How Government Created the Campus Rape Crisis [Corrected, May 5]

You know who does an even worse job than the cops at dealing with rape? College administrators.


Campus rape
Valeri Pizhanski / Foter

Note: An earlier version of this column erroneously stated that the alleged attacker in a case at Brown University admitted to the allegations against him. That is not the case. We regret the error.

The Obama administration recently released recommendations for strengthening the laws around protecting college students from harassment and sexual assault. The report, Not Alone, comes three months after the creation of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Not Alone and its accompanying website, NotAlone.gov, recommends new practices for colleges and universities nationwide.

Some of the recommendations aren't bad—more polling data can help fill in the gaps created by underreporting, prevention programs are probably worth a try. But ultimately none of the recommendations address the fundamental issue with on-campus rape, and leave intact a system seemingly designed to fail.

The system for adjudicating on-campus sexual assault currently in place utterly fails victims, the accused, administrators and fellow students and faculty. The problem began in the 1970s, with the passing of Title IX. The law includes a provision requiring schools to independently investigate reports of sexual assault and harassment.

Victims can still go to the cops in addition to these campus courts. But for myriad reasons, including the fact that police officers are all-too-happy to not have to deal with rape cases, schools don't want to work with police, and victims don't want to deal with two investigations, schools often handle the investigations themselves.

It's undeniably true that police botch rape cases horribly. They harass, intimidate, blame, and abuse victims, refuse to collect evidence or investigate, and allow rape kits to expire, untested by the thousands every year. But you know who does an even worse job than the professionals who are trained (however poorly) to deal with the crime? College administrators.

Yet for some reason, lawmakers decided that that's exactly who should be responsible for investigating and punishing rapes on college campuses.

Often, it's in a school's interest to sweep messes like rape under the rug. Administrators have no training in investigating rape allegations, and very little incentive to get justice for victims, especially when the accused are star athletes, stellar students, or just well-liked. Rapes are generally investigated and sentences handed down by a panel of students, hardly a group of professionals up to the task.

Despite updates to Title IX such as the Clery Act, which requires schools to disclose campus crime statistics, and a Dear Colleague letter from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights asking schools to do better at investigating and prosecuting rape, schools have handled rape exactly as you'd expect them to: poorly.

The stories are sickening. At Patrick Henry College, it's come out that administrators ask women who report rape whether they were flirting with their rapists. One got an assignment to read a modesty self-help book after reporting her rape. A college official instructed her to delete e-mails, calls and texts from the student who raped her.

Florida State University did virtually no investigating when a student brought allegations forward that their star quarterback, Jameis Winston, raped her, despite her bruises and the football star's semen which could be found in her underwear. What finally got him suspended? Shoplifting crab legs.

Despite knowing Sasha Menu Courey believed she had been raped, University of Missouri administrators defied federal requirements and refused to investigate. She committed suicide 16 months after the assault. After Lizzy Seeberg accusing a Notre Dame football player of raping her, the only people she heard from were friends of the accused, who harassed her until she took her own life ten days after reporting the attack.

Their attacks were never investigated. That's not unusual.

Perhaps realizing the deficiencies of the panel-of-students route, the new report recommends schools get rid of the hearings altogether. Only instead of turning the investigations over to law enforcement, the Task Force wants schools to empower a single administrator to serve as judge, jury, and executioner. According to Greg Lukianoff, President of campus free-speech organization FIRE, this new sole administrator would offer the accused "no chance to challenge his or her accuser's testimony."

Tellingly, the Task Force expresses only the most meager sense of the rights necessary to secure fundamentally fair hearings, noting that it believes the single investigator model would still "safeguard[] an alleged perpetrator's right to notice and to be heard."

The truth is that Title IX is as toothless is as it ill-conceived. Failing to report gets schools slapped on the wrist. The Department of Education fined Yale University $165,000 for not disclosing four separate forceful sexual offenses over several years. After a student was sexually assaulted and killed at Eastern Michigan University they didn't send out a campus alert, and paid $350,000 for it.

The thinking behind leaving investigating rape to schools never made any sense. If someone rapes someone, most people think they should be in jail. Why should it be different when a student rapes another student? We could get upset that most students found guilty of raping other students aren't expelled. But what good does it do to send a rapist home, as if without a campus they couldn't find someone to rape?

Cops don't want to have to deal with rape, and campuses simply can't. It's time to fix both problems at the same time.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one of the nation's preeminent anti-sexual assault organizations, warns: "Until we find a way to engage and partner with law enforcement, to bring these crimes out of the shadows of dorm rooms and administrators' offices, and to treat them as the felonies that they are, we will not make the progress we hope."

The answer to ill-equipped, uninterested, abusive police departments isn't to move the cases to ill-equipped, unmotivated, perversely incentivized school administrators. It's to force cops to do their jobs. That's exactly what prosecutor Kym Worthy is doing in Wayne County, Mich., where Detroit is located. She's successfully pressured police to go through the county's massive backlog of rape kits, and is demanding change in the way rapes are handled after she discovered audio evidence of neglect and abuse of victims by cops.

If she can do it in one of the most cash-strapped areas of the country, it can be done everywhere. It takes pressure to force police departments to stop abusing victims and refusing them justice. But victims of all ages deserve nothing less.

NEXT: Read Reason's Complete May 2014 Issue

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Can I just make up my own .gov website too?

    1. Why not? There’s literally nothing that the federal government can’t do. How many hundreds of millions of dollars shall I put you down for?

      1. I’m trying to think of a good site for .gov status. Heroic Mulatto linked to a good candidate yesterday:

        1. Amazing as that website is, Ling appears to be a very successful entrepreneur. That just won’t do for a government site.

  2. Typical libertarian shill for Big Rape.

    1. The ratio of men:women on college campuses has been decreasing exponentially. Fewer men are going to traditional 4 year schools.

      Let’s guess why:

      1. Relevance – a four year degree in communications or business is of questionable economic value.

      2. Cost – self-explanatory.

      3. Hostile environment. Every man a rapist.

      Just a bit of advice for the activist feminists: When you become increasingly irrational you marginalize yourselves and the institutions you control.

      1. Dartmouth applications dropped 14% this year. I wonder how many were young men scared off by what happened to Parker Gilbert.

  3. Speaking of campus:

    Condoleezza Rice will no longer be doing commencement at Rutgers. This is the same school that paid Snooki $32k to do a random speech but where the students won’t allow $35k to be paid for a former sec of state to do commencement. I am livid.

    The most annoying part is the weapons-grade smug I’m seeing from the protesters. So many of them are feminists and social-justice types that I really want to ask them why we drove off the best example of a strong independent black woman seen on campus in a long time.

    1. Condi is wrong sort of black woman, Fool. She served Satan Incarnate, the Enemy of All Life, Bush the Busherian.

    2. why we drove off the best example of a strong independent black woman seen on campus in a long time

      Because she’s a strong (self-reliant) independent (of the Democratic Party) black (oreo) woman (not feminist).

      1. This will give her more time to look after the birth pangs of a new Middle East and tend to her mushroom clouds.

  4. The reason behind this and the new bumper crop of social issues arising from the left blogosphere is very simple, and it has nothing to do with injustice or outcome-based thinking: moral superiority of the sort craved by upper-class SWPLs pushing these memes is a positional good, and its value diminishes to the degree that other people glom onto it. The gay rights movement lost its cachet among the left precisely at the moment that middle America began to agree with it; it still has some steam but is fast becoming nothing more than a bauble to be neglected much as blacks in the Democratic party are today. New, more niche issues are needed for the totem pole of grievances; how else are progs supposed to signal how enlightened they are?

    Pity the poor saps who are relieved that the left has finally picked up on their issue, whether that issue be transgendered rights or campus rape: they’ve just invited the Turk through the Bosporus. Left to the side are pathetic hanger-ons like Bo, who can always be counted on to be on the ‘right’ side of these SWPL issues but who can’t seem to understand why this doesn’t matter at all to progs or why progs don’t seem to understand the contradictions at play in their stated commitments to justice.

    1. Progs don’t seek to be good people, they seek to be better people. It took me a long time to understand that.

      1. Better than you. Better than me. It take a better person to tell others how to live. Better, smarter, wiser than the rest of us poor peeons who can’t live our lives without their help.

  5. The more you politicize something, the more warped and distorted the treatment of it becomes. Particular groups have been doing anything and everything they can for years to politicize rape. Is it any surprise that the handling of rape has become this distorted?

  6. “Despite updates to Title IX such as the Clery Act, which requires schools to disclose campus crime statistics…”

    If you actually look into what the Clery Act requires campuses to collect, it is not “Crime” statistics = but rather ‘reporting instances of ‘reports” of sexual assault. And the requirements of the act *specify* that reports must be counted ‘Before any investigation, whether there IS any investigation, and separate from any actual further evidence’. They specifically state that the definition of an ‘assuault’ is the initial report – not to be changed by any subsequent investigation (whether or not there is one) or law enforcement activity.

    The data collected from the DoE is based completely on ‘reports’ of activity, even including second hand mentions. I wish I could find my links to the slide show, but it was in a previous thread where the recent hype about Campus Assault was mentioned…

    1. “Scuze me, I would like to report a rape! That fatty was looking at me and I’m way out of his league!”

    2. here


      the link to the PPT that explains the definitions of Clery Act data collection is here =


      Note the mention that “no investigation of reports is necessary, no one has to be found guilty, the alleged victim can even deny anything happened, etc.” and its still a ‘crime report’ under the Clery Act.

      1. Reported crimes

        Document any report made in good faith by a third party, even if the victim doesn’t want to report the incident.

        Document the victim’s report even if the victim doesn’t want to press charges…

        They give examples in the online slide pack… where if “a mother calls and complains about X, Y, or Z”… that’s a ‘reported crime’.

        1. This sort of reinforces my point that if you politicize something, this is what you get. Lies and distortion to make things fit the political angle, whatever it may be.

          1. As per my original comment = since they began collecting this ‘data’, guess what?


            Download their data sets = ‘Forcible sexual assault’ has risen 20% PER YEAR!! OMG PANIC!?! NEEDS MOAR BUDGETS TO STOP THE RAPE TIDAL WAVE?

            Of course that has nothing to do with the increasing number of bureaucrats ‘complying’ with the Act.

  7. “How Government Created the Campus Rape Crisis”

    Serious question; what constitutes “crises” here?

    1. OK, fine, epidemic. (TIC)

      1. I am patient zero.

    2. It’s just like the food insecurity crisis.

      1. “It’s just like the food insecurity crisis.”

        So it’s ‘way better than it used to be but still useable for propaganda purposes?

        1. I would go so far as to say it’s non existent.

      2. I never knew my food was neurotic.

        1. Well, duh!
          It wasn’t since you sent it to therapy!

  8. The problem stems from asking people constitutionally ill suited to do anything requiring subtlety or tact to immerse themselves in matters requiring both. College administrators are people who cannot be comfortable outside the artificial environment of the college campus, while not being actual scholars. In other words; drones.

  9. This is glitch is kind of serious:

    How may billions have been spent on the FAA’s NextGen so far?

  10. the Task Force wants schools to empower a single administrator to serve as judge, jury, and executioner

    Well of course. There is no problem that an additional administrator can’t solve. Especially one with absolute power.

  11. http://www.7sur7.be/7s7/fr/150…..chel.dhtml

    Someone translate please.

    1. Ask Google

    2. Six teenagers were removed from Coll?ge Saint-Michel in Brussels. The six young men took the door after a sex scandal within the institution. Five took part, along with a student of sixteen perfectly willing, in a collective sex at a retreat in Libramont. The girl, she won the right to return to college.

      I’d say she won.

      1. Considered too old for sex for this Christian high school.

    3. Wow, WTF.

      TL;DR: Consensual gangbang during a school trip of a religious school. The 5 guys involved were kicked out (the girl was temporarily suspended), although the administrator says it was for behaving in a way incompatible with the school’s values (and nothing else), and hopes they won’t see further consequences.

      Boys’ parents accuse the girl of being the instigator, noting she’s done similar things before (allegedly).

      1. I am a woman (thus I will be an Uncle Tom before this message is done).

        I have known genuine victims of rape and physical and psychological abuse, all of them female. (I do know men are abused too, but that’s for someone else to describe.)

        However, I also know waaaaay too many women willing to make attacks up for sympathy/outrage/demonstrations that it is really difficult to interpret these issues.

        1. There is far too much hysteria surrounding this supposed “crisis” for me to take it seriously. I agree completely with your assessment, know the same type of women who will embrace the victim status du jour for attention.

  12. While attending college I was repeatedly raped by several women. It was wonderful.

  13. I have found some pure derp, in a place that has much of it: YouTube comments.


    you sir are the idiot. if you can’t spend more than you make, how would anyone buy a house or car? or anything else that costs more than their monthly/yearly income?
    also, exactly how much do you spend on ‘defense’, which the gov’t spends a lot on.?

    This country is doomed.

    1. I think you might have a problem with derp addiction. You’re so desperate for derp, now you’re hanging out in a trashy derp-den like the youtube comments! Next you’ll be pawning your car for the chance to have a conversation with Krugman or something.

  14. Speaking of failure, a small dose of Marcotte for y’all…

    Few stories really encapsulate the growing politicization of science and how the right is, as with racism and sexism, involved in a project of denying that they’re anti-science while also promoting an anti-science point of view. To summarize, the editor in question, named Michael Moyer, was asked to come on to Fox News to talk about the future of technology. Since so much of that future is going to be shaped, inevitably, by climate change, he wanted to talk about that. But they wouldn’t let him. Moyer said he’s not going to come onto Fox anymore, and that the whole experience made him uncomfortable.

    It is anti-science and a political statement to keep a non-political show… non-political. Huh.

    It’s clearly they censored him because this was supposed to be an “apolitical” segment. Again, they openly admit in this segment that they censored Moyer’s attempts to mention climate change in an apolitical ain’t-science-neat kind of segment. This is not in dispute. The true face of Fox News, one that is intrinsically anti-science and only accepts science on ideological and not evidentiary grounds, has been revealed. No wonder they’re so mad.

    Those sneaky bastards.

    1. [Cont.]

      None of which is to say that we should generally be suspicious of cable news shows doing non-political segments on things like “exciting new developments in technology” or whatnot. Most of those are exactly what they seem. But there’s almost always an ulterior motive going on at Fox News, even with the seemingly most innocuous and apolitical segments.

      Right, just like how most banks are just banks, unless they’re run by Jews in which case they’re fronts for the Zionist plot to take control of all of the world’s governments and economies.

      1. …wrong article. ‘Doh!

  15. College dorms are probably the most “deregulated” government facility on the nation. You really have to do something boneheaded for the RA or security to check up on you – like blasting music past midnight. I saw random girls sleep over at my suite, even though such cohabitation was strictly illegal. As for these Sorority houses, nothing more needs to be said.

    Those places are like tax funded gated communities in which hundreds of horny college kids get to spend time together away from their parents. I saw clueless dumbasses at the UC school that I attended that had no business graduating from high school.

    Maybe we need to drive out the right wingers running these places. These institution could be a touch more progressive.

    1. So college dorms are deregulated, yet tax funded. And they are right wing, yet the opposite of conservative.

  16. http://www.foxcarolina.com/sto…..new-debate

    Fuck yeah. A man’s Waffle House is his castle.

    “I understand he felt threatened by the situation,” McSwain said. “But he said the gun was pointed at him so he fired. In fact he (Williams) was walking out.”

    Bitch, you bring the steel out, you best be ready to welcome all comers. Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing.

    1. Don’t write a check your ass can’t cash. Fuck ‘im.

    2. I said yo it’s on, take cover son or you’re assed out. “How do you like my chrome”, then I watched the rookie pass out. Didn’t have to blast him, but I did anyway. Young punk had to pay.

    3. Good advice, but if the cousin is right that Williams had put the gun away and was walking out the door, that’s not a justifiable shooting. Regardless of what someone did a minute ago, you can’t shoot them after they’re clearly not threatening you anymore. They don’t show the shooting itself in the video, unfortunately, so we don’t know.

      1. that’s not a justifiable shooting.

        lolwut? He was still armed, he was still threatening people, and it was 100% a good shoot.

        You seem to be unclear on how self-defense works.

        1. Without seeing the footage of the shooting we don’t know whether he was actually threatening anyone immediately prior to the shooting. He obviously was threatening people before, but that’s not enough. Being threatened does not give you a right to kill at some time in the future — a point many self-proclaimed self-defense advocates seem unclear on.

          1. Being threatened does not give you a right to kill at some time in the future

            I don’t consider it a “right”, it’s more like a “responsibility”.

            If you threaten me, you will die.

            Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, possibly next week, definitely within a couple years.

            “You don’t think I’ve ever dug a hole?”
            /Joe Pesci

            1. “Catfish gotta eat. Same as worms.”

              /Josey Wales

            2. Thanks for sharing your psychopathy with the world. I’m sure the prosecution will find this comment useful if you ever shoot someone and claim self-defense.

          2. So, you’re an expert on self-defense laws in whereeverthehellthishappened?

            Do you have a concealed carry permit for the state where you live? Have you been through concealed carry training?

            I ask because you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. All the more irony for “self-proclaimed self-defense advocates.”

            Smart people STFU when they don’t know what they are talking about.

            1. Yes, I have had CCW training and have a permit. I would seriously question whether people who think it’s legal to shoot a fleeing post-aggressor* have done so. For their sake I hope they never have a chance to implement that belief; jail’s not a fun place.

              *except in case of kidnapping

      2. Good advice, but if the cousin is right that Williams had put the gun away and was walking out the door, that’s not a justifiable shooting.

        Fuck me Tulpa, you are one dumb fuck.

        I bet you’d change your tune if it had been say, a cop, who had shot Williams.

      3. yeah, TECHNICALLY, but the fact of the matter is the kid started the whole situation; let’s be real, no jury is going to convict the guy who shoots a violent robber, and that’s a good thing. I think it was stupid the guy decided to play hero, but the fact of the matter is it’s a good thing that those who would defend themselves and the public don’t need to fear a conviction

      4. Here, let’s dispense with the ‘if the person who wasn’t there and is trying to make their criminal relative into another ‘good black boy’, and got to the article–

        The video shows Williams, gun by his side, walk back toward Harrison, who stands up and fires several shots killing Williams almost instantly.

        The video then shows Harrison trying to hold Craig at gunpoint. But Craig tries grabbing Harrison’s gun and after a struggle Craig escapes.

        Notice that it says ‘the video shows’–not ‘a person says’ or ‘Williams buddies say’.

        Williams had his gun in his hand–i.e. out–when he went towards Harrison. He had already made his threat, and had not rescinded it.

        It was a good shoot.

  17. The stories are sickening. At Patrick Henry College, it’s come out that administrators ask women who report rape whether they were flirting with their rapists.

    Whether they were flirting with the person who is accused of rape, you mean? Check your bias, Cathy.

    That seems like an important piece of information, especially since the investigators have to go out and hunt for evidence after talking to the accuser. If it’s a case where the accuser and accused were flirting, making out, etc in front of other people, and only once they got alone did the accuser claim to say no, then there’s no point in looking for testimony from people who saw them beforehand. If the accused claims that there was sex but it was consensual, the rape kit results are probably going to be irrelevant.

    The main reason cops, employers, uni admins dread dealing with rape claims (and sex harass claims, to a lesser extent) is because it’s usually impossible to prove one way or the other, and whichever side the decision goes against is going to be pissed.

  18. There is not a “crisis” of rape on the college campus and there is not a “crisis” in the military on women either. This is propagated nonsense and victim creation once again from the Progressive. I have been on campus and in the military. This crisis that the hysterics keep spewing doesn’t exist any more than the day to day crime that periodically occurs.
    But the feminist has to portray herself as a victim in every scenario. The “War On Women” is a good example. “Women paid 77 cents on the dollar to men in a lifetime.” Never mind the actual facts of time taken off for raising children. A fact isn’t important to the Progressive. Creation of victim is all that concerns the Progressive.
    Here is the bottom line for women. You’re not victims nor oppressed. Every opportunity exists for you. Quit taking extreme examples and trying to convince us it is norm. As I’ve predicted in my own writing the nation that continues to create victim groups is a nation that falls. In Germany they blamed the woes of the country on the Jew. If we continue this anti reasoned philosophy then we can expect the same result in the end. A nation that lives on anti reason is one that cannot last.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

  19. I’ve always wanted to know the actual traffic to most of those .gov websites. I feel that at any given month only 10 people visit them, and 90 percent of those by accident, our of sheer bordem or because they have to actually use the bloody thing.

  20. In college in the early nineties, I heard a lot about campus rape, so one night when I had to go from the library to my dorm at 2 am, I called the highly publicized escort service (not what you’re thinking) to walk me home. From the dispatcher who took my call to the freshman loser who showed up to escort me, it was a joke. Obviously somebody got cred for setting up a “walk home safe” deal, but in reality it was the complete opposite.

    But never fear, I’m sure someone got a doctorate degree out of it.

  21. Disgusting. It is these administrators who belong in jail too. Purely the results of a perfect trio of public systems. Politicians, police, and schools.

  22. The line “But for myriad reasons, including the fact that police officers are all-too-happy to not have to deal with rape cases”… is based on what? Where is your research/evidence to support such a self-serving statement? While trying to help a traumatized victim can always be trying even for a trained professional, your complete devoid of intelligent broad stroking statement (or Dumb Ass Ignorance if that makes its easier to understand) shows you like the sound of your own voice and will say whatever to support your broader point, which could have stood on its own merit without showing your prejudice.

  23. “The law includes a provision requiring schools to independently investigate reports of sexual assault and harassment.”

    So the Feds are responsible for the idiocy and injustice of taking the investigation and prosecution of crime out of the hands of the criminal justice system, and putting it into the hands of University admins.

    Why am I not surprised?

    1. Colleges being forced to go smokefree by Obama Administration

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an initiative to ban smoking from college campuses last month. This is part of the HHS goal to create a society free of tobacco-related disease and death, according to their action plan released by the HHS in 2010.

      Colleges who fail to enact campus-wide smoking bans and other tobacco-free policies may soon face the loss of grants and contracts from the HHS, according to the plan. Western receives grants through a subdivision of the HHS called the National Institutes of Health, Acting Vice Provost for Research Kathleen Kitto said.


      Obama administration to push for eliminating smoking on college campuses

      Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/11/obama … z29zJ2V2TV

      President Barack Obama has already promised not to smoke cigarettes in the White House. If his administration has its way, American college students will soon be required to follow suit while they’re on campus.

      Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will announce a national initiative Wednesday at the University of Michigan School of Public Health to stamp out tobacco use on college campuses.

  24. They did the exact same thing in the military and as well with any other subject you want to put into the blank!

  25. One has to remember OWEbama is giving his FEMINAZI voter base of lesbians what they want here making victims out of non-victims for something they have yet to actually define for sure as criminal.

    To many of these radical feminazis simply smiling at a pretty girl would be date rape or even worse a case of stalking!

    When INSANITY rules and comes into power nothing is safe!

  26. Having a very keen interest in the Jameis Winston story I’m baffled that reason didn’t bother to research the incident past a poorly written NY Times piece. Way to defend the rights of the accused, Champion of the Individual! If you’re going to paint a picture with semen and bruises, be sure to include the other man’s spunk floating in her pants. A passing mention of the self-proclaimed “cleat chaser” changing her story several times wouldn’t fit your rape crises narrative either, I suppose, but hey Athlete! Rapist! Conspiracy! Reason indeed.

    Also, asking a alleged victim if she was flirting with the accused seems at best heartless and at worst criminal, until you realize the very definition of rape has been so watered down as to have no meaning, ala racism. You reap what you sow.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.