I’ve just finished The Campus Rape Frenzy, by K. C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr. The subtitle – The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities – should dash any false hopes that this book is a STEVE SMITH adventure. It’s about how the federal government forced – or probably the right word is egged on – colleges to provide inadequate hearings for male students accused of sexual misconduct.
The usual scenario is that Bob
two hypothetical students at Hypothetical U, both drink a lot of booze, then get together and have sex.
Later, sometimes much later, Betty decides that she was raped and, after failing to persuade the real-world judicial system of the reality of the crime (or neglecting to report the alleged crime to the real-world judicial system at all), takes the case to the campus “justice” system.
In the name of being Tough on Rapists, the federal government – invoking the anti-sex-discrimination statute, Title IX – has encouraged the campus SJWs who were already pressing for making campus “courts” accuser-friendly. The campus “judges” are students, administrators and faculty who have been trained to view accusers sympathetically and to be on the lookout for those predatory rapists responsible for 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 coeds getting sexually assaulted. These “judges” are warned that the idea of large numbers of false accusations is a myth, and “only” 2%-8% of accused men are actually innocent. These statistics are phony, as the authors show.
Never mind, though – combined with the “judges'” training is their ability to ignore many traditional due-process restraints on their power, restraints which might allow the accused man to throw a wrench or two in the accusation. The “courts” can put the defendant on trial on really short notice, they can limit his right to cross-examine the accuser, invoke the assistance of a lawyer, or present evidence in his own favor (there’s a lot of cases where the texts the “victim” sent at the time of the “rape” are not consistent with the behavior of the victim of such a crime, but the “judges” aren’t always interested in seeing these texts).
Sometimes the trial is conducted by one person hired by the college to conduct and investigation and reach a verdict, without holding a full-dress hearing in front of both parties as in traditional Anglo-American trials. The judge/investigator just interviews the witnesses, gives the accused a (perhaps incomplete) summary of what the witnesses said, and then reaches a verdict.
It almost gets to be like the old joke of the judge who didn’t want to hear the other side because hearing both sides tended to confuse him.
The bottom line is Bob is branded a rapist and suspended or expelled. It’s kind of hard for him to get another college to accept him, and many employers, seeing that the guy was branded a rapist, will be like “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
So if Bob or his family has enough money he can sue, and maybe win or maybe lose. But any victory, while it benefits Bob, doesn’t necessarily benefit the next guy who comes along accused of rape in the Kampus Kangaroo Kourt.
And if there actually was a rape? In that case only the real-world justice system can impose the prison sentence needed to keep the rapist away from the public for term of years. Throwing an actual rapist out of college and out onto the streets seems a tad lenient, and not entirely safe.
Johnson and Taylor have all sorts of perfectly sensible ideas for reform, but I want to focus on one idea they reject.
Johnson and Taylor indicate that it might be desirable to discourage students from getting drunk and screwing. This might annoy Jimmy Buffett (NSFW), as well as the “don’t blame the victim – teach rapists not to rape” crowd. But such discouragement is a good idea as far as it goes. Rape accusations flourish, as a practical matter, in vaguely-remembered encounters which may be regretted once sober, adding to which is how easy it is (according to university regulations) for alcohol to make consent to sex irrelevant. And current dogma means that if both Bob and Betty are drunk when they have sex, Bob is raping Betty but not vice versa. How colleges reconcile this doctrine with Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination is unclear, but that’s how the system operates.
But Johnson and Taylor don’t go all the way (so to speak). They frown on drunken sex, but they scoff at the idea of discouraging student sex in general. They acknowledge that, given the kind of cases which lead to these “he said/she said” controversies, a good survival strategy might be “celibacy,” but the authors dismiss this as a “nonstarter” which “few will find appealing.” College students in the past – often from necessity – often managed not to rut like bunnies while pursuing their studies, but I suppose the idea is that we’re a more sophisticated, liberated, non-taboo-having, healthier people today.
What if colleges simply stopped encouraging student sex? That could make moot the question of how to handle drunken hookups by their students.
Don’t mistake my meaning – I am speaking of the separation of college and sex, not the abolition of sex itself, although of course as you know abolishing sex is the ultimate objective of the Catholic conspiracy.
Colleges can only do so much, and training the horniness out of its students is something which is beyond their capacity. But that doesn’t mean a college should provide boinking facilities for its students. No using dorms as sleepover facilities, fraternity would-be orgies, etc.
When I worked as a student dormitory assistant, checking students into and out of their rooms, I felt like the clerk at a sleazy hotel. My job wasn’t to keep the guys out of the girls’ rooms or vice versa, but to make sure they left their student IDs at my office before going upstairs for their…whatever it was they did (probably not canasta).
Did colleges put up with this sort of thing in the past? No – although students weren’t any less horny than today. College education wasn’t as near-universal as now, you needed some money or enough talent to get a scholarship, but if you had one of these qualifications there were plenty of institutions to choose from. But generally, the colleges at least made an effort to keep the students on the straight and narrow.
Mandatory chapel. Curfews. If the college admitted women (not a given), then there was separation between the sexes, and social events needed chaperones.
Most students wouldn’t put up with that today. But that’s all right, most students don’t need to be at a modern residential college.
We’re in a situation where colleges and universities ought to downsize anyway. A four-year sojourn at a residential college (often involving indebtedness and fairly sketchy post-college plans for promptly paying off that indebtedness) is not an essential part of every young person’s life, if it ever was.
There are some career paths which may require studying at a residential college, some career paths which may call for online education (dropping by the local public library for proctored exams), and some career paths which may call for a good high school education (where it can be found) and/or an apprenticeship.
And there are some people who may still go in for a liberal arts education as defined by Cardinal Newman – learning for its own sake, including the things associated with being a learned person, including theology, the “queen of the sciences.”
In each of these situations, the college can separate itself from enabling its students’ sex lives.
If a student is working on his or her online degree while holding down a job, then their college life and social life will run on separate tracks, for the most part, or if they get together with other students it will be off campus and they’ll have signed all sorts of forms that the college won’t be liable for broken hearts, broken bones, disease, death, etc., resulting from independently developing relationships with other students.
Or if students are taking one of those intensive courses of study which requires a residential program, they should be warned to do their foolishness (if any) while they’re off campus.
And at least in theory, nontraditional-age students supplementing their education, often online or through occasional visits to campus for class purposes, will have homes of their own and any kinkiness they do will be in those homes (and they should ask their spouses first, if any).
And for those few liberal-arts residential colleges which survive the coming shakeup of higher education – those colleges should be unashamedly elitist, recruiting students who are actually committed to a course of study, with socializing with the other sex limited to chaperoned activities like in earlier times.
(If a young man and woman meet at a residential college (or before going) and decide to get married, then of course after their marriage the college should put them in married-student housing.)
I guess the one downside to my scheme would be that it would force the SJW “student life” bureaucrats to get other work.