Aug 042015
 

Safe Campus Act Opponent Attacks Due Process

Charlotte Hays
August 3, 2015
We’ve already blogged on the Safe Campus Act, which was put forth by four GOP House members and which seeks to promote two imperatives: justice for victims of sexual assault and due process for those who are accused. Justice requires both, given that sometimes people are unjustly accused to sexual assault. We don’t like to think about it, but false accusations do happen.

The Examiner’s Ashe Schow has an article on an opponent of the Save Campus Act:

An opponent of a new bill aimed at providing due process rights to students accused of sexual assault disparaged the thought of such constitutional rights because schools “must prioritize the needs of survivors first and foremost.”
That’s all well and good, but one does not know whether someone is truly a “survivor” unless his or her story can hold up to scrutiny, something deliberately absent from current campus hearings. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Sarah Merriman, a spokeswoman for SAFER Campus, who told the Washington Post why she opposes the “Safe Campus Act.”
“American college culture often paints rape on campus as a youthful indiscretion instead of the deliberate violent act that it is, and it is not the survivor’s job to ‘save’ the assaulter from criminal prosecution,” Merriman said. “Though there are many college faculty and administrators that have the best interests of their students at heart, SAFER cannot agree that leaving judicial proceedings, and especially the standard of evidence, completely up to the school is best written into law.”
First of all, I’ve never met anybody who saw rape as “a youthful indiscretion.” Have you? It is despicable to paint people who believe in due process as oblivious to the horrendous reality of rape. But we see a lot of this kind of arguing nowadays: simply paint those who disagree with you as monsters and that’s half the battle.

Second, the Safe Campus Act does not attempt to “save the assaulter from criminal prosecution.” Rather it seeks to determine whether the accused is indeed guilty before punishing him (and it is generally a him). Is that too complex for Ms. Merriman to grasp? Punish guilty, not innocent. This is not exactly an abstruse concept.

Many activists such as Ms. Merriman want to leave the handling of rape, a crime, up to college tribunals instead of the legal process. They may believe that it is easier to declare somebody guilty if the a tribunal rather than the police and a judge handle the matter. They may also believe that going to the police can be harder than lodging a charge and having it considered by a tribunal. Both are probably true, but this does not mean that an accusation, which can ruin somebody’s life, should not not be investigated through the criminal justice system rather than a campus tribunal.

Schow writes:

Merriman claims that schools “want to preserve their perfect public image” by ignoring rape accusations. That may have been the case years ago, but the incentives have been flipped, and schools are now looking to expel students to prove to the Department of Education that they take sexual assault seriously. That witch hunt mentality has prompted more than 70 accused students to sue their schools for discrimination.
Merriman suggests that schools don’t need due process because “survivors” (using the term based solely on accusations and without evidence) have it rough.
“We are not at a point to analyze ‘due process,’ when many survivors are publicly shamed on their campuses, when charges against assaulters can be dismissed out of hand by administrators, when an assaulter is allowed to sit across from a survivor and shout down their story,” Merriman said.
We are exactly at a point to analyze due process when many accused students are publicly shamed on their campuses (even after they have been found “not responsible” by their schools and police investigations), when the word of an accuser is taken at face value despite evidence to the contrary and when accused students (Merriman calls them “assaulters,” again, without evidence) aren’t allowed to meaningfully cross-examine an accuser who may be lying.
Schow concludes:

If opponents of the bill, like Merriman, think due process is such a hindrance to justice, why aren’t they calling for its removal.
Please. Don’t give them any ideas.

Source: http://www.iwf.org/blog/2797783/Safe-Campus-Act-Opponent-Attacks-Due-Process#sthash.GNttPX3Z.dpuf

Aug 042015
 

Campus Rape Expert Can’t Answer Basic Questions about His Sources

Linda LeFauve
July 28, 2015

David Lisak’s serial predator theory of campus rape has made him a celebrity. Once a virtually unknown associate professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, his work is now cited by White House officials and reporters for major newspapers.
His influence is evident in the recent documentary The Hunting Ground, and the producers continue to promote his work along with their film. In Jon Krakauer’s new book, Missoula, about sexual assault at the University of Montana, Lisak’s name appears more than 100 times.

Much of the urgency around the topic of sexual assault on college campuses traces back to Lisak’s repeated claim that campus offenders are violent sociopaths who use “sophisticated strategies to groom” their targets and “terrify and coerce their victims into submission.” Lisak asserts that 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders who average six rapes each. He has said that “every report should be viewed and treated as an opportunity to identify a serial rapist.”

Yet for all the attention paid to David Lisak, the problematic paper on which his fame rests has been left largely unscrutinized. And as it turns out, the paper relies on survey data not collected by Lisak, with no direct connection to campus sexual assault.

“Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists” was published in 2002 in the journal Violence and Victims. Lisak has recently encouraged the impression that he conducted the research himself.

He did not. The paper was based on pooled data from four studies conducted by others on his campus between 1991 and 1998. I spoke with Lisak in March of this year. When I asked about those studies, he first said he was unable to remember their topics, then that they “may have been about child abuse history or relationships with parents.” I asked whether they were about campus sexual assault; he conceded they were not.

Asked who the investigators of those previous studies were, he again said he was unable to recall but, when prompted, acknowledged his co-author, Paul Miller, as the lead investigator of two of them, conducted while Miller was a master’s and then doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. I asked if the others were also Lisak’s doctoral students during that time. “Yes, probably,” he said.

It is not unheard of for a researcher to repurpose data from other studies. It was, however, unusual to hear a researcher so vague about his subject matter and authorship.

The survey instrument used to collect the data on sexual assault was the Abuse Perpetration Inventory. This is a long, detailed, and graphic instrument created by Lisak. There are seven pages of items that ask about childhood experiences of a sexually and physically violent nature. There are only five questions that ask respondents about sexual violence they, as adults, may have committed on other adults.

There were 1,882 subjects in the pooled data, men ranging in age from 18 to 71. Assuming they reflected the demographics of the university, most would have been part-time students, many of whom would also be holding down jobs away from campus. All would have been commuters.

Among these men, 120 had engaged in actions that meet the legal definition of rape or attempted rape, based on responses to an anonymous survey they completed. (Subsequently, Lisak refers to them all as rapists, although he does not indicate how many he’d classified as rapists and how many as attempted rapists.) Of those 120 men, 76 met Lisak’s definition of multiple offenders.

Lisak told me that he subsequently interviewed most of them. That was a surprising claim, given the conditions of the survey and the fact that he was looking at the data produced long after his students had completed those dissertations; nor were there plausible circumstances under which a faculty member supervising a dissertation would interact directly with subjects. When I asked how he was able to speak with men participating in an anonymous survey for research he was not conducting, he ended the phone call.

(Lisak did not respond directly to Reason’s repeated requests for follow-up interviews, nor did his co-author, Paul Miller. Reason’s Robby Soave spoke with Jim Hopper, the author of one of the four surveys on which Lisak’s 2002 study was based. Read that story: “How an Influential Campus Rape Study Skewed the Debate.”)

Two points bear emphasis:

The basis of Lisak’s 13-year old paper was not his own research but data collected as part of one student’s master’s thesis and three dissertations, none of which were about campus sexual assault.
The most widely quoted figures—that 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders and that they average six rapes each—were calculated on a total of 76 non-traditional students who were not living on a college campus, and whose offenses may or may not have happened on or near a college campus, may or may not have been perpetrated on other students, and may have happened at any time in the survey respondents’ adult lives.
In March, when I pointed to the differences between the men in Lisak’s paper and the student population on which his popular campus presentations focus, Lisak responded: “Are you asking if there are comprehensive studies about sexual offenders on traditional college campuses? No, there aren’t.” Yet this is exactly how Lisak’s work has been treated.

Even the serial nature of the assaults reported in Lisak’s paper is speculation, since he did not distinguish between multiple offenses committed against multiple victims and multiple offenses committed against one victim. In fact, when asked about the high number of assaults by individuals who allegedly remained “undetected” by law enforcement, Lisak stated that “a number of these cases were domestic violence,” i.e., ongoing abuse in intimate partnerships, including marriages.

This is an important revelation. Even a single rape is abhorrent. Even one woman, victimized multiple times, endures trauma. But campus training and government policy, citing Lisak, are being built around presumptions of serial, predatory behavior from most campus rapists, a fact not established in the data and potentially contradicted by Lisak’s own characterization of the men included in his paper

The high rate of other forms of violence reported by the men in Lisak’s paper further suggests they are an atypical group. Of the 120 subjects Lisak classified as rapists, 46 further admitted to battery of an adult, 13 to physical abuse of a child, 21 to sexual abuse of a child, and 70—more than half the group—to other forms of criminal violence. By itself, the nearly 20 percent who had sexually abused a child should signal that this is not a group from whom it is reasonable to generalize findings to a college campus.
Yet in spite of the peripheral relationship between his research and college campuses, Lisak has called for draconian action against students accused of sexual assault: “These men,” he has said of “undetected rapists” and “serial sexual predators…cannot be reached or educated. They must be identified and removed from our communities.” His justification appears to rest on three assertions.

The first is that these men are “undetected” and thus able to continue a relentless pursuit of new victims.

That none of the men in his paper had been charged with sexual assault has never been established. In fact, as he stated in his paper, in order to “avoid evoking defensive reactions in participants,” the survey specifically did not ask that question. Rather, “overwhelming evidence” of the hidden nature of subjects’ criminal activity is offered via separate studies which found incarcerated serial rapists committed more assaults than they’d been charged with by police. That is, Lisak uses confessions of convicted rapists as evidence for his assumption that the men in his paper had never been charged or prosecuted.

The second assertion is that these men prey on vulnerable women in a campus environment where “alcohol is the basic weapon of choice.”

There is, in fact, no foundation for the connection between Lisak’s paper and higher education. This point cannot be emphasized enough: Nothing about the studies from which he repurposed data depended on survey respondents being students, or acts they reported taking place while in college. Nothing in the research protocol indicates prospective respondents were even asked whether they were students when they agreed to complete very personal surveys in exchange for $3. There is not a single statement in the paper about assaults taking place on or near a campus; there is not a single reference to the campus environment.

Instead, Lisak’s research questions were more general. Prompted by studies of incarcerated rapists, he and his co-author wondered if “a substantial number of undetected rapists rape more than once” and if they were likely to have committed other kinds of violence as well. That he was speaking of the wider community, and not college campuses, is made particularly clear by the language he used when speculating about how such assaults remain under the radar:

Given the number of interpersonal crimes being committed by these men, how is it that they are escaping the criminal justice system? …These rapists create “cases” that victims are least likely to report, and that prosecutors are less likely to prosecute.

“These men,” “criminal justice system,” and “prosecutors” have now been seamlessly replaced by “college students,” “college campuses,” and “university officials” when David Lisak discusses his work, his 2002 paper now presented as though it has obvious applicability to the campus environment. Even his own disclaimer in the paper—”because of the non-random nature of the sampling procedures, the reported data cannot be interpreted as estimates of the prevalence of sexual and other acts of violence”—has given way to explicit assignment of the serial perpetrator role to male college students and the setting to the college campus.

The third assertion undergirding Lisak’s recommended policy is his claim that this is a monstrous subset of college men likely to include batterers, child abusers, and perpetrators of all manner of violence.

However, the kinds of violence perpetrated by the men in Lisak’s paper, far from providing evidence of additional hidden criminal activity among college men, demonstrate instead that his findings are not appropriately generalized to the college campus. To do so is to accept not only that serial predators are stalking fellow students but that, for example, nearly a fifth of them have sexually abused children as well.

In spite of all these issues, sweeping changes are being made. The Department of Education’s 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on campus sexual violence outlined actions colleges must take when an accusation of assault is made. Among its provisions, it confers an obligation addressing recurrence. As Christina Hoff Sommers wrote in an article this past January, “The Dear Colleague letter tacitly assumes the truth of Lisak’s predator theory. So it rules discretion out of order and mandates strict legal procedures and harsh punishments.”

Organizations such as Security on Campus have popped up to help students file complaints based on the Clery Act’s “timely warning” provision (by which colleges must alert all members of the campus community if there are immediate threats to their safety), citing Lisak’s paper as evidence that any accusation of sexual assault carries with it an ongoing danger to other students.

When I asked him to comment on these cases, Lisak labeled it “sloppy thinking” and said that he “can’t be held accountable for what campuses do.” Emily Yoffe, in a well-researched article last December, provided multiple examples of campus disciplinary decisions fueled by Lisak’s specious conclusions. Given his influence, it is especially troubling to hear Lisak’s callous dismissal of responsibility for how his paper and presentations are used.

Asked to comment on his influence with the Department of Education, particularly the Dear Colleague letter, he repeated that he is not accountable to them. “Show me,” he said, “show me where it states ‘Dr. Lisak says…'”

Yet when he organized last year’s Summit on Sexual Assault, he included Catherine Lhamon of the Department of Education as a keynote speaker and applauded the Dear Colleague letter in his own address, saying “we need to thank the Department of Education for firing a shot across the bow of higher education.” He continues to advise colleges on enacting policies to meet their Title IX obligations with respect to campus assault.

To be clear: No one has suggested that rape is a uniquely one-off crime. There are serial rapists just as there are serial murderers and career psychopaths. There are also people who commit a criminal act one time under a particular set of circumstances. To attach the presumption of multiple undetected offenses based on research limited in both scope and subject pool is unwarranted. To suggest that college women are in such mortal danger from sociopathic predators disguised as fellow students that due process is a luxury campuses can ill afford is unconscionable.

Did David Lisak find a group of repeat offenders on which to base his 2002 paper? He did, or at least the students who conducted the original research did: 76 men with violent histories who happened to be on or near a college campus enrolling non-traditional, part-time students. They reported behavior with no reference to their status as students, no reference to other students as victims, and no reference to a campus as the scene of the crime.

In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe this past February, Harvey Silverglate called the campus rape panic the most recent “of the many runaway social epidemics in our nation’s history that have ruined innocent lives and corrupted justice.” This time, the panic is traceable to a particularly flawed study that has become a star vehicle for one man and cast the more nuanced conclusions of other research into the shadows.
It is long past time to remove the spotlight. Campuses are training staff and implementing new policy to meet the federal mandate that they have a system for handling complaints related to sexual violence with little guidance from the Department of Education. They are relying on Lisak and other questionable research to find their way.

The higher education community might be best served by doing what it is uniquely positioned to do: Read the original paper. Critically consider whether every accusation represents such dire danger to a campus community that the only prudent policy is to preemptively assume a pattern of offense. Act accordingly, and in the best interests of all students.

Linda M. LeFauve (lilefauve@davidson.edu) is Associate Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research at Davidson College.

(For more on this story, please see Robby Soave’s piece, “How an Influential Campus Rape Study Skewed the Debate.”)

Source: http://reason.com/archives/2015/07/28/campus-rape-statistics-lisak-problem/2

Aug 042015
 

More Evidence the Campus Rape Epidemic Is Overblown

D.C. McAllister
August 4, 2015

We’ve heard it over and over again: rape is epidemic on college campuses, and it’s being committed by sociopathic, serial rapists. “This cannot be emphasized enough,” says Amanda Marcotte at Slate. “The high rates of campus sexual assault are due mostly to a small percentage of men who assault multiple women.”

Al Jazeera reported that serial rapists commit 9 out of 10 campus sexual assaults, citing a 2002 study by psychologist David Lisak. The problem is, Lisak’s work has now been debunked. His study, as Linda LeFauve at Reason discovered, is seriously flawed, relying on survey data Lisak didn’t collect and having no direct connection to campus sexual assault.

“The basis of Lisak’s 13-year old paper was not his own research but data collected as part of one student’s master’s thesis and three dissertations, none of which were about campus sexual assault,” LaFauve writes. “The most widely quoted figures—that 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders and that they average six rapes each—were calculated on a total of 76 non-traditional students who were not living on a college campus, and whose offenses may or may not have happened on or near a college campus, may or may not have been perpetrated on other students, and may have happened at any time in the survey respondents’ adult lives.”

This Study Is a Big Deal
Lisak’s misleading work has formed the foundation for anti-due-process policies mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and President Obama’s January 2014 memo announcing the creation of White House task force to address rape and sexual assault on campus. Lisak has also influenced the controversial documentary “The Hunting Ground,” which asserts that the vast majority of campus sexual assaults are “highly calculated, premeditated crimes” committed by serial predators, not one-time drunken offenders or opportunists known to the victims.

Lisak’s misleading work has formed the foundation for anti-due-process policies mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Lisak’s work has inspired many to try to expose these sociopathic perpetrators on campus, the most infamous being Sabrina Rubin Erdely of Rolling Stone, who went so far as to publish a false story about several members of a fraternity at the University of Virginia who allegedly raped a woman known as “Jackie.” Rolling Stone later retracted the article after police found no evidence of rape and the Washington Post reported that Erdely’s story was “a complete crock.”

Three former members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity who were accused of raping “Jackie” have filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. They say the discredited article had a “devastating effect” on their lives and reputations. Now, Will Dana, the managing editor of Rolling Stone, is leaving the magazine. When asked if his departure is linked to the lawsuit and controversy surrounding Erdely’s false article, the magazine’s publisher said, “Many factors go into a decision like this.”

Much of the furor over sexual assault on campus that led to the Rolling Stone debacle and the damaged lives of three young men has roots in Lisak’s misleading work. As Robby Soave of Reason has written, “Prior to the widespread adoption of Lisak’s views, campus rape was often considered to fall into the supposedly less serious category of ‘date rape.’ Students who committed rape were assumed to be one-off offenders motivated by alcohol and circumstance into crossing blurry lines. But the 2002 study turned this thinking on its head by revisiting campus rapists as sociopaths inclined to commit violence over and over again. Abuse was in their nature, and reforming them was difficult.”

Federal Statistics Also Contradict Lisak’s Study
Since most campus rapists are now assumed to be serial predators, Lisak has advocated that colleges establish stronger measures to deal with the problem. “This logic makes some sense, but only if one accepts this interpretation of the research,” Soave writes. “Such thinking makes it much easier for administrators to justify the abridgment of due process rights for accused students, and to operate from the presumption that accused students are guilty—of a great number of rapes, no less.”

Most men who sexually assault women on college campuses aren’t serial rapists or sociopaths who can’t be reformed. Neither are they unknown to the victim.
This, of course, turns out to be false. Most men who sexually assault women on college campuses aren’t serial rapists or sociopaths who can’t be reformed. Neither are they unknown to the victim, as Lisak claimed in his paper. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 80 percent of college-age women who are victims of sexual assault know the offender. It’s not surprising that the same percentage refuse to report the events to the police.

According to the BJS, more than 90 percent of rapes and sexual assaults were committed by a single offender—not a group of offenders. Additionally, the often-quoted statistic that one in five women are victims of sexual assault on college campuses is bogus. The actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, making the real number 0.03 in 5.

As LeFauve writes, “Even a single rape is abhorrent. Even one woman, victimized multiple times, endures trauma.” But university and government policies, citing Lisak, are being built on the false notion that that sexual assault on college campuses are not part of a hook-up culture but the actions of serial rapists. Lisak has said that these “undetected rapists” must be “identified and removed from our communities.”

Instead of instituting draconian policies that target male students as possible serial predators, it’s time to put the mattresses back in the dorm rooms and consider real solutions to actual problems at our universities, including—first and foremost—the true nature of the hook-up culture, along with the radical secularization of the college campus and students taking responsibility for their own actions.

Source: http://thefederalist.com/2015/08/04/more-evidence-the-campus-rape-epidemic-is-overblown/

Aug 042015
 

Congress Introduces Second Campus Due Process Bill: The Fair Campus Act

Joseph Cohn
August 3, 2015

Last week, Congress introduced the the Safe Campus Act (H.R. 3403), a bill that would address campus sexual assault, while providing accused students meaningful due process protections. In another welcome development, a second bill, the Fair Campus Act (H.R. 3408), sponsored by Representatives Pete Sessions and Susan Brooks, was also introduced last week.

The Fair Campus Act differs from the Safe Campus Act in only one way. Under the Safe Campus Act, campuses are precluded from conducting disciplinary hearings regarding allegations of sexual assault unless the complainants report the allegation to law enforcement first. The Fair Campus Act does not include that provision.

Both bills would provide accusing and accused students with the right to hire lawyers to actively represent them in the campus hearings and the right to examine witnesses, and both bills would require institutions to make inculpatory and exculpatory evidence available to all parties. The bills would also reduce conflicts of interest by prohibiting individuals from playing multiple roles in the investigatory and adjudicatory process—preventing, for example, an investigator from serving as an adjudicator.

Another helpful provision in both bills would provide a safe harbor to students who either report or are witnesses to allegations of sexual assault made in good faith, so that they could not be disciplined by their institution for non-violent violations of the student code discovered as a result of investigations into the allegations. This provision will undoubtedly help students come forward with information, to everyone’s benefit.

In addition to these important provisions, each of the bills would repeal the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) misguided and unlawfully imposed preponderance of the evidence mandate, returning the decision as to which standard of proof to use in these cases to individual states, campus systems, or individual campuses.

For a more thorough analysis of the due process provisions in these bills, check out my blog post from last week on the Safe Campus Act.

FIRE is pleased that Congress is finally considering legislation that addresses campus sexual assault in a manner that takes the needs of all affected parties into account. One of our standing criticisms of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) is that it lacks the meaningful due process protections that fundamental fairness demands. The due process provisions of the Safe Campus Act and the Fair Campus Act are essential to ensuring that campus procedures are fair to all.

Reasonable minds may disagree as to how to best respond to campus sexual assault, but it is hard to ignore the consensus that the status quo is unacceptable. As I wrote last week, hopefully the best provisions of each of the campus sexual assault bills pending in Congress will be included in a final bill that comprehensively meets the needs of all students. The introduction of the Safe Campus Act and the Fair Campus Act are important steps towards realizing that goal.

Source: https://www.thefire.org/congress-introduces-second-campus-due-process-bill-the-fair-campus-act/

Aug 042015
 

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Gina Lauterio

Telephone: 301-801-0608

Email: glauterio@saveservices.org

 

SAVE Calls for the University of Minnesota to Abandon Proposed Affirmative Consent Policy for Sexual Assault

WASHINGTON / August 4, 2015 – SAVE, a national organization working to end campus sexual assault, is today calling on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to reject the affirmative consent sexual assault policy proposed by President Eric Kaler. SAVE warns that the draft policy will do nothing to stop intentional sexual assault. Instead, the policy would serve to trample on students’ freedom, privacy, and due process protections.

The policy would require students to follow an “affirmative consent” standard or face disciplinary action: http://policy.umn.edu/review/sexualassault-appa The Board of Regents will reconsider the proposed policy at its upcoming September board meeting, after the Board earlier halted the policy from going into effect in mid-July.

SAVE’s letter to the Board of Regents cautions that the policy contains numerous vague and unworkable provisions, and does not even define the term “sexual activity.” Most importantly, the proposed policy never specifies how consent is to be communicated. Students would be left without practical guidance as to what indicators are sufficient to obtain consent.

Affirmative consent policies have become the focus of national criticism and satire: The Sexual Train Wreck Behind Yes Means Yes, Heather Wilhelm, Real Clear Politics, July 9, 2015, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/07/09/the_sexual_train_wreck_behind_yes_means_yes_127304.html Journalist Ashe Schow concludes that under the proposed U of M standard, “anything the accuser decides later they didn’t like can become grounds for an accusation.” The proposed policy was the subject of a satirical Reason.com contest where readers were invited to submit entries to mock the policy.

SAVE also warns the Board of Regents that the policy would shift the burden of proof to the accused in any campus adjudicatory procedure, and the mere accusation could suffice as proof of sexual assault. This new procedure would violate the basic right that students have to the presumption of innocence.

“The sexual assault policy is what the University of Minnesota will use to determine whether students have committed serious crimes,“ notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “It is important that the policy is carefully vetted so that students and the campus adjudicatory panel are not left more confused as to what the university mandates.”

The full letter to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents can be found here: http://www.saveservices.org/2015/07/save-letter-to-university-of-minnesota-board-of-regents/

 

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments – SAVE — promotes evidence-based solutions to the problem of sexual assault: http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/

Aug 032015
 

Domestic Violence Case Involving Laremy Tunsil Dismissed

Chase Goodbread
August 3, 2015

The domestic violence case involving Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil was dismissed Monday, clearing the legal problems for one of college football’s elite offensive linemen.

However, potential NCAA problems still linger.
Tunsil and his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, agreed to drop domestic violence charges against one another, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, and signed dismissal forms last week. Still, the NCAA and Ole Miss are looking into allegations of rules violations levied by Miller in the aftermath of their altercation in June. Miller alleged that Tunsil received improper benefits from sports agents and during his recruitment by the school, either of which could jeopardize Tunsil’s playing eligibility. Miller said he met with an NCAA investigator shortly after the incident, and Ole Miss followed with a statement that it was looking into the matter, as well.

Rebels coach Hugh Freeze has been supportive of Tunsil in both the domestic violence case and regarding the allegations of improper benefits. Tunsil said he was acting in defense of his mother in the altercation with Miller, a claim which Freeze made public in a statement the day after Tunsil’s arrest. As for Miller’s allegations of NCAA violations, Freeze said last month at SEC Media Days that he is “very confident in the person Laremy is,” and indicated Tunsil’s eligibility remains intact for now.

The junior is generating interest from NFL scouts after just two years with the Rebels, and NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein rated Tunsil the top offensive tackle to watch in the college game this fall.

Source: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000505999/article/domestic-violence-case-involving-laremy-tunsil-dismissed

Aug 032015
 

There’s Nothing Academic About Campus Rape

Debra Saunders
August 3, 2015

“The price of a college education should never be the risk of a sexual assault,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told a Senate hearing Wednesday. Too many colleges don’t treat rape, she observed, as “the violent felony that it actually is.” Her solution is the bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act, or CASA, which would require college campuses to designate confidential advisers to victims of sexual assault and establish rules for campus investigations of sexual assaults.

Gillibrand means well; there’s no question about it. But Congress telling American universities how they should handle campus rape truly is an instance of the blind leading the blind. If the goal is to treat campus rape as the violent felony it is, don’t expect deans and assistant deans to conduct investigations — unless you want to over-politicize the process. If you want to treat rape as a crime, leave assault investigations to the police.

When you think about it, it doesn’t make any sense to treat rape differently just because it happened on a campus. Victim activists support allowing students to bypass the judicial system by appealing to university tribunals, which could result in perpetrators being expelled or removed from campus. “We’re going to throw him off campus,” Kevin O’Neill, executive director of the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee, told me. If a sexual predator is kicked off campus but free to roam the streets, the public at large will be less safe. If victims file complaints with their colleges but not cops, sexual predators win.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, rape and sexual assault rates are greater for women ages 18 to 24 who are not in school (7.6 per 1,000) than they are for students (6.1 per 1,000). So you’ve got Congress looking to create an extra layer of enforcement for a population less at risk.

Gillibrand has amended CASA to win bipartisan support. Thus, the measure does not include one of the more extreme measures pushed by campus feminists and already written into California law for institutions of higher learning — the affirmative consent standard, which requires sexual partners to consent affirmatively. Or, as University of California President Janet Napolitano explained at the hearing, “consent must be knowing, revocable and intentional.” She added, “It really, in a way, shifts the burden so that the survivor isn’t the one always trying to explain what happened.”

“They’re not trying to sugarcoat it at all,” marveled Joseph Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “They’re being clear that they are shifting the burdens of proof. That’s what the affirmative consent movement is all about.” Civil libertarian beware: Affirmative consent and some academic tribunals have moved the burden of proof onto the accused — not the accuser, where it has belonged.

As a woman, I believe that false accusations are rare, but they do happen. Last year’s Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia illustrates why no legislative body should undercut due process for the accused. Gillibrand’s CASA would mandate that confidential advisers assist “survivors of sexual harassment”; it wouldn’t really try to protect due process for the accused. That’s where the Safe Campus Act, sponsored by Republican Reps. Matt Salmon of Arizona and Pete Sessions and Kay Granger of Texas, would provide needed protection. The measure would establish the right of the accused to counsel during disciplinary proceedings regarding sexual violence.

Jean Mrasek — chairwoman of the National Panhellenic Conference, which represents 26 sororities — told me her group is grateful that CASA has brought campus rape to the attention of the public. She expects Congress eventually to produce a bill with parts from both measures. The Salmon House bill would allow “for the experts to start” investigations, she noted, without preventing colleges and universities from being involved. “It’s time to recognize that an act of sexual violence should be treated like the heinous crime that it is.”

I’d rather see Congress leave campus rape to law enforcement, but that’s not going to happen. So look to the Safe Campus Act for balance. It would establish a 30-day period during which law enforcement would have exclusive jurisdiction over a sexual assault case. Before an academic tribunal begins, accusers would have to go through the police — which would boost the chances of timely gathering of evidence, including rape kits. As O’Neill noted, it’s not enough to get rapists off campus; “we also want them incarcerated.”

Source: http://spectator.org/articles/63644/there’s-nothing-academic-about-campus-rape

Aug 032015
 

Opponent of New Campus Due Process Bill Doesn’t Hide Her Contempt for Basic Rights

Ashe Schow
July 31, 2015

An opponent of a new bill aimed at providing due process rights to students accused of sexual assault disparaged the thought of such constitutional rights because schools “must prioritize the needs of survivors first and foremost.”

That’s all well and good, but one does not know whether someone is truly a “survivor” unless his or her story can hold up to scrutiny, something deliberately absent from current campus hearings. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Sarah Merriman, a spokeswoman for SAFER Campus, who told the Washington Post why she opposes the “Safe Campus Act.”

“American college culture often paints rape on campus as a youthful indiscretion instead of the deliberate violent act that it is, and it is not the survivor’s job to ‘save’ the assaulter from criminal prosecution,” Merriman said. “Though there are many college faculty and administrators that have the best interests of their students at heart, SAFER cannot agree that leaving judicial proceedings, and especially the standard of evidence, completely up to the school is best written into law.”

The majority of campus sexual assault accusations do not include a “deliberate violent act” of a predator and prey. They are, contrary to Merriman’s claims, cases involving alcohol, misunderstood actions and he said/she said situations. “Deliberate violent acts” would be much easier to prosecute, as there would be evidence of such violence. But college cases are far more complex, which is exactly why students need to be able to exercise their due process rights.

Merriman claims that schools “want to preserve their perfect public image” by ignoring rape accusations. That may have been the case years ago, but the incentives have been flipped, and schools are now looking to expel students to prove to the Department of Education that they take sexual assault seriously. That witch hunt mentality has prompted more than 70 accused students to sue their schools for discrimination.

Merriman suggests that schools don’t need due process because “survivors” (using the term based solely on accusations and without evidence) have it rough.

“We are not at a point to analyze ‘due process,’ when many survivors are publicly shamed on their campuses, when charges against assaulters can be dismissed out of hand by administrators, when an assaulter is allowed to sit across from a survivor and shout down their story,” Merriman said.

We are exactly at a point to analyze due process when many accused students are publicly shamed on their campuses (even after they have been found “not responsible” by their schools and police investigations), when the word of an accuser is taken at face value despite evidence to the contrary and when accused students (Merriman calls them “assaulters,” again, without evidence) aren’t allowed to meaningfully cross-examine an accuser who may be lying.

Merriman adds: “If we are to truly believe in due process for all, we must prioritize the needs of survivors first and foremost.”

What? That doesn’t even make sense. Due process for all means due process for all, not due process for only accusers.

If opponents of the bill, like Merriman, think due process is such a hindrance to justice, why aren’t they calling for its removal in all aspects of the legal system?

Source: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opponent-of-new-campus-due-process-bill-doesnt-hide-her-contempt-for-basic-rights/article/2569348?utm_campaign=Washington%20Examiner:%20Opinion%20Digest%20PMI&utm_source=Washington%20Examiner:%20Opinion%20Digest%20PMI%20-%2007/31/15&utm_medium=email

Jul 302015
 

Why 3 Former UVA Fraternity Members May Have a Better Case against Rolling Stone than Other Students

Peter Jacobs

July 30, 2015

Three former University of Virginia fraternity members were each easily tied to anonymous perpetrators of an alleged gang rape in a discredited Rolling Stone story on the university, they claim in a defamation lawsuit against the magazine.

The three students — George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford, and Ross Fowler — all graduated in 2013 and were members of UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity while on campus. As detailed in Rolling Stone’s now-retracted story “A Rape on Campus,” a UVA student “Jackie” was gang raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house during a 2012 party.

Much — if not all — of Jackie’s story has since been disproved by media reports, a police investigation, and a report by Columbia Journalism School that Rolling Stone published in April.

Details in Rolling Stone’s UVA article, according to the lawsuit, “created a simple and direct way” to match the three plaintiffs with the supposed rapists. This may be why Elias, Hadford, and Fowler rather than other fraternity members chose to file the defamation lawsuit.

“George Elias IV lived in the fraternity house in the first room at the top of the first flight of stairs at the time the alleged crime took place … Based on the vivid details described in the Rolling Stone article, this room location was the most likely scene of the alleged crime,” the lawsuit stated.

“Upon release of the article, family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and reporters easily matched Plaintiff as one of the alleged attackers and, among other things, interrogated him, humiliated him, and scolded him,” the lawsuit continued. “Plaintiffs Hadford and Fowler suffered similar attacks.”

The former students are suing for both defamation and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit also claims that Elias, Hadford, and Fowler were each identified online when Rolling Stone’s article first came out last year and their names will “indefinitely be associated with the alleged gang rape” at their fraternity.

Rolling Stone declined to comment on the lawsuit when reached by Business Insider.

UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity announced in April that it would be suing the magazine, although no lawsuit has yet been filed. A UVA dean — Nicole Eramo — filed a defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone in May.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/former-uva-fraternity-members-may-have-a-good-case-against-rolling-stone-2015-7#ixzz3hOLr1PUE

Jul 302015
 

Will Dana, Rolling Stone’s Managing Editor, to Depart

Ravi Somaiya
July 29, 2015

Will Dana, the managing editor of Rolling Stone, will leave the magazine, just months after a controversial article about a supposed gang rape at the University of Virginia was retracted.

The police in Charlottesville, Va., said last month they had found “no substantive basis” to support the article’s depiction of sexual assault at a fraternity at the University of Virginia above.
Mr. Dana, whose planned last day is Aug. 7, is not leaving for another job, and his successor has not been named. When asked if the departure was linked to the controversy over the discredited article, Rolling Stone’s publisher, Jann S. Wenner, said, via a spokeswoman, that “many factors go into a decision like this.”

In a statement, Mr. Dana said, “After 19 years at Rolling Stone, I have decided that it is time to move on.” He added: “It has been a great ride and I loved it even more than I imagined I would. I am as excited to see where the magazine goes next as I was in the summer of 1978 when I bought my first issue.”

Mr. Wenner, a founder of the magazine, said that Mr. Dana was “one of the finest editors I have ever worked with.”

Mr. Dana and Mr. Wenner both declined to be interviewed.

Rolling Stone and Mr. Dana had been widely criticized after the publication late last year of the article titled “A Rape on Campus,” which reported that a brutal gang rape occurred in 2012 at a fraternity party at Virginia. The article helped prompt a national conversation about sexual assaults on college campuses and sent the University of Virginia into turmoil.

In the weeks after publication, the article, which was based largely on the account of one student, named only as Jackie, fell apart. Police in Charlottesville, Va., said that after exhausting all leads they had found “no substantive basis” to support the article’s depiction of the assault.

The magazine commissioned an analysis of the article by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and its report in April cited failures at every stage of the reporting process. After the report was made public, Rolling Stone retracted the article.

The magazine has since been the target of lawsuits from an assistant dean at the university and by three members of the fraternity at the center of the article, who filed a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday.

Mr. Dana joined Rolling Stone in 1996 as a senior editor and became managing editor in 2005. He had also been editorial director of Rolling Stone’s sister publication, Men’s Journal.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/30/business/media/will-dana-rolling-stones-managing-editor-to-depart.html