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We Need to Talk About Black Students Being Accused of Rape Under Title IX

What to make of the fact that students of color are far more likely to be accused of sexual misconduct?

StudentHongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang) / DreamstimeEmily Yoffe's three-part series on campus sexual assault in The Atlantic is so good that you should read all of it, but if you only read one paragraph, make it this one:

Colgate University was recently investigated by the Office for Civil Rights for potential race discrimination, a Title VI violation, in its sexual assault adjudication process. The university was cleared, in April, on the grounds that the numbers did not allow OCR to conclude that race was a statistically significant factor in Colgate's adjudications—in any given year the number of men of any race referred for formal hearings was in the single digits. (The investigation does not appear to have examined any individual cases or otherwise reach beyond this statistical analysis.) But the report did bring those statistics to light, a rarity: In the 2013–14 academic year, 4.2 percent of Colgate's students were black. According to the university's records, in that year black male students were accused of 50 percent of the sexual violations reported to the university, and they made up 40 percent of the students formally adjudicated.

The emphasis is mine.

As best we can tell, Colgate isn't an outlier. Yoffe notes that male students of color are "vastly overrepresented in the cases I've tracked." Harvard University Law Professors Janet Halley and Jeannie Suk, who pay attention to Title IX cases and have written about the lack of due process for accused students, share this impression. I do as well.

Left-leaning victim advocacy groups must at least be aware that college investigations are racially problematic. But they seldom acknowledge this. In fact, the people behind the major activist film about rape on campuses, The Hunting Ground, claimed the purpose of their movie was to undermine the "dominant white male power" that pervades the sexual assault crisis. But this is nonsense: as Yoffe notes, in at least three of the four sexual misconduct disputes featured in The Hunting Ground, the accused was a student of color.

In a piece for The Nation, Elizabeth Adetiba wonders whether "historical tropes of black men as threats to white women might have played a role in the troubled process." (Bizarrely, she also accused Yoffe of not considering the racial element of Title IX cases, which is flat-out wrong. I presume she did not read the third-part in the series; in any case, I tweeted at The Nation requesting a correction.)

We know these tropes: in less progressive times, black men were thought to be more sexually aggressive and unable to control themselves. These are false, malicious, racist assumptions, and history is full of examples of black men being wrongfully railroaded by white accusers who had some incentive to lie. Emmett Till, a black teenager, was murdered in 1955 after a white woman claimed—falsely—that he made advances toward her. Famous works of literature like To Kill a Mockingbird and A Passage to India involve people of color being wrongfully accused of rape by white women.

Is this what's happening on campus? We don't know. Maybe the numbers are imbalanced because administrators are failing to act on a number of cases involving accused white students—which would suggest the Title IX system is racially biased—or sexual encounters involving non-white men are being reported to campus authorities, but would not have been reported had the male student been white. The alleged victim need not be a racist, because the Title IX process does not require the alleged victim to be the one filing the complaint. Consider the case of Grant Neal, a black athlete accused of sexually abusing a white woman, even though both of them agreed their sex was consensual.

The point is this: people on the left generally believe—correctly—the efficacy of the criminal justice system is affected by racial bias. Many of the most progressive leftists also think campuses are especially racist places, given all the students chalking #Trump2016 (a more dubious assertion in my view.) Why then do they think it's such a stretch to suggest that Title IX, a powerful mechanism for settling scores, could be weaponized against vulnerable populations: black and immigrant students?

Photo Credit: Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang) / Dreamstime

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  • damikesc||

    While tragic, I don't view a total miscarriage of justice as being worse due to the skin color of the accused. If no black student was nailed, it'd still be horrible.

  • chemjeff||

    It is simply one more reason why the Campus Rape Witchhunt is such a bad idea.

  • jb2227||

    I agree with your position, however it's hugely ironic that a black president so intent on justice would impose
    what is different version of Jim Crow on young black men.

  • Trollificus||

    Egg-zackly! If REASON contributors want to bail on fact-based positions and rational argument in favor of arguments based on the old Onion headline "World to End Tomorrow; Women, Minorities Hardest Hit", then screw REASON for letting itself be infected/infiltrated (I might say "adulterated" but the component :"adult" is inappropriate.).

  • chemjeff||

    Now now, Robby. I've been told that it is impermissible to talk about race here at Reason. To do so only indicates that Reason has been taken over by the progressive SJW set. The only exception when talking about race is permitted, is to accuse Democrats of being racist. But no other discussion is permitted. It is known!

  • ||

    Way to go to misrepresenting how people here view this subject.

    But you know. Progs are gonna prog.

  • chemjeff||

    "Way to go to misrepresenting how people here view this subject."

    Wait, you mean there is only one way that people here view the subject?

    "But you know. Progs are gonna prog."

    Who's the progressive? You? Me? Could it be that neither one of us is a progressive and yet we nevertheless don't see eye to eye on this issue?

  • ||

    No, the point is I've read several different opinions despite your attempts to claim there's one view.

    It's okay to disagree and that's the point here.

    In my view, progressives tend to exhibit the traits you claim people around here have regarding this issue.

  • chemjeff||

    And so correct me then. What is the "correct" way that a libertarian may discuss issues that may have a racial component to them?

  • ||

    I see, so you can't be anti-racist unless you are a progressive.
    Anyone who is anti-racist is a leftist who hates white people. Obviously.

  • Microaggressor||

    Nothing wrong with pointing out an observable disparate impact. But it's a leap of faith to attribute that outcome to racial bias. This is what makes Robby a True Believer.

  • SQRLSY One||

    MeThinks there is an utterly MASSIVE imbalance in how many males v/s how many females get charged with rape! This is CLEAR proof of how law enforcement and "society" are way-way biased against men of the He-Man, Y-chromosome persuasion!!!

    Also, in general, 14 times (1,400%) more men than women are in jails, prisons, etc. This needs fixed NOW! Let men out, and kangaroo-court the women, till it is all equal! (Has anyone "out there" ever been kangaroo-courted? What's it like, eh?)

  • Duke of url||

    I do believe I have.
    It was over merely possessing a lawfully purchased rifle.
    The police lied to a judge to get a warrant, stating among other prevarications, I was a felon, I wasn't.

    My defense witness, was 'asked' multiple times to not testify by the police union, and then a reporter called and told him the police requested they do a story disparaging him if he actually testified!
    He was a firearms expert, whom had sold me the gun, and was the mayor of the city at the time.

    Aside from disuading a witness, a juror came forward of their own volition, to let the judge know the prosecution witnesses (cops) were constantly discussing the case in front of the jurrors during recesses in the halls during the trial.

    I had several attorneys over the course of this nightmare, each of whom told me the police attempted to bully them and intimidate them into not properly defending me.
    Such as not making a motion for the exculpatory evidence they'd seized and destroyed prior to trial.

    All over a 60+ year old curio/ relic I had not even shot since last century.
    The police assembled it in a technically "non compliant way", for 'ease of transportation' ( prosecution).
    After two expensive trials, I was finally found not guilty.
    I learned the prosecution must never allow a fair trial.

  • SQRLSY One||

    And this is in the land of the free, and the home of the brave...

    Wow! What a police state! Let me guess: New Jersey?

    PS: Did you try to get at least a little "revenge", by getting the local media to cover all this? Or is that locally a lost cause?

  • Duke of url||

    Close, California.
    Absolutely lost cause.
    Thank God for Jury trials. If you can afford the luxury.

  • DajjaI||

    Black people are over represented in the law enforcement and military, and thus they willingly sacrificed their own children upon the altar of their career ambitions. Then Black Lives Matter came along and said "enough - we're not gonna take it any more!"
    Then there was a resurgence in Title IX, but this will fail too. Sorry!

  • ||

    Something, something...unintended consequences....something. Laws and rules that come by way of faulty premises can get, you know, messy.

  • SIV||

    "White male privilege is a license to rape"

  • Trollificus||

    Wish I'd known. I apparently wasted an _awful_ lot of time on seduction, persuasion and lube. Though just my luck I'd flunk the test on those tricky "How far must you park from the "Rape Victim" sign?" questions, or "Which way must your cock be turned when raping downhill? Uphill?"

  • Longtobefree||

    "in any given year the number of men of any race referred for formal hearings was in the single digits."
    So to get to 50% we just need one black male, and one 'other than black' male.

    Oh, I just realized it was Robby - - - - never mind.

    The real story of course being the 'disproportionate impact' of Title IX against males of all races. I have not read a single story about Title IX accusations against a female unless she was trying to tell the truth about a Title IX abuse.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    True, but the people pushing these policies don't give a fuck about males. Hell, some of them are misandrist assholes who like it that way. I'm guessing that this story is an attempt to get them to pay attention by drawing their attention to the impact on an identity group they purportedly care about. It will fail of course. For all of their posturing they don't give a fuck about blacks--especially black men--either.

  • Microaggressor||

    I'm still trying to figure out the oppression hierarchy.
    Muslim rape gangs get swept under the rug, but blacks aren't afforded the same protection. Does that mean blacks are less oppressed than Muslims?

  • Paloma||

    It kind of disrupts their narrative. Supposedly these are women and administration officials who are "woke" to male privilege and rape culture. Now THEY have to admit to either racism and white privilege, or admit their propaganda about 1 in 5 women is a victim of sexual assault is wrong. And actually both these things can be false, but they can't both be true.

  • Brian||

    I called this years ago:

    I know of one rape accusation I college, and the event makes me more worried for black men than women. Seriously.

    A white woman I knew (let's call her Barbara) was just progressive and enlightened enough to be willing to enjoy some African man meat, but not quite enough of a diversity fan to actually admit it in public.

    So, when her black partner in coupling started bragging to everyone, she was too embarrassed to admit it. In her brilliance, the solution she came up with was (you guessed it): "I was raped!"

    Next thing you know, she's getting her ass kicked in a restroom by the black guy's sister, who knows her brother better than that.

    Have progressives accurately estimated the number of black men's lives they're going to ruin trying to better protect women? I already know that the feminists don't care.
  • ||

    I imagine stories just like this completely explain the statistics in the article. BTW you don't have to be black, just someone she isn't proud to have slept with.

  • BYODB||

    This is basically my opinion as well, in that these Progressive White Protector Women are all for things like equal rights and interracial sex and marriage until they actually come into contact with it in their personal life. I'm of the opinion that the Progressives are projecting their own insecurities and racism onto everyone else, since I've never come across a group that's as racist and bigoted as Progressives while being almost entirely unable to see it in themselves.


    It's the rhetorical equivalent of wearing a sheet over your face to hide your identity.

  • Vernon Depner||

    There is a decades-long tradition of "progressive" white women in this country using Black men for sex and stud service but then rejecting them as permanent partners in favor of white men. A Black man who dares to assert any power in such a relationship can end up in a jail cell.

  • MSimon||

    Alpha fux. Beta bucks.

  • Presskh||

    Yep, Gloria Steinem sure enjoyed her dark meat but didn't want a permanent relationship.

  • Paloma||

    Does Emmit Till ring a bell?

  • MSimon||

    No.

    But grocery till does.

  • Number 2||

    You know, if we only had ever elected an African-American male as President, I am sure he would have put an end to this sort of racial disparity!

    Hey wait a minute...

  • Suckin' Seed||

    not black enough

  • Longtobefree||

    Only half way there - - - -

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Left-leaning victim advocacy groups must at least be aware that college investigations are racially problematic.

    The Social Justice System has chosen its pecking order of victimization and racial did not come out on top.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Real Talk: it's less of a "system" and more just a bunch of idiot birds flapping randomly from one tree to another, ad nauseam, for reasons knowable only to whichever bird is currently tweeting the loudest.

  • Brian||

    It's almost like they never watched To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Azathoth!!||

    This needs to be screamed--

    "in any given year the number of men of any race referred for formal hearings was in the single digits."

    So to get to 50% we just need ONE black male, and ONE 'other than black' male.

    Screamed.

    At MOST we are talking about 4.5 people. MOST.

    I include that .5 for a reason--trying to use this to create a 'race issue' is insane. The numbers are too low for there to be any real disparity of impact. With numbers this low, there aren't enough racial options to show a racial preference at all.

    But that won't stop the social justice crew from leeching on and riding this farce for every ounce of outrage they can get--we've already got people pining for the ability to take the proper levels of offense--and one who 'called' this non-event because they were 'worried for black men'.

    Every day I think, 'it can't get any worse'--and then reason finds new depths to plumb.

  • BYODB||

    It's Robby, he's our resident social justice warrior who will use any rhetorical device to further his arguments no matter how intellectually devoid of merit.

    I assume at some point he just said 'fuck it, I'm using their tactics against them' which is the equivalent of wrestling a pig in the mud. After a while, you start to get the feeling that the pig enjoys it.

  • Longtobefree||

    After a while, you start to get the feeling that the pig enjoys it.

    But you still need continuing verbal consent - - - - - -

  • OGREtheTroll||

    "We need to talk about..."

    Do we Robby? Do we really NEED to? I'm not even bothering to read the article now just out of principle. Because if we aren't banging then I'm not talking about jack shit unless I want to.

  • Cloudbuster||

    In the 2013–14 academic year, 4.2 percent of Colgate's students were black. According to the university's records, in that year black male students were accused of 50 percent of the sexual violations reported to the university, and they made up 40 percent of the students formally adjudicated.

    ....

    We know these tropes: in less progressive times, black men were thought to be more sexually aggressive and unable to control themselves. These are false, malicious, racist assumptions, and history is full of examples of black men being wrongfully railroaded by white accusers who had some incentive to lie.

    Hahahaha. Poor Robby. It has to be because racism, because if it's just that black men commit more rapes, then the entire progressive narrative falls apart.

  • Trollificus||

    "...if it's just that black men commit more rapes, then the entire progressive narrative falls apart."

    They do and it does. This is the altar on which the Progs sacrificed logic, facts, proportion and, basically, all normal (or 'normative' if you'd prefer) human relationships. They gained a lot from this cornerstone: an undeniable purity test, semiotic vagueness, that whole "all relationships are power relationships" thing, a clear rejection of logic and science as phallologocentric tools of the oppressor class, and entertaining* new definitions of racism, gender, consent, rape, etc., etc.

    The really sad part is people like Soave making the move to disavow intellectual honesty-"NO, if someone notes that black males really DO commit more of a certain type of crime, this does not mean ALL black males." "NO! If we DON'T say "all black males" it does not mean NO black males." "Past misrepresentations do not invalidate actual, real crime statistics just because Robbie doesn't have the courage to face them."

    *-entertaining as in "amusing", not "considering"

  • juris imprudent||

    Why then do they think it's such a stretch to suggest that...

    Intentions Robby, intentions. Once you start asking progs to look at results, they just sorta freeze up. That is what cognitive dissonance looks like in a prog, and why they will fight all attempts to move the discussion off of what they intended.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Blacks are the accused in 50% of the complaints, but in only 40% of the adjucated cases. Either the admins are filtering out a lot of obviously nonsense complsints against black students or they making decisions to adjudicate in favor of blacks based on race. In any case, the high rate of blacks being caught up in this sppears to be based on what the people making the complaints are motivated by, but ny itself thhe statistics are necessarily a sign of racism.

  • Bearded Spock||

    I don't see why anyone would be surprised by this. Whenever the .gov and its divers subdivisions declare War on Anything the greatest number of casualties are among minority males, even though the original targets were White Males.

    The War on Drugs was supposed to punish those snotty hippies. The
    War on Guns was supposed to eliminate those redneck militias. The War on Rape is supposed to bring those arrogant rich frat boys to justice.

    In every case, it's black men who get hit the hardest. It's almost as if the Progs intended it that way.

  • Sigivald||

    The National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act weren't aimed at militias.

    Hell, "gun control" was from the start explicitly about disarming uppity blacks during Reconstruction, and just kept going - the new thing there is targeting white people.

  • gah87||

    Well, damn... it didn't work very well in either case.

  • Brandybuck||

    No white girl would ever lie about being raped by a black student.

  • ||

    "Left-leaning victim advocacy groups must at least be aware that college investigations are racially problematic. But they seldom acknowledge this. In fact, the people behind the major activist film about rape on campuses, The Hunting Ground, claimed the purpose of their movie was to undermine the "dominant white male power" that pervades the sexual assault crisis. But this is nonsense: as Yoffe notes, in at least three of the four sexual misconduct disputes featured in The Hunting Ground, the accused was a student of color."

    Wait, do feminists use "the patriarchy" as scapegoat to further their own racist ends? Boy, I hope this is not a general thing, feminists masking what they want, having their cake and blaming the cakiarchy too.

  • jdgalt1||

    Beware the consequences of this kind of talk. I predict soon, some asshole, either in an individual school or in DC, will start imposing racial quotas on punishments. Which is nuts -- true justice is color blind, period.

  • GILMORE™||

    We Need to Talk About

    how dead this headline-formula is.

    Seriously. I can smell its rotting corpse through the screen. Even Upworthy + Thought Catalogue are looking at you and shaking their heads. Stop. You don't have to be a slave to cliche the rest of your life.

  • damikesc||

    Even Cracked is saying "There but for the grace of God go we..."

  • Sigivald||

    "No, we don't need to talk about this."

  • barfman2017||

    We need to talk about the odious phrase "of color". It's problematic.

  • Sigivald||

    "Look, otherwise how else can we pretend that the only Other is White People As We Define it, and get people to think that everyone who has vaguely brown or darker skin is One Obvious Bloc We Can Control?"

  • buybuydandavis||

    According to the university's records, in that year black male students were accused of 50 percent of the sexual violations reported to the university, and they made up 40 percent of the students formally adjudicated.

    So accused black students were less likely than average to have the accusations against them brought to adjudication. Hmmmm. Narrative fail.

    As best we can tell, Colgate isn't an outlier.

    "We didn't bother to look at any data, because facts are a tool of the white supremacist patriarchy to keep the brothers down."

  • Trollificus||

    "accused black students were less likely than average to have the accusations against them brought to adjudication. "

    Scholarship Athlete Privilege, not entirely race-based. Or current..

    Along with Big Dick Privilege, Slam Dunk Privilege, Modest Academics Expectation Privilege, "You Certainly Dress Well For...You Certainly Are Well-spoken For a..uh...etc., etc"

  • Rubbish!||

    Odd picture to pair with the article because only men need to worry about rape by that guy.

  • Vernon Depner||

    "in less progressive times, black men were thought to be more sexually aggressive..."

    Have you ever actually spent any time around Black people, Robby? There most certainly are cultural differences regarding conduct towards women between Black American men and white American men, especially among those at college. Black men on the average are more sexually overt and demonstrative towards women. Many young white women find that appealing—up to a point. Problems can arise when white women and Black men have differing ideas about where the line is between being sexually forward and sexual aggression. That miscommunication can be worsened when unconscious racist attitudes on the part of the women cause them not to take Black men seriously enough, or to assume they have more power in the relationship than they really do.

    The growing conflict between white feminists and Black men is an underreported story.

  • Texasmotiv||

    "Less progressive times"

    Little quiz:
    What year was 'to kill a mockingbird' set? -1933
    Who was the president in 1933?
    -FDR
    When did Jim Crow laws get inacted?
    -during the progressive era.
    Which president segregated the federal workforce?
    -Woodrow Wilson, progressive.

    Progressives have a legacy of enacting policies that hurt minorities. This legacy continues today. I don't know how many times you can trust someone's good intentions when they are repeatedly slapping you in the face or burning down your house, so to speak.

  • Bill Adams||

    History is full of examples of racial frameups, but citing works of literature is just dumb padding. You could cite works of literature in which all men of color are slavering rapists. So what? Fiction is fiction.

  • Mark22||

    Left-leaning victim advocacy groups must at least be aware that college investigations are racially problematic. ... We know these tropes: in less progressive times, black men were thought to be more sexually aggressive and unable to control themselves. These are false, malicious, racist assumptions,

    I suggest reading the psychology literature before wallowing in social justice outrage. In actual fact, there are significant differences in aggression and impulse control by race. To be clear, they are probably caused by culture rather than genetics (destruction of the African American family and all that), but that doesn't make them any less relevant for outcomes.

    And if psychology is too icky for your, Gonorrhea and chlamydia rates among black males are 25 times higher than among white males; it would be truly surprising if this wasn't reflected by Title IX statistics. Rape convictions are also disproportionate.

    and history is full of examples of black men being wrongfully railroaded by white accusers who had some incentive to lie

    And how is that relevant? Are the Title IX complaints against black males primarily from white women or from black women? Again, how about you stop fabricating outrage and stick to documented facts, Robby?

  • Longtobefree||

    Please don't ask Robby to deal with facts. It's just rude.

  • zach oriana||

    > black men were thought to be more sexually aggressive and unable to control themselves. These are false, malicious, racist assumptions

    Actually these are not false. Increased levels of melanin have been linked to higher rates of aggression, including sexual aggression: http://sci-hub.cc/10.1016/j.tree.2008.06.001

    Also, even after controlling for SES, blacks have less self control than whites: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.....x/abstract

  • mysmartstuffs||

    Something, something...unintended consequences....something. Laws and rules that come by way of faulty premises can get, you know, messy.
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  • mysmartstuffs||

    It's almost like they never watched To Kill a Mockingbird.
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