Rape

Due Process At Risk in Efforts Against Campus Rape, Cathy Young Writes in Time

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President Obama
White House

Sexual assault on college campus is a disturbing headline-grabber, these days. But, as is often the case during public policy panics, not every response is a good one. Writing in Time, Reason contributing editor Cathy Young warns that the White House's initiative against campus rape runs the risk of turning its back on due process and protections for the accused.

Even in smaller numbers, sexual assault on campus is a cause for concern. But the government's quest to address it creates new troubling issues.

Thus, since 2011, the Department of Education has recommended that colleges use the lowest burden of proof—"preponderance of the evidence," which means a finding of guilt if one feels the evidence tips even slightly toward the complainant—in disciplinary proceedings on sexual assault. (Traditionally, charges of student misconduct have been judged by the higher standard of "clear and convincing evidence.") The new guidelines make this a requirement; they also encourage "juries" with no student participation and even a shift to a single-investigator process.

Missing is virtually any recognition of the need for fairness to the accused. The recent White House Council on Women and Girls report on sexual assault dismisses false accusations as a "myth," citing a 2010 article by University of Massachusetts Boston psychologist David Lisak that concluded that "only 2-10% of reported rapes are false." Yet a 10% error rate is hardly trivial. This estimate also refers only to proven fabrications; no one knows how many unresolved charges, nearly half of Lisak's university sample, may be false. And people may be wrongly accused because of confusion rather than deliberate lies—especially when drinking is involved.

Read the whole article here.

Don't miss Young's recent article for Reason on campus rape and flawed responses to the same: "Guilty Until Proven Innocent."

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  1. only 2-10% of reported rapes are false.

    The real number is more like 40%, which most local law enforcement agencies will confirm off the record.

    And what’s with all the Reasonoids writing for Time these days?

    1. From what I’ve read, that seems to be the high end estimate, with the low one being the 2-10% or 2-8% number that gets peddled around. My guess would be that the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

      1. The 2-10% number is complete and total horseshit.

        In fact, not only are 40% of all rape accusations false, but an incredible 25-30% of all women making a rape accusation will recant the accusation immediately if they’re ordered to take a polygraph test. We know that for a fact because it’s permitted in the military.

        1. Where are you getting these numbers? Just curious.

          1. McDowell, Charles P., Ph.D. “False Allegations.” Forensic Science Digest, (publication of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Vol. 11, No. 4 (December 1985).

              1. No problem. Another person who has studied this issue seriously and closely is Eugene J. Kanin, Ph.D. Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Purdue, with most of his research being done in the mid ’90s.

            1. Not only is Charles P. McDowell a man, but I suspect he’s a white man. Therefore your argument is invalid.

              1. Poe? Poe, is that you?

                Shit, I can’t tell.

        2. an incredible 25-30% of all women making a rape accusation will recant the accusation immediately if they’re ordered to take a polygraph test

          That is hard to believe. Especially since I would think that, in general, members of the military are more likely to be truthful then the general population, even if only by a little bit.

      2. I suspect a lot of those differences depend on your definition of rape. I can see the confusion when rape is defined, by some, as sex while drunk or I felt bad about it the next day.

        Also, what does it say about a topic when there is a different number depending on whether it’s on or off the record?

        1. Also, what does it say about a topic when there is a different number depending on whether it’s on or off the record?

          Mostly that it’s a highly politicized issue (radical feminists have spent decades working to expand the legal definition of rape), that the far left controls the terms of the dialogue on almost all issues these days (especially within academia and government), and that most people don’t want to risk losing their jobs by pissing off the wrong people.

          1. Mostly that it’s a highly politicized issue (radical feminists have spent decades working to expand the legal definition of rape)

            Why would they want to expand the legal definition of rape?

            1. Why would they want to expand the legal definition of rape?

              Seriously?

    2. I’m puzzled as to how one would even measure that, since most rape reports are impossible to prove or disprove.

  2. Proof is just a tool of patriarchal oppression.

  3. Look, one purpose of most colleges is to perform a proggie brainwash on the suckers who go for an degree. A most important lesson is that there should be no due process when accused of anything by a female or favored minority.

    To ask college administrators to observe due process in rape accusations is therefore like asking the electrical engineering department to cut Ohm’s Law from the curriculum. It would remove the basic concept they want to teach.

  4. This is why it’s easier to govern in China. Who was the guy who said that?

    All white males are guilty by default. So the only thing left is to decide their punishment. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that scenario.

  5. Here are some words, in no particular order.

    Monica Lewinsky says she became reclusive during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president in 2008 for fear that she would be used for political purposes and that she feels “gun-shy” even now as Mrs. Clinton considers another run in 2016.

    Despite Ms. Lewinsky’s trepidation, she writes in a forthcoming issue of Vanity Fair that she now feels compelled to emerge from the shadows because, “Should I put my life on hold for another eight to 10 years?”

    It is time, she writes, to stop “tiptoeing around my past, and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past.”

    What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?

    These people are mired in some weird cloud cuckoo land of pretentious self-referential symbology.

    1. Her past’s “purpose” was to drop to her knees on command and fellate the Goober-in-Chief, and no amount of image rehabilitation is going to change that fact.

      1. And it effectively destroyed her life.

        The fact that a man in a position of incredible power got some young, dumb girl to suck his cock shouldn’t mean that girl has her life utterly destroyed.

        I actually feel pretty bad for her. She’s just really lucky she comes from money who she’d have had some real problems. Couple that with the fact that “feminist” shitweasels like Maureen Dowd and Gloria Steinem spent years attacking her in the most ridiculous and duplicitous way possible to defend a man that is a complete pig and she cuts a pretty pathetic and pitiable character.

        1. She’s just really lucky she comes from money who she’d have had some real problems.

          If she didn’t come from money she wouldn’t have been an intern and therefore wouldn’t have had a chance to give Billy boy a BJ.

  6. Ross Douthat tows the lion.

    The colleges, for various reasons, are disinclined to push back too hard publicly against their critics. So conservative and libertarian observers ? a mostly female group, it should be said, including Reason’s Cathy Young, Bloomberg View’s Megan McArdle, the American Enterprise Institute’s Caroline Kitchens and others ? have stepped into the breach.

    These writers have cast doubt on some of the statistics invoked by campus activists (particularly the White House’s claim that one in five collegiate women will be sexually assaulted), questioned whether college disciplinary committees are really equipped to adjudicate guilt and innocence in such cases (“if a college wouldn’t conduct a murder trial, it shouldn’t be conducting rape trials,” writes McArdle) and cited instances ? which might be multiplied if the activists had their way ? in which accused male rapists were denied a fair hearing and railroaded instead.

    Such arguments add up to a plausible case against some of the activists’ prescriptions. But they don’t inspire much sympathy for the colleges’ position in this controversy. The protesting students may be overzealous and unduly ideological, but when you’re running an essentially corrupt institution, sometimes that’s the kind of opposition you deserve.

    Yeah, but-

    RAPE KULTURZ

    1. IN last week’s column, I wrote about the connection between college social life and socioeconomic stratification, and the way the party scene at many universities, oriented toward heavy drinking and hooking up, creates distinctive challenges for working-class students, whether they’re attracted to its thrills or alienated by its excesses.

      Shut the fuck up, Ross, you insufferable ass.

    2. a mostly female group, it should be said

      This irks me more than anything else he wrote. He’s basically saying that if they were male their arguments would have less weight.

      1. That’s not what he’s saying. He’s noting it as a defense against the “they’re only saying this because they’re all male and so no one should listen to them” ad-homs. That way he sounds nice and sympathetic when he tries to tear them down with DIFFERENT specious reasoning.

        1. STFU, you insufferable twit.

    3. “if a college wouldn’t conduct a murder trial, it shouldn’t be conducting rape trials”

      Of course, colleges do no such thing. The only thing that they have to do is determine whether the conduct is sufficiently egregious that it warrants disciplinary action. I have no problem with an institution deciding that it is unacceptable for a student to have intercourse with another, drunk student, even though some prosecutors may be reluctant to file charges. In the same way that colleges are free to implement their own policies regarding a wide array of behaviors which, while not criminal, may not be considered acceptable.

      Would she also say that universities should not be allowed to fire employees for theft unless said employees have first been convicted in a court of law?

  7. But the modern university’s primary loyalty is not really to liberalism or political correctness or any kind of ideological design: It’s to the school’s brand, status and bottom line. And when something goes badly wrong, or predators run loose ? as tends to happen in a world where teens and early-twentysomethings are barely supervised and held to no standard higher than consent ? the mask of kindness and community slips, and the face revealed beneath is often bloodless, corporate and intent on self-protection.

    College is just like LORD OF THE FLIES!

    1. I’m kind of afraid to ask, but what does “held to no higher standard than consent” mean? What should the standard be for adults if not consent?

    2. as tends to happen in a world where teens and early-twentysomethings are barely supervised

      Adults going unsupervised? God forbid!

      1. In Ross’s world, you’re not an adult until you’re off your parent’s Obamacare.

  8. The fact that a man in a position of incredible power got some young, dumb girl to suck his cock shouldn’t mean that girl has her life utterly destroyed.

    I don’t buy the victimhood narrative. She was old enough to know what she was doing, and who she was doing it with.

    1. I don’t buy the victimhood narrative. She was old enough to know what she was doing, and who she was doing it with.

      I agree, but I don’t think she deserved the subsequent railroading where she was portrayed as some loony stalker. Her life was essentially destroyed over a blowjob.

      1. She was some loony stalker. Essentially a “power” groupie. She was an adult, responsible for her actions, capable of foreseeing the potential ramifications of those actions and deserving of everything she got.

        They were both shitbags IMO.

    2. I don’t think she was a victim when she blew Clinton, but what unfolded afterward was ridiculous.

      She didn’t deserve to have her life utterly ruined because she was a political inconvenience.

      I suppose she got off easy though, people who inconvenience the Clintons had an alarming habit of dying.

  9. Other than the Justice Department pushing on colleges in this area, at least for the private colleges this is an odd issue for libertarians to be upset about. Absent contractual obligations to the contrary, private entities should be able to decide on what terms they want to continue to associate with customers and employees. I imagine colleges like Swathmore give about as much or probably more ‘due process’ to such cases as any other private association.

    1. at least for the private colleges this is an odd issue for libertarians to be upset about.

      About 5 million students in private colleges, about 13 million in public colleges. Right, we’re concerned about the 70% of the students in the US who are in public universities. Some high level Botardation there.

      1. Swathmore is specifically named in the article. They should be able to use whatever process they want to decide to associate with a customer or not.

        1. They take federal subsidized student loans, don’t they? That’s the foot in the door the Feds are using under the horrid Title IX to impose this shit on otherwise private colleges.

          It’s amazing that on the one hand, it’s OK that accepting federal student loans means we should make colleges violate the due process portions of the constituion, and the people who disagree are whack jobs; but, if you suggest that accepting federal student loans means you should have to adhere to the First (or especially Second) Amendments, the same “reasonable” people will say you’re a freak for suggesting the feds should impose 1A standards on the schools.

          (Granted, letting the feds impose 1A standards on the schools would probably be misused, so I don’t know that I would favor it. But it’s an idea that doesn’t even seem to be up for discussion.)

        2. Swathmore is specifically named in the article.

          So is UNC and the University of Colorado.

    2. “Other than the Justice Department pushing on colleges in this area”

      Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…

    3. It would be unlibertarian to demand that the state force some sort of evidentiary standard on the private universities, but it is perfectly libertarian to criticize them when they resort to nonsense like this. These schools help condition people to give up more freedom to the state. Whether it’s a state school or a private school doing it, that’s something worth railing against.

      1. But isn’t the state trying to force their non-evidentiary standard on these private schools because of their acceptance of the federally subsidized student loans? One dollar from the state, and they think they should control everything.

        1. If the state mandated that the universities have a non-evidentiary standard, then that would be state action under Section 1983.

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