunked gang rape at UVA. The next day, W&L found John responsible for sexual assault. John maintained the decision was prompted to avoid a backlash similar to the one felt by UVA from the Rolling Stone article.

In the lawsuit he filed, John alleged all manner of bias in W&L's handling of his case, including ignoring evidence that supported his position. The court held that John Doe alleged sufficient facts – including the Title IX coordinator’s suggestion that regret is tantamount to rape – to plead a Title IX violation, and the court denied W&L’s motion to dismiss that claim. “Plaintiff's allegations, taken as true, suggest that W&L's disciplinary procedures . . . amount to ‘a practice of railroading accused students,’ and, if true, it amounts to gender bias.

Regret = Rape: The Sexual Grievance Industry's Latest Innovation

The loony purveyors of sexual grievances keep pushing the envelope to top their last inanity. Their latest and boldest effort is to equate regret with rape. The plaintiff in Doe v. W&L makes the chilling accusation that a college administrator openly equated regret with rape, and declared that this thinking is the wave of the future. Unfortunately for her, and her school, a federal judge has ruled that this sort of thinking can be gender discrimination against males.

Thankfully there are fair-minded jurists, because this sort of thinking already seems to be all the rage on campus. A college student recently wrote a jaw-dropping article about how she was "raped by rape culture." What does that mean? It means she clearly manifested her assent to have sex, but later claimed she secretly didn't want to have sex and only did so because the culture tells her she's supposed to.

And it isn't just isolated horror stories that suggest women think it's acceptable to say "yes" and later cry "rape" because of regret. In fact, we have evidence our daughters are being taught that a woman's "yes" can be transmogrified into a "no" after-the-fact if she regrets the encounter. A new Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows that almost half of all college women-- full 44 percent--think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent.  So if a guy proceeds to insert his penis in the woman's vagina after she nods "yes," he will be a rapist if she later decides she regretted the encounter. With all the tens of millions of dollars being spent on the "war on rape," almost half of all college women mistake consent for rape--and is it any wonder? Because this is what the sexual grievance industry teaches in waging the "war on rape," and too many of our daughters are buying it. We are raising a generation of nitwits.

But, you might protest, this wrong-headed thinking won't translate into policy. You would be wrong: they've already made it a punishable offense. When young men nag their dates for sex, and young women agree to have sex just to make them happy even though they secretly don't want to, they call it "sexual coercion," and innumerable colleges all across America have made it a punishable offense. Read that again: we are not talking women who have no reasonable alternative but to submit to sex, we are talking about women who freely choose to have sex for any number of reasons but later decide the male student ought to be punished for asking for it in the wrong way.

The "regret asymmetry" is at the heart of the campus rape "epidemic." But instead of working to reduce students' unsatisfying sexual encounters by educating them about this asymmetry, the sexual grievance industry wants to outright punish young men--and young men alone--whenever males and females act out the gender roles assigned to them by biology and the culture and women later decide the encounter was unsatisfying. "Consent" no longer means what the dictionary says it means--it has been co-opted by the sexual grievance industry and twisted and pounded beyond all recognition. Colleges are flooded not with rape victims, but with women groping for victimhood because their moral superiors--angry radical feminists--tell them to. Rape is never okay, but we're not talking about rape. Let us be blunt: we're talking about feminists teaching women that they have no responsibility even to tell the truth about whether they want to have sex. We're talking about a cry of "rape" being used to punish innocent young men simply because they can.

What To Do

We need to expose the inanity. We need to call them what they are--"hysterics, paranoids and boodlers"--and above all else, extremists. We need to explain to people that what they are promoting isn't a public policy, it's good old fashioned man-hating--a sort of gender get-evenism for millennials.

We need to divert all the resources being wasted on the "war on rape"--start with the the posters telling "men" as a class not to rape--and instead use them to teach our young people about the "regret asymmetry" that divides the sexes. We need to teach them that, alas, men and women are different, that young men have these things called "testicles" that give them an enhanced sex drive that (dare I say it?) makes men want to have sex more than women, and that men aren't hard-wired to be cautious about having sex the way women are since they can't pregnant. In short, we need to teach our young people all the things our parents taught us, and their parents taught them, because they're true.

And we need to teach our college administrators that regret is not tantamount to rape, and we need to fire the ones who teach that it is.

Finally, we need to teach college men to stop being so damn timid, to fight back, and to understand that an angry political lobby has a bulls-eye on their scrota for reasons having nothing to do with them.

How did we reach the point where insanity has become the norm when it comes to campus sex? We've reached that point because we've allowed gender zealots who subsist off tuition and tax dollars but who lack critical thinking skills to dominate the public discourse on these issues.

It's time to take back the night, for the wrongly accused, and to exile the extremists to the kids table where they belong.

Regret = a 'rape-ish' situation

The article below echoes a growing trend: the sexual grievance lobby is now insisting that when a women later regrets having sex, regardless of her outward manifestations of assent at the time of the act, it is a form of sexual assault. We've laughed off these idiotic assertions in the past, but it's clear that it's no laughing matter--it seems to be a trend. Here's an example:

"Is it Possible That There Is Something In Between Consensual Sex And Rape…And That It Happens To Almost Every Girl Out There?"

by Veronica Ruckh
I rolled out of bed around noon that day, in celebration of it being Saturday. After no fewer than 13 hours of drinking, I ended up at my friend Matt’s house. I had been flirting with him all night–and arguably all of my college career.

He wasn’t traditionally good-looking, but he was a notorious charmer with some serious bad boy in him that made him weirdly hot in a not-hot way. Even though we’d been strictly platonic since we met, I always felt a twinge of secret excitement when I had his attention, so when I found myself having a heart-to-heart with him in his bedroom, I felt a weird combination of emotions. Part of me felt as if I was 15 again. I was excited and nervous to be there. I was hyper aware of my body, and of his, wondering, maybe even hoping, he’d kiss me. Another part of me felt that this was wrong. Not in an “it’s wrong, but it’s hot and scandalous and I still want to do it” way–wrong as in not right, wrong as in uncomfortable. This was not a guy I wanted to get involved with. This was a guy who’d had anonymous girl after anonymous girl in and out of his bedroom since we were in the dorms. This was a guy with whom I’d had countless conversations about his inability to care about women, romantically. This was Matt. He interrupted my inner conflict with something that would have way more weight years later.

“I feel like you want me to make a move, just so you can turn me down,” he said.

Before I even had a chance to decide if he was right, we were making out. In my state of extreme intoxication, my mind was racing in search of a decision. This was exciting. This was fun. But this was also really, really weird, and ultimately, not a road I wanted to go down. I couldn’t decide if the excitement and lust in the air would win over the pit in my stomach. It wasn’t until he grabbed a condom that I really knew how I felt. I was not okay with this. I did not want to have sex with him.

But I did.

He slid inside me and I didn’t say a word. At the time, I didn’t know why. Maybe I didn’t want to feel like I’d led him on. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him. Maybe I just didn’t want to deal with the “let’s do it, but no, we shouldn’t” verbal tug-of-war that so often happens before sleeping with someone. It was easier to just do it. Besides, we were already in bed, and this is what people in bed do. I felt an obligation, a duty to go through with it. I felt guilty for not wanting to. I wasn’t a virgin. I’d done this before. It shouldn’t have been a big deal–it’s just sex–so I didn’t want to make it one.

I stared at the ceiling the whole time, occasionally flashing him the fake smile reserved for people you accidentally make eye contact with in the grocery store. I don’t think I moved the entire time, and I didn’t care if he noticed. I just wanted it to end, and I knew it wouldn’t be long. I just had to suck it up for a few minutes, let him do his thing, and it would be over. When it finally was, he smiled at me, kissed my forehead, and asked how it was. As we cuddled, I realized that what we had done was no different to him than the sex he’d had with anyone else. Overnight, I convinced myself it was no different to me, either.

I woke up with an “oh shit” feeling that quickly turned into an “oh well.” I didn’t really feel I’d been violated, though part of me knew I had. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t hurt. I didn’t want vengeance. I didn’t even feel weird around him soon after. I didn’t feel much of anything. I certainly didn’t feel like I’d been raped. But what had happened the night prior was not consensual sex, and I didn’t like it. I wanted the flirting. I wanted the kissing. I wanted the sleepover. But I didn’t want to go all the way. And that’s very hard to explain to a man who is just as drunk as you are.

There is not a word for my experience. The fact that there’s not a word for it makes us feel like it doesn’t exist. Or maybe there’s not a word for it because we’re pretending it doesn’t exist. But this weird place in between consensual sex and rape? It’s there. It does exist. And it’s happening all the time. As it turns out, almost every woman I spoke to had been there at some point or another:

“To be honest, it would have been awkward to say no, so I just did it.”

“I don’t feel like it was a huge deal. Sometimes you have to have lunch with girls you don’t want to have lunch with, and sometimes you have to have sex with boys you don’t want to have sex with. Maybe you’re pissy about it right after, but it doesn’t affect you long-term, you know?”

“He was really drunk. He had no way of knowing I didn’t want it.”

It happens to us with consistent hookups, first dates, boyfriends, and one-night stands alike. We have sex with guys, because sometimes it’s just easier to do it than to have the argument about not doing it. But no one talks about it. Talking about it makes it a big deal. It makes us feel like we’re whining. It makes us feel like we’re being dramatic. And we don’t want it to be dramatic. We don’t feel entirely violated. It doesn’t affect us forever. We just feel like we got the short end of the stick, and that sometimes, we have to do something we don’t want to do, out of politeness or social obligation. So why bring it up? Why risk wrongfully tagging a guy with a serious, heavy label he doesn’t deserve? And more importantly, why risk being wrongfully tagged as “the girl who cried rape,” when we’re not trying to say it was rape at all? We’re saying we don’t know what it was. We just didn’t like it. But by refusing to acknowledge the existence of these rape-ish situations, we’re continuing to subject ourselves to them indefinitely.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dastardly fraternities invite police to investigate rape claims: how depraved can they be!

Fraternities, those rape pits of the modern academy where "raping, assaulting and treating women as substantially less than human is not only allowed, but encouraged," are so decidedly evil that, in the aftermath of Rolling Stone's imaginary rape exposé, many people called for them to be banned.

Well, it turned out the Rolling Stone story was a big lie, as is the one-in-five stat, and the claim that only 2-to-8 percent of rape claims are false. But so what? The lies serve a greater purpose, don't they? DON'T THEY?! And it's perfectly okay to reduce frat men to vile caricature--after all, no one cares if a bunch of young white men are offended about how they're treated.

Yet--go figure--it's evil fraternity men who are now the ones leading the charge to insure that every claim of sexual assault is reported to the police. This is a requirement of the proposed Safe Campus Act, which would mandate that before any claim of sexual assault is investigated by the school internally, it must be turned over to law enforcement. Fraternities are pushing for the new law.

Can fraternities be any more depraved?

The usual suspects are having a hissy fit over the proposed law. See here and here. They are suggesting that somehow it would shield rapists and put women at greater risk. Why? Because it assures the accused fair processes.

Down, down, down the rabbit hole we tumble.

It makes sense that the sexual grievance industry clings to the status quo when you consider that they constructed the current college system and it's wholly consistent with their "always believe the woman" meme. The current system mandates that even if there is a reasonable doubt about the accuser's story, and even if the evidence in her favor isn't clear and convincing, her accusation can still be believed. Funny, the sexual grievance industry doesn't care that it's unfair to the accused that he can be labeled a "rapist" for the rest of his life under those circumstances. And none of that protects women from real rapists. See here.

Now, you need to understand something--and here's what the dopes who are complaining never mention. Inviting the police to investigate rape allegations subjects the young frat men to a world of possible trouble--I mean, big time trouble, much worse than being expelled. See, law enforcement doesn't always get it right, and they literally destroy the lives of a lot of young men. Can you say Duke lacrosse? Hofstra? Brian Banks? Jonathon Montgomery? Matt Folino? The young man hauled out of class because of a rape lie by a classmate he never met? The men randomly picked from Facebook and falsely accused of rape? The three men arrested for a false rape lie because a woman wanted an excuse for being late for work? Or how about Warren Blackwell who spent three years and four months behind bars for a false rape claim by a woman who had fabricated at least seven other allegations of sexual and physical assault--when Mr. Blackwell was finally released, he got a bill for £12,500 for "board and lodging" in prison. And Dwayne Dail--now there's one almost too horrific to speak about. The line forms to the left, and if you need a primer on wrongful arrest, start here.

The difference between the real world and the academy is that in the former, at least there's supposed to be due process even though a lot of times there isn't. In the latter, they don't even bother to pretend there's supposed to be due process. The frat brothers are saying they'll side with the very imperfect system where there's supposed to be due process, even though it puts them at great potential risk.

But can't have that on campus. That "due process" nonsense--it interferes with their "always believe the woman" agenda.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pointing out that it's misleading to say that "only 2 to 8 percent of rape accusations are false" is "a quantifiable example of our society's eagerness to be suspicious instead of supportive"

The claim that "only 2 to 8 percent of rape accusations are false" is, itself, extremely misleading. In fact, of all the rape claims that can be definitively classified, a huge percentage are false.

The real problem with the "2 to 8 percent" canard is that it's invoked to chip away at the due process rights of the presumptively innocent, and for that reason alone, it is important to expose the lie.

Yet, we have idiocy like this, from someone named Danielle Campoamor, who says that even calling the lie into question is "a quantifiable example of our society's eagerness to be suspicious instead of supportive."

Actually, pointing out the lie is a "quantifiable example" of our society's eagerness to be honest.

Backlash against the Safe Campus Act: Naysayers insist it makes women less safe, but it actually makes women safer

Last week, we explained that the proposed Safe Campus Act--a law that would afford college men accused of sexual assault due process rights--has come under attack. Now the Huffington Post's Tyler Kingkade has chimed in. Kindkade can't hide his dislike for the proposed law. While ostensibly presenting "both" sides of the issue, his treatment is heavily tilted in favor of the side that doesn't like the proposed law.

Chief among the "grave reservations" Kingkade references is the provision that says a college's disciplinary machinery for alleged sexual assault can't be activated unless the accuser allows the school to report the alleged violation to law enforcement. The very headline of Mr. Kingkade's article is "Fraternity Groups Push Bills To Limit College Rape Investigations," and he quotes someone who posits that "colleges and universities would have grave reservations about any legislation that would limit our ability to ensure a safe campus."

The notion that involving professional law enforcement makes college campuses less safe than the current broken system--where "justice" is meted out by politicized, poorly trained, amateur disciplinary panels--is grossly deceptive and irresponsible. The present system does not keep women safe from rapists. Booting an alleged rapist off campus isn't going to stop him from slipping back onto campus if he wants to, or, more likely, from legally frequenting the same off-campus hangouts where he might have committed the very misdeed that got him expelled. If we were truly serious about protecting women from the purported epidemic of rape, we would insist that every report be turned over to the professionals in law enforcement who can actually protect women by removing rapists from society.

But the worst part about Mr. Kingkade's article is his refusal to acknowledge that the current system, in all its Star Chamber ramifications, enhances the likelihood that innocent young men are being punished for offenses they didn't commit. Kingkade writes: "The Safe and Fair Campus Acts could allow schools to set a much higher standard in these proceedings, potentially making it more difficult to punish offenders."

But Kingkade doesn't bother to mention the other side of the coin--that the much lower standard now mandated by the Department of Education potentially makes it easier to punish innocent men.  That fact is either lost on Kingkade, or he is blithely unconcerned about the possibility of punishing innocent young men.

The world is topsy turvy. On this one issue, the otherwise progressive Huffington Post allies itself with law and order conservatives who typically have fought the expansion of individual due process rights at every turn. It does this because the group whose due process rights are at issue is young college men--a group that few people, aside from the young men's families, is concerned about.

Aside from putting innocent men at risk, the anti-due process crowd does no favors for survivors of sexual violence. A system so obviously in need of repair undermines the public's confidence in the results it reaches. When it's widely, and correctly, believed that students accused of sexual violence aren't being treated fairly, triers of fact on disciplinary boards may become all the more wary about punishing even those who deserve to be punished, compounding the injustices. That's not good for anyone.

Do these folks really want to keep women safe, or are they just parroting the talking points of the sexual grievance industry that justifies its existence by claiming women aren't safe?

Friday, July 31, 2015

The backlash against the Safe Campus Act has begun

The inevitable backlash to the Safe Campus Act came sooner than I expected--it started a few hours after the bill was introduced. What's jaw-dropping is that the backlashers aren't even bothering to hide their contempt for due process any more.

A woman named Sarah Merriman, identified by the Washington Post as a spokeswoman for SAFER Campus, has come out against the bill, which would provide badly needed due process protections for students accused of sexual assault. Ms. Merriman made it clear that she's not interested in hearing about due process rights for the accused at this time:
We are not at a point to analyze “due process,” when many survivors are publicly shamed on their campuses, when charges against assaulters can be dismissed out of hand by administrators, when an assaulter is allowed to sit across from a survivor and shout down their story.

If we are to truly believe in due process for all, we must prioritize the needs of survivors first and foremost.
Why do people like Ms. Merriman harbor such fear and loathing of fair hearings? Insisting that the system is "broke" for accusers is not a valid justification for keeping it "broke" for the students accused.  And there is no question the system doesn't work for the men accused. The leading champion for victims' rights on campus has openly admitted that "in a lot of these cases, the campus is holding the male accountable in spite of the evidence – or the lack thereof – because they think they are supposed to . . .." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen. . . ." The academy's hostility to due process has been roundly condemned by prominent legal scholars with no ax to grind and who skew progressive. A court recently ripped off the scab and revealed an ugly pus--students accused of sexual assault are being treated unfairly. That's not something dreamed up by conservatives or the "men's rights movement."

All of us can be concerned about injustice to both the victims of sexual violence and the victims of wrongful accusations of sexual violence without comprising our fidelity to either group. It's not all-or-nothing, it's not a zero sum game, and it's not always about them--meaning the gender zealots who dominate the public discourse on these issues. Sometimes, its about the innocents who are wrongly accused because, yes, sometimes accusers lie, and sometimes they are mistaken.

Due process was invented to protect the innocent not the guilty, and that's why an accusation is never tantamount to a finding of guilt. Insisting on due process in rape cases is not "victim blaming" or misogyny because we cannot assume guilt based on what happened in unrelated cases. People of goodwill have grown weary of the sexual grievance lobby's Oppression Olympics and it's blithe dismissal of the wrongly accused. And the extremists' shrill insistence that the interests of one gender trump those of another evinces a childish and unschooled contempt for concepts that are foundational to our jurisprudence.

It is well to note that Ms. Merriman and her ilk do no favors for survivors of sexual violence by refusing to embrace fair processes for students accused of sexual violence. A system so obviously in need of repair undermines the public's confidence in the results it reaches. When it's widely, and correctly, believed that students accused of sexual violence aren't being treated fairly, triers of fact on disciplinary boards may become all the more wary about punishing even those who deserve to be punished, compounding the injustices. That's not good for anyone. The "round up the usual suspects" crowd has done more to harm victims of sexual assault than anyone (can you say "Duke Lacrosse"? "Hofstra"? "Brian Banks"? Jackie of Rolling Stone fame? Need more examples? Spend a few weeks reading through this blog--that's how long it will take you.)

It is time for all persons of goodwill to condemn comments like those made by Sarah Merriman. And all of us should urge our representatives to get behind this effort and to become a co-sponsor of it: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Feminist says 'who cares' if the UVA frat members were harmed by the Rolling Stone story--the 'Jackie' lie served a greater purpose

These were comments under an article posted at Jezebel that, among other things, dealt with the UVA frat members who sued Rolling Stone for lying about them and causing them emotional distress.

http://jezebel.com/fraternity-pac-backs-legislation-to-protect-students-ac-1721046654

Thought you'd enjoy this. I am still chuckling over it. The comment is so outrageous, at first I thought it must be a troll. But then I remembered, I've seen a lot of comments from bona fide feminists that were every bit as outrageous--just start reading and you'll see what I mean: http://www.cotwa.info/2014/12/2014-in-review-year-of-backlash-against.html

Warning: don't go to that Jezebel article an empty stomach. The comments are very depressing. A lot of Jezebel readers are not happy about the Safe Campus Act bill--because, you know, due process sucks and all.

Here's my take on the backlash to the new Safe Campus Act bill--please read it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Safe Campus Act would give students accused of sexual violence lots of protections: nine reasons I like it

The Safe Campus Act of 2015 sponsored by Republican Reps. Matt Salmon of Arizona and Pete Sessions and Kay Granger of Texas is a significant bill because it provides rights for both the accuser and the accused. The latter's interests typically are omitted from legislative efforts. The new bill would create a veritable sea change in the current legal landscape when it comes to handling allegations of sexual violence in the academy. Finally, at long last, persons accused of sexual violence are to be given protections. Here's FIRE's take on it--which is pretty much the last word on the subject. And here's a great illustration of how it works.

All of us should urge our representatives to get behind this effort, to sign onto it: http://www.house.gov/representatives/ And we should all write to our local newspapers to urge our representatives to sign on to it. It should not take much to sell this to the general public--who can be against fairness?

Here are nine things I like about the new bill:

1.  The school's disciplinary action hinges on whether or not the accuser allows the school to report the alleged violation to law enforcement. Getting rapists off the street helps other potential victims of rape as well as men wrongly accused of rape since every rape diminishes the perceived integrity of every man accused of rape. Here's what the bill says: "If an individual provides a notification to the institution [that she does not want the matter investigated by law enforcement], the institution may not initiate or otherwise carry out any institutional disciplinary proceeding with respect to the allegation, including imposing interim measures . . . , but only if the individual includes in the notification a statement that the individual understands the effect under this subparagraph of providing the notification."

2.  Police investigations come first. The school's internal disciplinary process is halted while law enforcement investigates. "During the period in which a law enforcement agency is investigating a covered allegation reported by an institution under sub-section (a), the institution may not initiate or otherwise carry out any institutional disciplinary proceeding with respect to the allegation . . .." The school is permitted to impose interim sanctions, but they are of limited duration without a hearing.

3.  The schools must hold formal hearings with adequate notice at least two weeks before the hearing. This requirement precludes disciplining a student based solely on an investigation.

4.  No hiding evidence. "The institution shall ensure that all parties to the proceeding have access to all material evidence, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, not later than one week prior to the start of any formal hearing or similar adjudicatory proceeding. Such evidence may include but is not limited to complainant statements, third-party witness statements, electronically stored information, written communications, social media posts, and demonstrative evidence."

5.  Lawyers are allowed. This is a big one. "The institution shall permit each party to the proceeding to be represented, at the sole expense of the party, by an attorney or other advocate for the duration of the proceeding, including during the investigation of the allegation and other preliminary stages prior to a formal hearing or similar adjudicatory proceeding, and shall permit the attorney or other advocate to ask questions in the proceeding, file relevant papers, examine evidence, and examine witnesses . . . ." A caveat: "The institution shall permit each party to the proceeding to safely confront witnesses, including the complainant, in an appropriate manner, including by submitting written questions to be asked by the person serving as the adjudicator in any formal hearing or similar adjudicatory proceeding . . . ."

6.  No conflicts of interest. "The institution shall ensure that the proceeding is carried out free from conflicts of interest by ensuring that there is no commingling of administrative or adjudicative roles."

7.  Schools to set their own standard of proof. This is a big one because it rolls back the infamous "Dear Colleague" letter's insistence that schools apply a "preponderance of the evidence" standard. "An institution of higher education may establish and apply such standard of proof as it considers appropriate for purposes of any adjudication carried out as part of an institutional disciplinary proceeding under this section."

8.  Students who sue the school and win get attorney's fees. A big one because in most civil litigation in the U.S., prevailing parties don't get their attorney's fees. "In any civil action under this subsection, the court may award the prevailing party (other than the institution of higher education) compensatory damages, reasonable court costs, attorney fees, including expert fees, and any other relief in equity or law that the court deems appropriate."

9.  Violations of the new law become a breach of contract. This is a big one that, I suspect, few commentators will recognize. When wrongly expelled students sue their colleges, they can't sue for breach of contract unless the particular right was included in a contract with the school, such as a student handbook. If the school is a private institution, the student is without due process protections, so a breach of contract claim is often all he's got. This new bill explicitly says the words of the new law become part of such a contract.  "Each institution of higher education which is subject to this part shall publish annually in the institution’s Student Handbook (or equivalent publication) a statement of the procedures applicable to institutional disciplinary proceedings under this section, and shall publish such statement in the form of a contract between the institution and its students and student organizations."

Jessica Valenti has no room to attack others when it comes to comments about rape

Jessica Valenti tries to paint the entire GOP--meaning, all its members--as haters and loons: "Women have been treated to the GOP’s ridiculous theories about what constitutes rape for too long without demanding that the explain themselves."

Nice broad-brushing, Jessica--par for the course as far as you are concerned. But maybe you ought to clean up your own house before pull that, Jessica. After all, you are the person who wrote this: "Rape is part of our culture. It's normalized to the point where men who are otherwise decent guys will rape and not even think that it's wrong. And that's what terrifies me."

You know what terrifies me? Jessica Valenti.

Senators McCaskill, Heller, Ayotte and Gillibrand: why are you throwing our sons under the bus?

Senators McCaskill of Missouri, Heller of Nevada, Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Gillibrand of New York will hold a hearing this morning on the proposed Campus Accountability and Safety Act that throws our sons under the proverbial bus in the interest of pandering to extremist women's groups. Apparently, the senators believe that the war on sexual assault cannot be waged without depriving our sons of fair proceedings.

Not a single advocate for the due process rights of the accused will appear at the hearing today, which will resemble a reunion of the sexual grievance industry more than a fair hearing designed to shed light on a thorny issue.

The proposed CASA refers to accusers as "victims" 59 times and as "accusers" only twice. In an earlier version of the bill, accused students were actually called "assailants"--a chilling barometer of how gender extremists have seized not just the public discourse on this issue but the reigns of government.

The bill famously affords substantial resources only to accusing students, none to students who are accused. It would require schools to provide confidential advisers to accusers without providing confidential advisers to accused students, an unmistakable signal that the federal government's goal is not to insure fair hearings but to help accusers prevail.

Perhaps the greatest of the bill's many affronts to due process is the requirement that the persons who will decide whether our sons are expelled are to question accusers in a manner that will prevent the truth from being brought to light, and will assure a finding of guilt. The bill calls it "victim-centered, trauma-informed interview techniques," and it requires that the school "focus[ ] on the experience of the victim." The bill, of course, has it backwards: the subjective "experience" and beliefs of the accuser are of no import when it comes to sexual assault. The only pertinent inquiry is the objective evidence about what occurred--whether, based on the accuser's words, conduct, and outward manifestations, the student accused reasonably understood that the accuser had consented to the act in question. The accuser's "experience" will always be that she was raped, but as even Brett Sokolow, the nation's preeminent campus victim's advocate, has conceded: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen," and "in a lot of these cases, the campus is holding the male accountable in spite of the evidence – or the lack thereof – because they think they are supposed to . . .." (As an example of the injustice that will result by focusing on the subjective experience of the accuser, almost half of all college women think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent.) According to the proposed bill, the interview cannot suggest that the school is "judging" the reporting student's account of the alleged assault. The bill leaves it up to "the victim" whether she wants the interview of her accusation --an interview that could destroy the life an innocent young man--recorded.

This bill is the product of the sexual grievance industry that thinks your son already gets too much of that due process nonsense. It is a legislative articulation of the old feminist mantra that accusers are always to be believed. All persons of good will need to speak out against it, and to hold the offending senators accountable.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Everything we ever learned from the sexual grievance lobby turns out to be wrong

Are you sitting down? The "campus rapist" bogeyman--that infamous serial sociopath who preys on unsuspecting college women by plying them with alcohol--doesn't exist after all.

Oops!

You may or may not know that the entire multi-million dollar war on campus rape has been geared toward rooting out this mythical monstrous bastard, whose existence was "revealed" in a very influential 2002 rape study--but it turns out he's the Loch Ness Monster because that study doesn't support the conclusion that he exists, according to articles by Linda M. LeFauve and Robby Soave (here and here).

If Dr. David Lisak (he's the headliner sociologist behind the 2002 study) wants to refute those two articles, he can send his refutation to me and I'll post it in this blog. I must note that I did chuckle reading the articles by Ms. LeFauvre and Mr. Soave. They were terribly critical of Lisak's methods, and of his of explanations regarding the content of his report. Some readers might know that Lisak, a bona fide darling of the sexual grievance industry, co-authored another influential report of a study in which he not only minimized false rape claims but ripped on the work of Dr. Eugene Kanin, who suggested a crisis of false rape claims at the schools he studied. Lisak's criticisms of Dr. Kanin are extremely interesting in light of the criticisms LeFauve and Soave have lodged against Lisak himself. Lisak may want to address that if he bothers to refute the articles.

So, yet another icon of the sexual grievance industry turns out to be not so iconic? Say it ain't so! Add it to the list that includes Crystal Gail Mangum of Duke lacrosse fame; Jackie and Sabrina Erdely of Rolling Stone fame; Emma Sulkowicz and her pet mattress; the one-in-five canard (see here and here); and the meme that false rape claims are exceedingly rare (of the rape claims that can be definitively classified, false claims are more common than actual rapes).

Gee, it turns out everything the sexual grievance industry tells us is wrong. So what accounts for all these college rape claims? Could the war on imaginary rape be ginning up rape claims? There is no question about that. And it is for certain that our daughters are being purposefully confused about what "consent" means--a staggering percentage of them mistake consent for rape. How can I say that? A new Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows that almost half of all college women-- full 44 percent--think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. Read it again, it's almost incredible. Only 51 percent--the barest of majorities--think "a nod in agreement" indicates consent.

Another rationale for campus rape claims is the irrefutable "regret asymmetry" that separates college men and college women and that likely shades women's responses to rape survey queries.

Even one campus rape is too many, but the hysteria needs to end. And that's not going to be easy given the number of people whose livelihoods depend on portraying our sons as rapists-in-waiting. It's up to every one of us to call out their bullshit whenever we see it.

Just remember, whatever they tell us is wrong.

False rape accuser who caused man to be arrested is given 'strong words of advice' by police

A woman claimed she was raped, so the police went into action and did what they normally do when that occurs. They cordoned off the area where the rape occurred, and they arrested a 32-year-old male scapegoat.

One little problem. It turned out there was no rape. An innocent young man had been wrongly arrested.

So, the police went into action and did what they normally do when that occurs. They thanked the public "for their patience" while they conducted inquiries into the incident-that-never-was, and then -- they let the woman go. Not a single charge was lodged against her. Her name wasn't even mentioned in the various news articles about the incident. Her anonymity is in tact, so the next man who's wrongly arrested on her say-so won't have any way of identifying her as a serial false rape accuser.

Oh, but wait, dear reader. Don't think for a minute that that this woman wasn't punished for subjecting a young man to one of the worst things that can happen to a human being. A police spokeswoman said this: “The woman has been given strong words of advice by police for her actions.”

Read it again: "strong words of advice." Yep. Imagine if you read a story about a rapist being given "strong words of advice." What do you think would happen to that police chief? But for false rape accusers, that's as much punishment as they deserve. It's business-as-usual in our "rape culture."

Is it any wonder that rape accusers believe, with justification, they can cry rape with impunity, for any or no reason at all? A female bus driver lied about being gang raped so she could get her hours at work switched. Women have lied about rape to avoid taking the bar exam and to exact revenge on boyfriends who take too long to buy cigarettes and on men who refuse to buy them a beer. One false rape accuser was just "bored." Cab drivers are a favorite target of false accusers looking for a free fare. The list goes on and on. They lie because they are rarely punished, and they know it. As a result, serial false rape accusers aren't just tolerated, they are rewarded for telling successful lies. See here and here. And even when they are caught, their enablers in the sexual grievance industry insist they should not be prosecuted, much less punished. When a 15-year-old girl told a rape lie that got a 14-year-old boy arrested, anti-rape campaigners said "it is awful that a girl so young has been prosecuted in this way."

You see, dear readers, this happens because the people who dominate the public discourse about sexual assault are happy think in black-and-whites even though ours is a world of grays. They think that because some men get away with rape, we must both rush to judgment and automatically believe every accusation of rape--even when that thinking leads to unspeakable injustice--and that we must turn a blind eye to the innocents who are wrongly accused, as if justice is a zero-sum game. If we ever got serious about it, if we ever removed the politics from crime-fighting and exiled the sexual grievance lobbyists to the kids' table where they belong, we'd see that victims don't always have vaginas and that rape lies destroy innocent lives.

But that's not going to happen, not as long as the public discourse about sexual assault is dominated by people happy to think like children and politicians eager to pander to them.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sexual grievance lobby recoils at app designed to protect innocent men

Amelia McDonell-Parry had a hissy fit over the "We-Consent" app that aims “to encourage discussion about affirmative consent between mutual partners” by recording a 20 second video of consent being given/received.

First, McDonnell-Parry rolls her eyes over the fact that the creator of this app was a "dude." Because, presumably, "dudes" have nothing positive to contribute to the public discourse when it comes interactions between men and women. The only voices that count are those of Amelia McDonell-Parry and other members of the sexual grievance lobby.

Second, McDonell-Parry notes that these apps are "icky" (a grown-up term, no?) and unnecessary because they were "created in support of the false narrative which says that women lie about being raped all the time, and thus men need to be protected from bogus accusations. Nothing could be further from the truth." She insists that False rape accusations "are exceedingly rare."

Let's pause and review the facts as opposed to the sexual grievance lobby's talking points. (To quote McDonnell-Parry, let’s cut the shit, dude.) Wanna use numbers, McDonnell-Parry? Okay, let's use numbers. Consider a survey that the sexual grievance industry relies on: just 7.8 percent of rape reports can be classified as true. In contrast, 15.6 of rape reports can reliably be classified as false. Or how about this--again, using surveys the sexual grievance lobby relies on: an economist proved their one-in-five stat is way too high. Not his opinion--he used their own numbers. Scary, isn't it?  But, I mean, if you want to use numbers, we can use numbers, too.

Third, McDonnell-Parry tosses out what she, apparently, thinks is a rhetorical question. "Seriously, people, specifically DUDES, is it really so hard to know for sure if the person you’re having sex with wants to be there?"

Okay, again, let's look at the facts. A new Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation survey reveals that a full 44 percent of college women think that when a woman gives a guy a "nod in agreement," that isn't enough for consent. Only 51 percent--the barest of majorities--think "a nod in agreement" indicates consent. So, McDonnell-Parry, if 44 percent of all college women think their nod in agreement does not signal consent, then, yes, I'd say it really might be that hard to know for sure if she wants to "be there."

Further, feminist Brett Sokolow, the leader of the campus sexual grievance industry, last year wrote that "in a lot of these cases [involving accusations of sexual assault], the campus is holding the male accountable in spite of the evidence – or the lack thereof – because they think they are supposed to . . .." And: "We see complainants who genuinely believe they have been assaulted, despite overwhelming proof that it did not happen." Read it again--"overwhelming proof." Sokolow added that he sees "case-after-case" where "sincere victims . . . believe something has happened to them that evidence shows absolutely did not . . . ." He suggested mental health issues play an important factor in these false accusations. It's easy to have misunderstandings in the bedroom when one party concocts rape out of whole cloth.

Further, the National Institute of Justice has said that when it comes to rape surveys, some people don't give accurate survey answers, but it also noted the possibility that men and women may have different perceptions of the same incident. Of course, that doesn't matter to the sexual grievance lobby. The "yes means yes" movement thinks that "consent is to be determined from the perspective of the complainant." To hell with men's perceptions.

As for McDonnell-Parry's insistence that the new app is unnecessary in this era of affirmative consent, the co-author of California's affirmative consent bill in the state assembly, Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, was asked how an innocent person is supposed to prove consent. She said this: “Your guess is as good as mine." Nice.

But McDonnell-Parry doesn't bother with any of those facts. Nevertheless, she is correct about this: the app cannot guard against someone changing her mind after she's given consent. Let's consider the reality: if a trier of fact sees a woman giving clear consent via this app, it's going to be pretty damn difficult to convict the guy of rape for something that happened later that night. Prosecutors likely won't even bother with cases like that--and, no, that's not necessarily a good thing. The goal here is not to "get away" with rape, it's to protect those who are legitimately innocent. The second worst enemy of the wrongly accused (after their accusers) are sociopaths who rape--they diminish the credibility of every guy accused of rape. It's in everyone's interest to get them off the streets.

On the flip side, if enough college kids started using this strange app, when a hapless college boy who failed to use it is wrongly accused of rape, the fact that he didn't use it might be cited as proof that there was no consent. That, too, is not a good thing.

I scarcely think I need to defend this blog's credentials when it comes to concern for the wrongly accused, but the new consent app strikes me as a barometer of a sad hook-up culture where drunken barnyard rutting has displaced the staid, time-honored rituals of courtship and delayed gratification. I wouldn't say the app is "icky," perhaps "distasteful" is more appropriate.

This app is a lot of things I don't like, but please don't try to tell me that misunderstandings in the bedroom are not a serious concern, or that the men of the hook-up culture have no need to worry about proving consent, because they do. So what's the solution? We need to come up with better ways to protect the innocent or else we're going to see more and more things like this app, as "icky" and as distasteful as they might be.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

California court's decision rips off an ugly scab and reveals how colleges mistreat their male students

Any male student thinking of attending the University of California, San Diego--not to mention the more than 12,000 undergraduate male students currently enrolled there--needs to read the chilling judicial decision handed down last week by Judge Joel M. Pressman of the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego. It can be found here. Sadly, although the decision is about just one case involving just one university, most universities are guilty of the same things that happened here.

In the instant case, a 20-year old male student sought relief in court after a University disciplinary proceeding found him responsible for sexual assault. The court didn't just grant the relief, it made it clear that the male student was treated egregiously by his own university.

Judge Pressman said that the disciplinary panel that decided the male student's case, and the procedures used by the school, were outright "unfair" to the male student. In fact, the Judge used the term "unfair," "unfairly" or "unfairness" seven times in his short opinion to describe the University's treatment of the male student.

The hearing was rife with procedural irregularities that prevented the male student from defending himself.  Before mentioning them, it is well to note that the court held the evidence did not support the panel's conclusion that a sexual assault occurred:
At the hearing on December 12, 2014, petitioner testified clearly that the allegation of touching on February 1, 2014 was false and did not occur. The only evidence presented in any meaningful way at the hearing was the testimony of Ms. Roe. Ms. Roe stated that petitioner kept 'trying to finger [her] and touch [her] down there.' Also, Ms. Roe did not object to sexual contact per se, and only explained that it was not pleasurable for her at that time.

Additionally, Ms. Roe admitted that she voluntarily continued consensual sexual activity with Mr. Doe later that very same day. The Court is not weighing Ms. Roe's credibility. But the incident on the morning of February 1, cannot be viewed in a vacuum. When viewed as part of the entire narrative, the sequence of events do not demonstrate non-consensual behavior. What the evidence does show is Ms. Roe's personal regret for engaging in sexual activity beyond her boundaries. (See AR 20-21) The panel's finding in paragraph 3 illustrates the lack of evidence: "Jane stated that she physically wanted to have sex with Ryan but mentally wouldn't." The record reflects this ambivalence on the part of Ms. Roe. But Ms. Roe's own mental reservations alone cannot be imputed to petitioner, particularly if she is indicating physically she wants to have sex.
The hearing was stacked against the accused male student from the outset because of the procedures employed--and they are procedures that could ensnare any male student in the current climate of the academy. The only witness at the hearing was Ms. Roe. Yet, in the closing argument made by the University's representative (a closing argument is not evidence), he was permitted to talk about a report written by someone named Elena Dalcourt of the UCSD Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination. Dalcourt supposedly conducted an "investigation" of the incident, and the University's representative read from Dalcourt's report in his closing argument: "Based upon the totality of the circumstances and the evidence presented, I find it more likely than not that on February 1, Mr. Doe ignored Ms. Roe's objections to sexual activity in violation of the Student Sex Offense Policy."

Not only did the panel allow this statement to be read, the panel actually relied on Dalcourt's report in deciding that the male student was guilty.

The problem was that Ms. Dalcourt did not testify--the University didn't even bother to bring her to the hearing. The male student on trial had no opportunity to cross examine her. Beyond that, the male student was not even given the purported evidence Dalcourt relied on to reach her conclusion and was, thus, deprived of any opportunity to challenge that evidence--to show it was unreliable or outright wrong. Judge Pressman held that "the hearing did not allow [the male student] any opportunity to refute Ms. Dalcourt's findings."

There is another fundamental problem with the panel's reliance on the Dalcourt report. In a sexual assault proceeding, it is repugnant to due process and all notions of fairness to allow a purported expert to feed the trier of fact the conclusion that a sexual assault was committed. See here. As Judge Pressman explained, "it was the panel's responsibility to determine whether it was more likely than not that petitioner violated the [University's sexual assault] policy and not defer to an investigator who was not even present to testify at the hearing."

Perhaps the most egregious injustice was that the university unfairly limited petitioner's right to cross-examine the primary witness against him, Ms. Roe. The panel screened the male student's questions and refused to ask numerous questions he wanted to pose (the panel did not similarly screen the University's questions). The panel allowed the accuser to unilaterally cut off questions about their consensual relationship after-the-fact, as if such evidence could not possibly shed any light on whether a sexual assault occurred.

The court also held that the accuser should not have been hidden behind a barrier during the hearing--the accused has the right to confront adverse witnesses, and the accuser should not be hidden from the trier of fact given "the importance [of] demeanor and non-verbal communication in order to properly evaluate credibility." This, the court explained, was prejudicial to the male student.

Perhaps the most bizarre, and chilling, aspect of the case is that after the male student was sanctioned, when he filed his appeals (as was his right under the University's policy), the University kept increasing his punishment, without explanation. "Given the lack of rationale by both Dean Mallory and the Council of Provosts for the increased sanctions, it appears the increased sanctions are punitive towards Petitioner for appealing the decision of the Panel."

Read that again: a court in California has ruled that a male student was severely punished by his University for doing nothing more than exercising a right that his University afforded him.

The court also held that the panel made an unfair inference of guilt based on the male student's invocation of his right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment. The right to remain silent is among our greatest bulwarks against tyranny--this right wasn't designed to shelter the guilty but to protect the innocent. As the Supreme Court has stated, "one of the Fifth Amendment's basic functions is to protect innocent men who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances." To punish a male student for invoking it is anathema to fairness.

Judge Pressman's decision isn't some legal outlier, it is wholly consistent with the very serious concerns expressed by many legal scholars, including 16 Penn law professors and 28 Harvard law professors, and many others.

FIRE wrote this about the decision: "The decision in Doe v. UCSD is important because it demonstrates that when courts subject campus proceedings to scrutiny, the ugly truth of their shortcomings is glaring." Insuring fairness in thorny "he said-she said" hearings is difficult even for judges who are trained to do it and who do it regularly. The egregious unfairness in this case illustrates that it is a task that is impossible for amateurs.

I would be surprised if the University doesn't appeal--if Judge Pressman's holding is unchallenged, it will be difficult for the University to explain to its male student population why it treats them unfairly. But Judge Pressman's decision ought to be a wake-up call for all colleges who cavalierly dispense with basic fairness for male students in their sexual assault hearings. The campus sexual assault witch hunt has been driven by a public outcry funded by a wealthy, and overly zealous, sexual grievance industry. Craven politicians who worship at the altar of group identity politics have seized upon it. But Innocence Project guru Mark A Godsey has warned that "the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases." Judge Pressman's decision fired a shot across the bow of the sexual grievance industry. Let's hope his decision has broader implications.