Friday, February 27, 2015

Students at Berkeley protest against fairness for college men accused of rape


At a national conference on campus sexual assault and violence hosted by UC Berkeley, students protested a panel discussion on ensuring fair processes for sexual misconduct investigations. See here and here.

Read that again: students protested the very idea that their classmates accused of rape should be treated fairly. This is becoming a disturbing -- indeed, otherworldly -- trend. Recently, college students in Ohio protested due process for men accused of sexual assault by branding it "bullshit."

The Bekeley protesters put duct tape over their mouths and surrounded the perimeter of the room, holding signs of purported survivor testimonies. This was all intended to raise awareness about the insensitive treatment campus rape survivors receive.

My guess is that not one of the speakers on the panel suggested that the kangaroo campus rape process works for anyone -- including accusers. But this particular panel discussion wasn't about the accuser, it was about the accused, and that's what infuriated the protesters. On modern American campuses, there is no room in the public discourse for even one panel discussion about fairness for presumptively innocent men accused of campus rape. Any such talk distracts from the narrative scripted by the sexual grievance industry. It's all about them. If someone dares to talk about the need for silly things like "fairness" or "due process" for the men accused, they are being "insensitive" to rape victims, or they are a "rape apologist," a "victim denier," or a misogynist. In days long gone, insuring fairness in adjudicating guilt or innocence was a Constitutional mandate and a civic virtue. On modern American college campuses, it's "rape culture."

The comments that most annoyed the protesters were the ones that raised the specter of the hanging trees of the Old South, where lynchings were also animated by a disturbing hostility to the due process rights of the presumptively innocent. It is ironic that the protesters don't realize that they, too, are waging the war on sexual assault with the memes of the hangman.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Angry Penn law students lash out at law professors' call for fairness: COTWA's response

A group of 36 angry law students at Penn have written a diatribe in response to the open letter signed by 16 Penn law professors decrying the absence of fairness in Penn's disciplinary proceedings for alleged sex offenses. You can read it here -- but don't read it on an empty stomach.

The students' blather devolves into de rigueur feminist name calling: the professors' letter manifests their "sexist policy preferences," they cluck. The Penn professors, and presumably the many other law professors across America who are expressing similar concerns, are not really concerned about "fairness" -- it's all just a masquerade for sexism. How do we know? Because they are advocating for "fairness" that will benefit the one group that, apparently, is undeserving of fairness, college men.

The students object to the very idea that their law professors would go to bat for fair procedures in sexual assault cases--as if the professors were siding with rapists against women. The overriding theme of their jaw dropping rant is that schools have no obligation to be fair to students accused of any kind of wrongdoing, so they should not be concerned about fairness for one particular kind of wrongdoing -- "private universities can discipline students with no process whatsoever," they proclaim. (Wouldn't that be a wonderful tagline on a college brochure -- "If you are accused of serious wrongdoing that carries life-altering consequences, don't expect us to treat you fairly!"  Here's my $40,000 tuition -- when can I start!)  It is difficult to recall the last time a group was so terribly opposed to fairness.

The students posit: "Why do you think it should be legally harder to expel someone for rape than for moving newspapers . . . ?" First, I am not aware that the Department of Education has mandated unfair procedures for "paper movers" the way it has done for students accused of sexual assault. Second, the very premise, of course, is silly: students are very rarely expelled for moving newspapers, not even close in most such cases, and it should be "legally harder" to be branded a rapist by a respected college than to be branded a "paper mover" because the consequences are indisputably greater for the former, often life-altering.  Cornell's Prof. Cynthia Bowman said this: “The consequences for someone expelled for sexual assault are enormous and will follow him throughout his life, leading to rejection by other schools, inability to qualify for the bar and a great deal of stigma. To impose those consequences on someone requires a rigorous standard of proof and many due process protections to ensure fairness.” Brett Sokolow, probably the most prominent victim's advocate on American campuses, has expressed concern that "a lot of colleges now are expelling and suspending people they shouldn't, for fear they’ll get nailed on Title IX.” He said it is close to hysteria.  He, too, points out that the stakes are high for students expelled for sexual assault: expelled students no longer automatically have the option of just registering at another school. “Now colleges are starting to share information, they’re starting to put notations on transcripts.”

The angry Penn students continue: ". . . the 'Open Letter' must be seen for what it is: a disagreement with Title IX’s mandate that sexual assault survivors not be made to struggle through grievance procedures that specially insulate those accused of sexual assault."  Here, finally, the students tip their hand and show their bias: sexual assault accusers are "survivors," the accusation is tantamount to a conviction, and insuring fair proceedings "insulate[s] those accused of sexual assault" (I think they really mean fair proceedings "protect rapists").

That argument is ripped from the playbook of due process deniers dating to the hanging trees of the Old South. Regular readers know that for those who were sympathetic to lynchings of black men accused of rape, due process was deemed a hindrance to the fair administration of justice, and the criminal justice system was deemed “incapable” of meting out the punishment that was needed. What was the lynch mob’s reaction to those who denounced lynchings? To malign them as fanatics and victim blamers, of course. Sound familiar?

Why do I get the impression that these students would agree with Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, who openly asked, "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?"

We are stranded in an era where it is politically correct to argue against fair proceedings for alleged wrongdoing, so long as the alleged wrongdoers are college men. This, of course, not only is a grotesque betrayal of longstanding progressive values, it is topsy turvy worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan, and it is absurd on its face. The Penn students' puerile rant isn't deserving of serious or extended refutation. It just sounds like they can't stand the fact that respected progressives are finally realizing that feminist advocacy is no substitute for fair policy.

'Due process must be part of sex-assault policy'

The following appeared in Philly.com. It is among the very best articles we've ever seen on the problems faced by wrongly accused men on campus. Dillon and Kaiser are experts on this subject. They've handled dozens of campus sexual assault cases at universities across the country. We've written about them before here.

Please read this article:

By Justin Dillon and Matthew G. Kaiser

The University of Pennsylvania has a new system for handling allegations of sexual assault on campus. While that system will go a long way toward protecting Penn, it achieves those gains at the cost of basic fairness.

Two-thirds of the law faculty at Penn have spoken out against this policy, on the heels of a similar reaction to a similar policy at Harvard. And for good reason. The policy at Penn is completely at odds with what we think of as justice in America.

Penn's system is indeed something to behold. It begins with what might be called the Javert model - a single investigator who gathers evidence and decides, along with someone from the school itself, whether any charges should be brought.

But Penn did not find a neutral person to conduct these investigations; rather, Penn has hired an advocate - a former sex-crimes prosecutor. And, before coming on board at Penn, this investigator served as an attorney adviser at AEquitas, which is a project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and whose "mission is to improve the quality of justice in sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and human trafficking cases by developing, evaluating, and refining prosecution practices that increase victim safety and offender accountability."

Reducing sex crimes is a laudable goal. But it is absurd to think that someone who has spent two decades prosecuting sex crimes, and then advising other people how to prosecute sex crimes, will suddenly be able to evaluate evidence objectively. To a hammer, of course, everything is a nail. Worse yet is the hammer that has only hammered one kind of nail. Yet that's exactly who Penn has entrusted with conducting the bulk of its investigations.

We have handled cases at both public and private universities that use the Javert model. Invariably, the investigators have minimized evidence that is favorable to the accused and framed the accuser's evidence in the best possible light. It is often all too clear that the investigator sees him- or herself not as an objective fact-gatherer, but as a prosecuting agent tasked with vindicating the accuser's version of events.

This is just human nature. Whatever his background, the investigator relies entirely on the university to pay his salary. His mission is to make sure that the school will not be investigated by the Department of Education or sued by a female student for a violation of Title IX. He has no incentive to be fair; he has every incentive to prevent exonerations.

Penn's system doesn't get much better from there. If the investigator believes by 50.1 percent that the accused is guilty, the case goes to a hearing.

But it is a hearing in only the barest sense. While it allows witness testimony, it doesn't allow cross-examination. It doesn't even allow either side's attorney to speak.

In our experience attending such hearings, this leads to a terrible dynamic. The accuser is usually highly emotional and, as we've seen, usually cries a lot. The accused, by contrast, typically comes off as either unemotional or angry.

This makes perfect sense on both sides. Most accusers, in our experience, believe what they're saying - whether or not it's actually true. Of course they get emotional.

Most accused, in our experience, believe that they're being falsely accused - so they either shut down or get angry. Facing false charges will make a person angry. How else would you expect them to act?

You can see where this leads - to a dynamic in which one person comes across as highly sympathetic and the other person comes across as a jerk. This sympathy was at the root of the Rolling Stone article about the University of Virginia. The woman there was highly emotional. And she was deeply not credible. Yet the magazine prized her emotion over basic investigative integrity. And that is precisely what's at risk at Penn.

Preventing this problem is why God made lawyers. Sometimes, people need help fighting their battles. They need help, and they need cover.

A lawyer can make the accused's case without (one hopes) coming across as combative. A skilled cross-examiner - which, contrary to what you see on TV, does not necessarily mean an aggressive one - can highlight holes or inconsistencies in the accuser's story without making it seem personal. And to the extent that it does seem personal, the panel will be more likely to direct its ire at the attorney, not the accused.

Yet Penn's system allows for none of this. By a 2-1 vote, a panel can find an accused guilty if it believes the accuser by 50.1 percent - a mere "preponderance of the evidence." As the Penn law professors rightly point out, the existence of such a low bar for a life-changing finding "provides all the more reason for otherwise scrupulously fair procedures and a unanimous decision before a student can be expelled from the university and be stigmatized as a sexual offender."

Without a doubt, these are difficult issues. Universities have a responsibility to protect their students. But that responsibility does not end with physical safety; it is not enough to cry "rape" and let due process slip away. Universities also have a responsibility to be fair to the accused students, who - just as in a criminal court - are innocent until proven guilty.

First, Harvard Law. Now, Penn Law. We hope that these two letters in the past two months mark the beginning of a trend. We hope that other law faculty - or, dare one hope, non-law faculty - will show the courage that these professors have shown and make their voices heard as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Woman falsely accuses man she barely knew of rape in order to reconcile with her mother, turns his life into a living hell

Lisa-Jayne Samuels, 29, was estranged from her mother, so she concocted a plan to reconcile: she falsely accused an innocent man she barely knew of rape.

Terry Brown, 33, the innocent man she targeted, was arrested on June 19, 2013, after Samuels claimed he attacked her in a bar. He was questioned by police and forced to take part in a line-up. He was denied access to his two children. He was badly beaten by a vigilante mob, and his 25-year-old partner lost the baby she was carrying when she tripped while the couple were escaping an angry mob. His house was covered in graffiti that accused him of being a rapist. He has been unable to work as a plasterer since the allegation was made and is taking antidepressants.

Finally, CCTV proved Samuels had not even been at the bar where she was allegedly attacked on the night in question, and police found the purported friends she said she was with did not exist.

Fourteen months after the initial allegation, Samuels finally confessed she had made up the entire story.

Mr. Brown has now moved out of the area to start a new life because of fears for his safety.

It turns out Samuels had falsely cried "rape" twice before. She had made a false rape claim in 2002 when she was 16 because she did not want her mother to know she had slept with a Kosovan man. She lodged a second fictitious claim against the same man later that year. She made a hoax 999 call to report a fire.

Samuels pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was imprisoned for 20 months.

In the news reports about this incident, the news outlets emphasized that Samuels is a mother of four. The reader has to dig deeper to learn that the victim -- the falsely accused man -- is a father of two.

Sadly, this is by no means the most outrageous reason we've seen for falsely accusing a man of rape. See here, but don't read it on an empty stomach.

SOURCES:
http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/mother-jailed-for-false-rape-claim-1.1822913#.VOxyL3zF864
http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/11811073.Woman_is_jailed_over_false_rape_allegation/
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-who-lied-being-raped-5213709

For the sexual grievance industry, this is called "dialogue"



"Dialogue" is silencing those who call for nothing more than due process.

You can barely see him, but standing behind the woefully misguided kid holding the factually erroneous sign that says "1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted during college" is Prof. KC Johnson, trying to speak at Ohio University last week. Greg Piper wrote about this event in the College Fix: "Who can be against due process? Apparently a lot of young people wearing political T-shirts, holding signs and refusing to sit down." We wrote about Prof. Johnson's speech here, and now you can watch the video of the event:

Friday, February 20, 2015

16 Penn Law Professors say sexual assault proceedings are unfair to the accused

The chorus is growing and the voices are getting louder.

Another group of law professors from another Ivy League school has attacked the academy's hostility to due process when it comes to men accused of sexual assault. This time, sixteen Penn law professors have chimed in. Read their criticisms here.

Their concerns echo the concerns that we write about on this blog on a regular basis. They echo the concerns raised last October by 28 Harvard law professors. Prof. Alan Dershowitz wrote: “These rules are written to preclude a defense” for accused students. They also echo the concerns recently raised by Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld; Prof. Glenn Harlan Reynolds of the University of Tennessee; Prof. John Banzhaf of George Washington University Law School; Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard law school; Prof. Dan Subotnik of Touro Law School; and Prof. Janet Halley of Harvard law school.

These are not the voices of extremists or partisans. These are the voices of respected scholars that ought to be listened to. Yet, policy is being shaped by partisans who are not interested in fairness or impartial hearings. They are old school feminists who believe that women don't lie about rape, and who insist that every accusation ought to be treated as a conviction.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Angry protest: Ohio University students declare that due process for college men is "bullshit"

Prof. KC Johnson, the man whose landmark blog helped expose the injustice to three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, spoke at Ohio University last night about how college sex tribunals fail to provide the accused with adequate due process, and enraged Ohio University students disrupted his presentation and treated his message with irate derision. (Incidentally, Prof. Johnson's message was the same as the position famously advocated by 28 mostly liberal Harvard Law professors in the Boston Globe last October.)

According to the student run newspaper, The Post: "Before Johnson began his presentation, protesters unanimously stood up, faced the crowd, and bared white-colored shirts that read 'Rape is Real.'" The back of their shirts said "This is bullsh--.”

Greg Piper wrote in the College Fix: "Who can be against due process? Apparently a lot of young people wearing political T-shirts, holding signs and refusing to sit down."

An English professor asked Prof. Johnson why he defends "the most privileged people" instead of the oppressed. Presumably the questioner meant, why does Prof. Johnson defend white males who are accused of sexual assault, as if white males are undeserving of due process merely by virtue of their birth class. This, of course, is the same attitude that prompted Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, to openly ask: "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?"

The College Fix correctly called the protest "campus wackiness." It was modern feminism at its most anti-intellectual.

The radical group F--kRapeCulture was behind the protest, and it did what campus anti-due process purveyors do best: it resorted to name-calling, branding Prof. Johnson a "rape apologist." Then it posited the following assertion with no authority beyond its otherworldly ipse dixit: ". . . more people falsely report themselves dead each year than falsely report rapes." That's a new one I suspect we'll be hearing again and again. It has as much validity at Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and the "rape" of "Jackie" at UVA as reported by Rolling Stone.

The group exclaimed that "rape is real, and we as a university community must support our survivors," as if Professor Johnson disagrees.

One member of that radical group accused Johnson of disrespecting women. “As a member of F*ckRapeCulture, we appreciate you coming to validate our fight against rape apologists such as yourself,” said Claire Chadwick, who helped start the group. “You clearly do not respect women or any survivor of sexual assault.”

Inanity like this speaks for itself and requires no refutation. There's really no sense trying to find common ground with people who equate advocating for fair hearings with hatred of women. Civil discourse is not possible because the purveyors of that view think that every accusation is tantamount to a conviction.

Another member of that radical group asked Prof. Johnson why he supports "the justice system" when it doesn't necessarily provide "justice for all." This, presumably, was intended to suggest that rape victims are denied justice in the criminal justice system, as if Prof. Johnson favors that, and as if that has anything to do with the undeniable necessity of fair proceedings for persons accused of criminal offenses.

Look at the photographs above. This is the disgraceful, anti-intellectual face of modern campus feminist activism that is not merely hostile to due process for college men accused of sexual assault, it is at war with it. Not that long ago, no self-respecting liberal would be caught dead protesting against due process -- for anyone -- but those days are gone. The braying mob marches in lockstep to the PC group-think of its moral superiors -- hateful, anti-due process feminist activists. For me, this is a new low for the feminist movement. Let us wait to see if any prominent feminist condemns it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Prof. KC Johnson's speech at Ohio Univ. on the necessity of due process in college sex tribunals 'is likely to be controversial'

Professor KC Johnson is speaking at Ohio University tonight. Who is KC Johnson? He's the guy whose blog played a pivotal role in exposing the injustices of the Duke lacrosse false rape case. Without his efforts in shining a light on the atrocity, it's anyone's guess whether justice would have prevailed. How influential was Prof. Johnson's blog? After the three young lacrosse players were declared “innocent” by the state’s attorney general amid a media circus, one of the young men, Reade Seligmann, issued a statement in which he thanked Professor Johnson for his efforts.

Professor Johnson ought to be treated as hero tonight. Sadly, that may not happen. The Post, a student-run newspaper serving Ohio University, wrote that Professor Johnson's presentation "will likely center around his core view that those accused of sexual assault on college campuses are not given the same rights of due process as those accused of other crimes." It added that Johnson's appearance "is likely to be controversial and incite a wide range of reactions from students."

"Controversial"? Seriously? It will "incite a wide range of reactions"?

How is affording male students due process even remotely controversial? Are the students at Ohio University so ill-informed that they are blissfully unaware of the mushrooming of litigation initiated by college men claiming due process violations after being accused of college sex offenses? Do they not know that colleges pay a lot of money to settle suits filed by men who claim they were wrongly punished for sex offenses? Have they not read the landmark letter published in the Boston Globe last October signed by 28 Harvard law professors -- mostly liberals -- that voiced very strong objections to one-sided, feminist-inspired sexual misconduct policies? Prof. (Alan Dershowitz said: “These rules are written to preclude a defense” for accused students.) Did they not see that even The New York Times now says there is another side to the college rape story? Or that a Yale law professor took up the same theme in the New York Times? Did they read law Prof. Glenn Reynolds biting piece in  USA Today where he called the alleged rape epidemic the "college rape hoax"? Did they see that law Prof. John Banzhaf said that illegals crossing the border have more rights than college men accused of rape? Do they not know that feminist Brett Sokolow, who has done more to shape the sexual assault landscape on American college campuses than any person outside the Department of Education, chimed in? Among many other things, Sokolow said 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 that doing so is what [the Department of Education] wants."

So, please, enlighten me. How is affording students due process in any sense controversial?

Actually, I know the answer. Due process is controversial because it is seen as an impediment to the war to eradicate the college rape "epidemic." I mean, horrors! We are actually going to subject a rape accusation to a fair hearing?! To idealistic college students, it's "either/or," and they can't fathom how a school could possibly battle rape while affording basic fairness to men accused of rape. It's the same attitude that emboldened Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, to declare: "Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?"

Standing up for due process rights has never been an easy, or a popular, endeavor. College students generally march in lockstep to the PC group-think of their moral superiors, the campus anti-rape activists. When it comes to choosing between political correctness and due process, college students are going to opt for political correctness every time -- because they are essentially still children who gravitate to conformity and cave in to peer pressure, their wrongly accused male classmates be damned.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jessica Valenti tries to justify her hostility to due process for men with a rationale that doesn't hold water

Valenti writes:
The concern over due process in campus adjudication procedures are also misplaced. In The New York Times, Judith Shulevitz bemoans the Department of Education guidelines that instruct schools to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard in rape cases, as if such a thing is unheard of. But this is the same standard of evidence that’s required when a rape victim sues her attacker in civil court.
This a frequent refrain from people who are willing to tolerate the academy's hostility to due process as the price of battling the imaginary sexual assault "epidemic." It doesn't hold up to scrutiny, but why would Jessica Valenti be concerned about that?

What Valenti and others who chant that line don't seem to understand is that in civil cases, the defendant is afforded all manner of evidentiary protections that colleges routinely deny young men accused of sex offenses. In civil cases, defendants are allowed to be fully represented by counsel at every stage of the proceeding. They are permitted to vigorously depose prior to trial, and vigorously cross-examine during trial, the accuser and any other pertinent witnesses. Aside from depositions, they are also permitted to engage in all manner of discovery, including proffering requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, and interrogatories. And if the plaintiff fails to respond to proper discovery requests, she is sanctioned by the court, up to and including dismissal of her case and requiring her to pay the other side's attorney's fees. Hearsay evidence is excluded, as is evidence whose probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect to a party. Trial and appellate judges are lawyers bound by centuries of common law precedent. And the defendant has a hand in picking the jury in order to insure fairness in the adjudication.

The college kangaroo sex proceeding has no relation to the orderly administration of justice in civil court. If Valenti and her ilk are so fond of civil proceedings for college sex offenses, let's actually do them the way it's done in real court.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"I believe Emma Sulkowicz" -- because her story is so full of holes

The Columbia Spectator ran another of those "Why I believe Emma Sulkowicz" stories, this one titled, appropriately enough, "Why I believe Emma Sulkowicz." Emma Sulkowicz is the mattress-toting, self-proclaimed rape victim at Columbia University whose narrative has lately come under attack. This latest defense of Sulkowicz is typical: difficult to read because the rationale is weird and childish.

The author is anonymous, and she claims that she, too, was raped by a male student at Columbia, and that like Emma Sulkowicz, she had friendly Facebook messages with her rapist after the alleged attack. She also admits that there is no evidence for her own alleged assault, and that not even her friends believed her. And all this somehow leads her to believe Emma Sulkowicz.

If you are looking for logic in her argument, you will be looking forever. What can I say about a defense that doesn't even bother to defend?

As for the anonymous writer's alleged rape, it is well to remember that Sulkowicz's anti-rape crusade started off anonymously, and that "Jackie" in the infamous Rolling Stone non-rape at the University of Virginia was a pseudonym -- you see, in the loopy world of campus sexual assault politics, the "perfect victim" is someone whose claim is beyond any sort of scrutiny whatsoever. When people dare to challenge the putative victim's narrative with silly things like discrepancies and competing claims of innocence, that's not a valid attempt to get at the truth, that's "rape culture."

Too many college students are sympathetic to these sorts of other-worldly arguments -- we all know that college students generally march in lockstep to the PC group-think of their moral superiors, the campus anti-rape activists. I am happy to see a lot of comments under this story that reject the group-think in Emma Sulkowicz's case. Maybe the students are saying "enough!"

I left a comment under the story:
You have failed to make a case for why you believe Emma Sulkowicz -- other than the fact that she has made a rape accusation. While the strange behavior of rape accusers is not always conclusive evidence that they weren't raped, you've flipped that meme on its head: you seem to be saying that because she behaved in ways generally deemed contrary to the way rape victims behave, that means she WAS raped. For you, the accusation is its own conviction, and you are not interested in hearing any evidence that casts doubt on it. In fact, you insist such evidence actually strengthens the case for declaring her a "survivor."

First, to assert that any and every kind of after-the-fact behavior supposedly is evidence of rape is absurd on its face and a grotesque distortion of the post-traumatic stress disorder that afflicts some rape victims. To my knowledge, Sulkowicz has never been diagnosed with any such disorder. Second, the evidence that Sulkowicz reached out to her alleged rapist may not be conclusive that she's a liar, but it does support Mr. Nungesser's side of the story, despite all your twisting and pounding. Third, the argument is a red herring to hide its premise: always believe women when they cry rape, no matter how unbelievable their claims or how inconsistent with "rape" was their behavior. To accept this premise is to make every accusation its own conviction -- truth, justice, and due process be damned.

Perhaps Sulkowicz was raped, and perhaps she suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder that was never diagnosed . . . . I don't know whether she was raped, and neither do you. You can't convict Paul Nungesser based on what happened to you.

I do know this: Sulkowicz's claims should not go unchallenged by the news media. There are two sides to every rape claim, and your defense of her isn't changing anyone's mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Woman asks to be raped, so it wasn't really rape

Kayla Bowen,, a 24-year-old Clarksville, Tennessee woman pleaded guilty to making false report to officers, a Class D felony. She lied to police last August about being raped at Dunbar Cave State Park. According to a news report: "Bowen agreed to a three-year judicial diversion and will have to undergo a psychosexual assessment."

Bowen reported to police that she went to a park at 2:23 a.m. on Aug. 5, and after sitting in her car for a couple of hours, a man approached her, asked for a light, then beat and raped her.

But that's not really what happened. It turns out Bowen had solicited the "rape" to fulfill a sexual fantasy. From a news report: "A Clarksville Police investigation uncovered a Craigslist ad she posted titled 'Have a deep dark fantasy.' In the ad, Bowen said she wanted to be raped and for anyone who responds to say how they would do it and why, according to her arrest warrant."

The news report says she made phone contact with two people the night she reported the rape. "Texts revealed she told the individuals she wanted to be duct-taped, gagged, then sexually assaulted, which would include but not be limited to broken arms, black eyes, a broken nose, fractured ribs and other injuries."

"In a text Bowen sent Aug. 4 at 11 p.m., she said she was sitting at Dunbar Cave park in her car and it was a perfect place for the rape, the warrant said. She then texted, 'I'm 100 percent consenting to be raped,' according to the warrant."

"When no one came to the park, she went to an address on Cyprus Court, where she engaged in consensual sex and was assaulted, resulting in bruises, abrasions, ripped clothes and a chipped tooth, the warrant said."

When someone "asks" to be raped, it isn't rape at all, it's consensual sex. Some misguided souls think women "ask" to be raped by the clothes they wear or by being drunk. That's not "asking." In this case, the woman really did ask for it.

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/story/news/crime/2015/01/23/clarksville-woman-pleads-guilty-false-rape-report/22226763/

http://www.cotwa.info/2014/09/woman-asks-to-be-rape-lies-about-it.html 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Is mattress-toting Emma Sulkowicz a rape victim or a woman who manufactured her own victimhood with a story that's a moving target? Here's the timeline.

Mattress-toting, alleged rape victim and performance artist Emma Sulkowicz is a feminist icon because progressive pundits have treated her rape accusation against Paul Nungesser as tantamount to a conviction. Daniel Garisto, former editorial page editor of the Columbia Spectator (the Spectator is one of Sulkowicz's biggest cheerleaders), has now admitted that the campus news media didn't cover Sulkowicz's story impartially, critically, or thoroughly: "Personally, I felt that if I covered the existence of a different perspective—say, that due process should be respected—not only would I have been excoriated, but many would have said that I was harming survivors and the fight against sexual assault," he wrote. See also here. Yesterday, the New York Post said Mr. Nungesser deserves an apology "from the media and the ­cabal of feminists . . . who have supported his ­accuser unquestioningly."

Does Sulkowicz's story add up? Is she a rape victim? Or a woman who manufactured victimhood with a story that's a moving target? Consider the following timeline of pertinent events:
  • August 27, 2012: The alleged sexual assault.
  • August 29, 2012: Sulkowicz responded enthusiastically to Mr. Nungesser's invitation to a party, writing that “we need to have some real time where we can talk about life and thingz (sic).” And: "I feel like we need to have some real time where we can talk about life and thingz . . . because we still haven’t really had a paul-emma chill sesh since summmmerrrr" See here.
  • September 9, 2012: Sulkowicz contacted Mr. Nungesser to suggest they “hang out” before or after the meeting of a literary society, adding, “whatever I want to see yoyououoyou.” See here.
  • October 3, 2012: Sulkowicz wrote to Mr. Nungesser: “I love you Paul. Where are you?!?!?!?!” See here.
  • April 2013: Sulkowicz files a complaint against Mr. Nungesser about the alleged sexual assault with the University.
  • October 2013: Mr. Nungesser is found not responsible by the school's disciplinary board following a hearing that employed the lowest standard of review possible, preponderance of the evidence.
  • January 2014: A Columbia blogger reports that Sulkowicz said she feels fundamentally unsafe in her environment, and that her energies are devoted to steeling herself for an unexpected run-in with Mr. Nungesser and “I feel physically ill every time I walk within 100 feet of [him]. I am constantly on edge, fearing he’ll be around the corner.” She burst into tears when he had recently walked in a dark room where she was. See here (the story uses pseudonyms because Sulkowicz was still anonymous).
  • May 2014: Sulkowicz filed a police report but decided not to pursue criminal charges because, she said, "they told it me it would take nine months to a year to actually go to court . . . ." See here.
  • May 15, 2014: Time Magazine reports that Sulkowicz said this: "I didn’t report it at first because I didn’t feel like dealing with the emotional trauma." See here.
  • June 12, 2014: The Indypendent posts an interview with Sulkowicz. She described the "rape," ending with "I was petrified. And then he ran out." She added: "I spent months in denial. I wasn’t really ready to believe that I’d been raped." See here.
  • September 2014: Sulkowicz starts toting a mattress around campus.
  • November 2014: Sulkowicz told a crowd of supporters: "I’m no less afraid [now] of seeing my rapist every time I leave my dorm.” See here.
  • February 3, 2015: Cathy Young writes an article for the Daily Beast giving Mr. Nungesser's side of the story and, for the first time, revealing the messages that occurred between the principals in August, September and October 2012 referenced above. See here.
  • February 3, 2015: In response to Cathy Young's article, Sulkowicz told writer Julie Zeilinger the supposed reason she reached out to her "rapist" in the days after the alleged assault: “I was upset and confused. … I wanted to have a talk with him to try to understand why he would hit me, strangle me and anally penetrate me without my consent.” See here.

How did Sulkowicz go from wanting to see and hang out with Paul Nunsegger in the days after the alleged assault (and telling him she loved him), to allegedly being terrified of running into him and of suffering great trauma when she was near him? In the months after the alleged rape, was she "in denial" about being assaulted (as the Indypendent reported she said in June 2014) -- or in the aftermath of the alleged rape, was she a woman intent on "understanding" why she was assaulted, as she claimed on February 3, 2015? The two positions do not seem to be consistent.

The feminist community has criticized Cathy Young's article because it plays into the myth of the "perfect rape victim" -- that is, because Ms. Sulkowicz didn't act like a hypothetical "perfect" victim, rape apologists are discrediting her narrative. First, to assert that any and every kind of after-the-fact behavior supposedly is evidence of rape is absurd on its face and a grotesque distortion of the post-traumatic stress disorder that afflicts some rape victims. To my knowledge, Sulkowicz has never been diagnosed with any such disorder. Second, the above timeline doesn't raise questions about the rationality of Sulkowicz's behavior as much as her credibility. Third, the argument is a red herring to hide its premise: always believe women when they cry rape, no matter how unbelievable their claims or how inconsistent with "rape" was their behavior. To accept this premise is to make every accusation its own conviction -- truth, justice, and due process be damned.

Perhaps Sulkowicz was raped, and perhaps she suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder that was never diagnosed, but her conduct may also be consistent with Mr. Nungesser's side of the story: that she is lying. I don't know, and neither do the feminist pundits who insist she should be believed merely because she says she was raped. I do know this: Sulkowicz's claims should not go unchallenged by the news media. There are two sides to every rape claim, and it is not "rape apology" to point that out. (I do have to wonder whether the feminist community will ever accept the legitimacy of a verdict or college hearing determination if it isn't what they had hoped for.)

Or perhaps there was no rape and Sulkowicz isn't lying. Perhaps there is something else going on. America's leading college anti-rape advocate, Brett Sokolow, says that male students are often accused of sexual assault when charges are not warranted. In "case-after-case . . . 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." Mr. Sokolow suggested that "mental health issues" play a part in these sorts of accusations. 

Hmm: "Mental health issues?" The only thing I know about this woman is that she does walk around campus carrying a mattress . . .. Just sayin'.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Five male university students accused of sexual assault are suing the school -- and you will enjoy the school's response

You will want to read this one to the end -- it is jaw-dropping.

Last week, we reported that a grand jury declined to indict five male students of William Paterson University who were arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman in a residence hall in late November of last year.

At the time the men were arrested, University President Kathleen Waldron issued a statement circulated to students and faculty that rushed to judgment and called the incident a "crime" and a "criminal act." She added: "No expression of anger or sadness on my part can alleviate the harm done to the victim and my heart goes out to her and her family.” (Read her statement here.)

This blog pointed out that President Waldron's rush to judgment in assuming that a rape had occurred not only unfairly tainted the five young minority men arrested for the alleged crime but was a chilling echo of sentiments all too frequently expressed under the hanging trees of the Old South, where due process was deemed a luxury women could not afford when it came to black men accused of rape.

Now, two of the students are suing the school, its president, and other officials for wrongdoing in connection with the incident. Among other things, the suit claims that University officials made public statements about the case "defaming the character and reputation," of the two students. "As a result of the defamatory statements . . ., claimant has suffered and continues to suffer significant damage to his reputation, emotional injuries, economic losses, has had his Constitutional and civil rights violated, and has sustained various other expenses and damages," the claim said.

How is the school responding to this?

"A William Paterson spokeswoman said the school does not comment on legal issues."

Read that again, because in the context of this case, the irony and the hypocrisy of this response is breathtaking: "The school does not comment on legal issues."

Excuse me -- but back in November, the school's president was more than happy to "comment on legal issues." In fact, she gratuitously injected herself into the matter and declared the incident a "criminal act."

What the University spokeswoman obviously meant to say was that the school does not comment on "legal issues" when it is being accused of wrongdoing -- but it has no such hesitation when five of its minority male students are accused of wrongdoing.

Or the University could put it this way: it won't comment on legal issues caused by its own comment on legal issues.

It's in everyone's interest to rid our campuses of rapists, and to insure that the accused get fair hearings

Here's an interesting quote: “One of the things I think gets lost in this conversation is that survivors have an interest in accused students being treated fairly,” said Nancy Cantalupo, a gender violence expert and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. “If they aren’t treated fairly, then these proceedings go on and on and on. And survivors don’t want that. Survivors have just as much of a stake in getting this right, and that includes making sure that the accused are treated with fundamental fairness.”

This is all we can ask. When a young man is subjected to fair hearing and is found responsible for rape, you will not hear complaints from this blog. It is in everyone's interest to rid our college campuses of rapists -- not just the women they have preyed upon or might prey upon, but the wrongly accused as well. Every rape undermines the perceived integrity of every man or boy accused of rape.

The problem is that too many schools have procedures that don't provide for fundamental fairness, and that most schools have amateurs investigating and adjudicating very complex issues relating to sexual violence. A lot of times, I am sure, they get it right, but these matters are too important to be a crap-shoot. When the process isn't fair, this is unjust to accused men, and it does rape victims no favors.

Hostility to the fair administration of justice undermines confidence in the system and fuels a growing belief that college disciplinary proceedings are unjust to young men. The more prevalent that belief, the greater the likelihood that persons adjudicating these disputes will be wary about finding even guilty men responsible for their actions.

Everyone loses when the process isn't fair.

In honor of those who fight for the wrongly accused: "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'."

It is among the greatest lines in all of American literature; for me, it is the single most powerful moment in all of motion pictures. It speaks to the honor due to all who battle tyranny, especially those who fight for the falsely accused.

I refer to the line spoken at the conclusion of the rape trial in Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1960, "To Kill A Mockingbird," repeated in the film of the novel two years later.

Some context: despite his brilliant and impassioned defense, attorney Atticus Finch, a white man, has just lost a criminal trial of a black man falsely accused of rape. Such losses were routine in the Old South, where white women could, and too often did, have black men and boys put to death by just uttering the word "rape."

Atticus' defense of the innocent man was very unpopular in the local white community, but that didn't dissuade him from taking the case, or from doing his best to win. But now it was over, and he had lost. With the death penalty almost certainly awaiting his client, an innocent man, Atticus tries to console him before he is led away. Then Atticus packs up his papers and starts to exit the courtroom.

What happens next is so simple, so pitch-perfect right, yet so unexpected, that it knocks the wind out of us. A crowd of black spectators had attended the trial to lend moral support to the innocent man. They were forced to sit in the courtroom's balcony, and that's also where Atticus' young daughter, Jean Louise ("Scout"), sits, next to the leader of the black community, Rev. Sykes. The black community had just witnessed one of their own being taken away for a crime he did not commit, yet they linger on the balcony, waiting for Atticus to leave.

This is the scene, from Harper Lee's classic novel:

Atticus took his coat off the back of his chair and pulled it over his shoulder. Then he left the courtroom, not by his usual exit. He must have wanted to go home the short way, because he walked quickly down the middle aisle toward the south exit. I followed the top of his head as he made his way to the door. He did not look up. 

Someone was punching me, but I was reluctant to take my eyes from the people below us, and from the image of Atticus's lonely walk down the aisle. 

"Miss Jean Louise?" 

I looked around. They were all standing. All around us and on the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Syke's voice was as distant at Judge Taylor's: 

 "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'." 

____________________________________________ 

Gregory Peck, who played Atticus in the motion picture, said that when actor Bill Walker, playing Rev. Sykes, delivered that line, "he wrapped up the Academy Award for me."

Tyranny wears many disguises. In the Old South, too often it wore a badge that turned its head as the lynch mob dispensed with due process with a tree and a rope. On modern college campuses, tyranny gussies itself up with PhDs and insists on being called "professor" while it purports to correct perceived past injustices against women by treating young men accused of rape as presumptively guilty.

But wherever tyranny rears its ugly head, there will always be an Atticus Finch to battle it. He won't always win -- in fact, he usually loses -- but battle it he will. And when he passes, we should stop what we're doing and stand.

Off topic: Say what?

The Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court ruling against a breast-feeding mother, Angela Ames, "who felt bullied out of her job with Nationwide Insurance. Part of the court's reasoning was, according to Galen Sherwin of the American Civil Liberties Union, 'that even if Angela had been fired because she was breast-feeding, that was not sex discrimination, in part because men can lactate under certain circumstances.'” See here.

Reporters need to start treating rape allegations as actual rapes, says the sexual grievance industry

Reporters aren't doing their jobs reporting on sexual assault, declares a sexual assault victims' advocate, and she, for one, "would like to see . . . a discussion about the role of a reporter in the broader scheme” of sexual assault.

For one thing, she wants reporters to curtail their use of the words “alleged” and “alleges” when reporting on rape allegations because these words imply that a rape allegation is . . . a . . . rape allegation.

Get it? Neither do I.

Such words are part of the culture of blaming and shaming "survivors," she suggests. Of course, this assumes that rape accusers are "survivors," and it's that assumption that she seems to want reporters to convey. Words like "alleged," she clucks, affect "the survivor’s credibility" and "might imply that she’s lying.”

But of course the word "alleged" does not imply that the woman is lying--it merely states the woman alleges she was raped. To say more than that -- to say that a woman was raped without the "alleged" -- does a disservice to the reader because that assertion may not be true.

Worse, when a journalist, who presumably investigates the stories she writes about, declares that a rape actually occurred even though the reporter can't possibly know that, it works a terrible injustice on the man or boy accused of the rape. But fairness to the accused doesn't seem at all important to the sexual grievance industry.

She also wants reporters to avoid using words like “caress,” “fondle” and “touch," presumably even if the accuser was “caressed,” “fondled” or “touched." She tells reporters not to hammer home when physical injuries are limited, presumably even when physical injuries were limited.

This advice is not unusual. The sexual grievance industry actually has a website to teach journalists how to report on rape in a feminist-friendly manner.

The problem with the news media when it comes to rape reporting isn't that it "blames and shames" rape accusers  The problem with the news media is that, too often, it rushes to judgment and declares rape accusers to be "victims." Can you say "Rolling Stone" and Emma Sulkowicz? (In case you missed it, a student journalist admitted the blatant bias in covering Sulkowicz's story at her university.)

Perhaps the most chilling recent example of the media's bias in favor of rape accusers occurred at Hofstra University where four young men were falsely accused of rape. Professor KC Johnson, the guru of the Duke Lacrosse false rape case, said that the Hofstra sexual assault claim was "equally spectacular" to the claim at Duke. It's one of the most important stories this blog has written about. Read our thorough account of what happened at Hofstra -- http://www.cotwa.info/p/lambs-to-slaughter-hofstra-false-rape.html -- and watch this chilling television news report about the alleged rape. You can decide for yourself where the problem lies with the way rape is reported.



The sexual grievance industry's rape lie du jour

This one comes up more and more lately: whenever something happens to cast doubt on the veracity of a high profile rape accuser, the feminists resort to the sexual grievance industry playbook and trot out the "perfect victim" canard.  They do it all the time.

For example, feminist pundits complain that mattress carrier Emma Sulkowicz's story is being questioned, and that women who cry rape in general aren't believed, because they are not "perfect" rape victims.

This is more straw man than we've seen since Ray Bolger met up with Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road. When feminists say that society demands a "perfect" rape victim, what they mean is that women who cry "rape" must be believed at all costs, even if their stories have more holes than Titanic. If anyone dares to suggest that the evidence might mot support the accuser's story, regardless of the legitimacy of the suggestion, or if anyone raises even the possibility that the accused might be innocent, that person is guilty of misogyny, rape apology, victim blaming, and of insisting that rape victims be "perfect." It's the same old feminist name calling designed to end the discussion.

Someone who goes by the name Andrea Grimes wrote this jaw-dropping insanity: "We must stop looking for that perfect case; we must stop trying to appease those who would demand it. We must believe survivors. We must trust their stories."

In other words, we must stop trying to "appease" those who would demand evidence, due process, and fairness for allegations that destroy the lives of the accused. You know, "believe the women" and all that stuff from the 70s. The accusation is its own conviction.

The lunacy at work here is self-evident.

The real question for the feminists is this: is it possible for the accused to ever be sufficiently "perfect" so that his story is worthy of belief? Or is he guilty by reason of penis? The questions scarcely survive their statement.

Lest anyone forget, Emma Sulkowicz sent the following messages to her "rapist" after the alleged rape but, still, the feminists think we're women-haters if we dare even to mention it:
". . . I want to see yoyououoyou"

“I love you Paul. Where are you?!?!?!?!”

". . . we still haven’t really had a paul-emma chill sesh since summmmerrrr"
It could be that Emma Sulkowicz is not lying -- we don't know. It is well to note that America's leading campus anti-rape advocate, Brett Sokolow, says that male students are often accused of sexual assault when charges are not appropriate. In "case-after-case . . . 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." Mr. Sokolow suggested that "mental health issues" play a part in these sorts of accusations.

"Mental health issues?" Hmm. All I can say is that, in this case, the woman does walk around campus carrying a mattress . . ..  Just sayin'.

Cathy Young wrote this: "Yes, of course victims deal with trauma in different, often startling ways. However, 'no perfect victim' doesn’t mean that anything an alleged rape victim says or does, no matter how it defies common sense, reason and human experience, must be rationalized as 'that’s what some victims do!' in deference to the commandment, 'Believe the survivor.'"

The principal moral and intellectual failure of feminists who advocate about rape is the unconscionable rush to judgment whenever any rape accusation is lodged. They do it all the time in a variety of different ways, including the imaginary bellyache that society insists rape victims be "perfect." If you want to see some frightening recent examples of the feminist rush to judgment when it comes to rape, take a look at this (but not on an empty stomach).

Another college "rape" that didn't happen

I've posted two news stories below about a rape claim at a frat house at East Carolina University.

Before you read the stories, it is important to point out the following. America's leading campus anti-rape advocate, Brett Sokolow, says that male students are often charged with sexual assault when charges are not appropriate. In "case-after-case . . . 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." He suggested that "mental health issues" play a part in these accusations.

Here is another case where a male student at a frat house was accused of rape. Thankfully, he wasn't wrongly charged in this case, but the fraternity was temporarily suspended. This time, police were brought in to investigate and they determined that no rape occurred -- but they also said that the accuser was not acting out of malice or deceit. This case isn't all that unusual. College rape allegations often involve messy and murky circumstances -- too much alcohol and too many raging hormones can be a toxic concoction. A lot of times, as Mr. Sokolow points out, it's not clear-cut, and it's not as simple as "believe the woman!"

HERE IS ONE VERSION OF THE INCIDENT: http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/04/4531147/police-say-no-sexual-assault-occurred.html

GREENVILLE — An alleged sexual assault at a fraternity house at East Carolina University last month prompted the suspension of all fraternities there, but Greenville police concluded an investigation Wednesday, saying no assault occurred.

Police had been investigating a report of a sexual assault in the early morning hours Jan. 25 at Sigma Phi Epsilon at 505 E. Fifth St. in Greenville. The university quickly sent out an emergency alert, saying the victim had been taken to the hospital and describing a brown-haired male suspect in a plaid button-down shirt.

But late Wednesday, Greenville police issued a statement, saying the case was closed and no charges would be filed. “After careful review, it has been determined that the incident in question was consensual,” said the statement by Kristen Hunter, public information officer.

The national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization, known as SigEp, had initially suspended the ECU chapter. On Wednesday, Richmond-based SigEp released a statement saying that on Jan. 25, members of the ECU fraternity “asked two uninvited guests to leave the premises of their off-campus facility after finding the couple engaged in a sexual act.”

When the fraternity brothers realized that the description of the alleged attacker matched that of the man they had escorted from their home, they called police immediately and cooperated, the statement said.

“We are happy that we were able to assist in the investigation, but we are still shaken up by the whole ordeal,” chapter President Whit Beebe said in the statement. “We want students to feel safe when they visit our house.”

Three days after the allegation was made, ECU’s Interfraternity Council Board met with university officials and announced a self-imposed moratorium on social events for all fraternities. The moratorium, a university spokeswoman said, was not directly related to the reported assault but was meant to address “overall risk management” issues.

It was unclear whether the suspensions would be lifted after the announcement by police. The Interfraternity Council was scheduled to meet Wednesday night.

The ECU incident came months after the national spotlight was focused on the University of Virginia after a Rolling Stone article chronicled an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. The article has since been discredited, but not before it prompted the suspension of fraternities and an ongoing review of safety.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/04/4531147/police-say-no-sexual-assault-occurred.html#storylink=cpy


ANOTHER VERSION OF THE STORY HERE: http://www.reflector.com/crimerescue/police-woman-not-raped-2786481

A woman who reported she was raped at a local fraternity house actually engaged in a consensual act, the Greenville Police Department reported Wednesday.

“After careful review, it has been determined that the incident in question was consensual,” a statement from the police department said. “The case is now considered closed, and no charges will be filed.”

On Jan. 25, an 18-year-old woman reported at 2:29 a.m. that she had been raped at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The rape allegedly occurred between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., according to the police report.

The fraternity at 505 E. Fifth St. was having a party that night and the woman and the man met at the party, according to police.

Police spokeswoman Kristen Hunter said that investigators took her report seriously and interviewed her and interviewed the man.

Hunter declined to say why the woman would have reported she was raped.

“Our investigators often receive reports from individuals who may not be sure what has happened,” Hunter said. “We take these allegations seriously, and it’s our job to investigate them thoroughly and that’s what we do.”

Drugs and alcohol were likely a factor in the incident at the fraternity, Hunter said.

The woman will not be charged with filing a false police report, Hunter said.

“We did not believe that her report was meant to be malicious or deceitful in any way,” Hunter said. “She wasn’t trying to deceive officers, and it was something we took seriously, and after talking to both parties involved, that was the conclusion we were able to reach.”

Police worked alongside the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office to conduct the investigation, Hunter said in the statement.

Hunter would not release the name of the woman Wednesday.

The fraternity’s national office suspended the chapter temporarily on Jan. 31 pending the results of the investigation by East Carolina University.

Rob Jepson, communications manager for the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said members hope information they provided to Greenville police helped the investigation.

On the night of the alleged assault, members asked two uninvited guests to leave the premises after finding the couple engaged in a sexual act, Jepson said in an email on Wednesday.

When fraternity members realized that the description of an alleged attacker matched that of the man they had escorted from their home, they immediately contacted the police, Jepson reported.

“We are happy that we were able to assist in the investigation, but we are still shaken up by the whole ordeal,” Chapter President Whit Beebe said in the email. “We want students to feel safe when they visit our house.”

The InterFraternity Council at ECU agreed to a self-imposed moratorium on all social events at their member fraternities after the incident.

Chris Stansbury, director of marketing and communications for Student Affairs, could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

WHY WE HAVE THIS BLOG


Because of wrong-headed thinking like this that assumes guilt on the basis of an accusation

The following op-ed appeared in the Columbia Spectator:

Our role in the unofficial conviction of Paul Nungesser

By CAROLINE WILLIAMSON
February 5, 2015, 2:47am

Back in the news this week is the story of “Carry That Weight,” known to the public as the product of a woman at Columbia standing up for her right—and the right of all women—to justice. But this time, we are hearing the side of the story that has been missing from the conversation thus far. Paul Nungesser has spoken out in a Daily Beast article, explaining why he believes himself to be the true victim in the Emma Sulkowicz situation. The article, which releases Facebook messages shared between Sulkowicz and Nungesser dated after the alleged attack, seems to call Sulkowicz’s account of the incident into question.

These messages are evidence of nothing. They are neither an exoneration of Nungesser nor an indictment of Sulkowicz, if only because Nungesser was already exonerated and Sulkowicz has never been accused of any wrongdoing. The true question here is why the public so easily raced to convict Nungesser without the presentation of any real evidence. In fact, the most concrete account of the relationship between the two is the Facebook conversation that has only recently come to light. Until now, the media has fed upon the claims and spectacles produced by one side of the story.

It’s understandable. Sulkowicz’s account is compelling. Her story is harrowing, and her performance art is riveting—newsworthy, one might say. And it is, after all, the job of the media to document, right? But all that is being documented is one person’s point of view. The most careful news sources made sure to maintain the word “alleged” in their pieces on Sulkowicz’s project, but only after creating magazine covers portraying her as a female superhero, armed with a 50-pound mattress and the force of every feminist group in America behind her. It’s a powerful image, and not necessarily incorrect. Sulkowicz is undoubtedly a strong woman, and the stance against rape culture is an important one to take. But was this the best case with which to make that point? Were we, the public, sure enough about the events in question to make that judgment? Did the media give us a choice, or was Nungesser the scapegoat for the movement against rape on campus that’s been building steam for years?

The mistake we’ve all made has been substituting belief in an ideal with certainty about a specific case. There was never enough evidence presented to the public to expel Nungesser from school or convict him in court, so there should not have been enough to convict him in the media. No matter how fiercely we may have believed Sulkowicz, we just don’t know what happened that night. The university adjudication system, especially the concept of due process that is meant to protect all of us, failed Paul Nungesser, who was officially found innocent and yet still presumed guilty by the masses.

The possibility that Nungesser is innocent has, up until now, only been whispered from the sidelines, if entertained at all. What kind of person doesn’t believe a girl who says she’s been raped? Anti-feminists, misogynists, slut-shamers, and proponents of rape culture.

But the fear of being judged and labeled by the media has kept people from examining every facet of this case. The stance for due process has been obscured by the notion that if we don’t stand with Sulkowicz, we stand for rape.

Also found guilty by the public was the Columbia administration. Lacking a “preponderance of evidence” (the greater than 50 percent likelihood that an individual is guilty, and the University’s standard to convict), administrators dismissed the case against Nungesser. 51 percent is a far lower standard of certainty than the legal system requires to convict, and could not be met in the case of Sulkowicz versus Nungesser. Expecting belief in an argument without evidence is asking a lot. Expecting belief in an argument without evidence that could have serious ramifications on another’s life is unacceptable. Condemning an institution for upholding its judicial regulations for due process is inadmissible.

Universities are meant to educate, police are meant to prosecute, and the media is meant to document. We are meant to think. Process only the information that is available. Don’t reach for the most prevalent conclusion that exists in the media for fear of being labeled. Examine the evidence available, and perhaps you will see that the best approach to some cases is to maintain distance from judgment at all.