Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
Subscribe   Subscribe   MI on Facebook Find us on Twitter Find us on Instagram      

National Review Online


Take Campus Allegations Seriously, Bring Them To Criminal Court

May 07, 2014

By Heather Mac Donald

The campus sexual-assault controversy is of liberal higher ed's own making.

For decades, universities have nurtured the most lunatic forms of feminism, denying the biological differences between males and females, promoting the idea that Western civilization is endemically sexist, and encouraging in their students ever-more-delusional forms of victimhood. It is therefore deeply gratifying to see these same universities now impaled by the very ideology that they have so assiduously promoted.

The Obama administration has released the names of 55 colleges and universities that it is investigating over their sexual-assault policies, part of an accelerating campaign against universities for allegedly turning a blind eye to the purported epidemic of campus rape. The list is top-heavy with the elite of the elite — Harvard, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Swarthmore, Amherst, and Dartmouth, among others. A more deserving group of victims would be hard to find.

Parroting over 20 years worth of feminist propagandizing, the White House claims nearly 20 percent of female college undergraduates are sexually assaulted during their college years. To put that number in perspective: Detroit residents have been fleeing the city for years due to its infamous violent crime. And what constitutes an American urban crime wave? In 2012, Detroit's combined rate for all four violent felonies that make up the FBI's violent-crime index — murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — was 2 percent. The rape rate was 0.05 percent. And yet, despite an alleged campus sexual-assault rate that is 400 times greater than Detroit's, female applicants are beating down the doors of selective colleges in record numbers.

Harvard this year received over 34,000 applications, about half from females, for a freshman class of about 1,600; every other elite college was similarly swamped with female applicants. According to the White House Council on Women and Girls, “survivors” of the alleged campus sexual-assault epidemic “often” experience a lifetime of physical and mental infirmity that includes depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. How could highly educated baby-boomer mothers, who have spent their maternal years fending off phantom risks to their children from pesticides and vaccines, suddenly send their daughters off to a crime scene of such magnitude, unmatched even in the most brutal African tribal wars? What happened to the Sisterhood? Shouldn't it be warning its members and forming alternative structures for educating females? Instead, every year, millions of girls walk into this alleged maelstrom of violence like innocent lambs to slaughter. Even more puzzling, every year those same girls graduate from that cauldron of predation in ever more disproportionate numbers, and go on to lead highly lucrative careers.

It should not be necessary to tell a feminist that rape is the most violent crime — with the emphasis on crime – that a woman can experience, short of murder. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports list rape as the second most serious violent felony. If the campus feminists really believed that campuses are experiencing an epidemic of criminal sexual assault, they would demand that every campus sexual-assault allegation be brought in criminal court, where the assailant can be sentenced to years in prison if convicted. Instead, they favor secret proceedings before an increasingly byzantine set of campus tribunals made up of judicially clueless bureaucrats and professors whose most severe punishment is expulsion. Imagine if a stranger broke into a female's dorm room at night and raped her at knifepoint. Would that case be taken to the campus Title IX gender-bias tribunal? Unlikely. If someone were merely robbing females of their iPads at gunpoint around the campus library, that case, too, though far less serious than rape, would most certainly be prosecuted criminally.

There are several reasons why no one is pushing to bring campus sexual-assault cases to court. It certainly helps that the procedures before college gender tribunals are egregiously stacked against defendants. The Obama administration recently recommended that campuses deny students facing sexual-assault charges the right to cross-examine their accuser, a trend already well underway on campuses across the country. It also wants campuses to use a flimsy preponderance-of-evidence standard for guilt, and to allow repeated proceedings against a student after an initial acquittal, as KC Johnson and Hans Bader have explained.

The campus sexual-assault tribunal also has a performative aspect: It dramatizes the patriarchy before a sympathetic audience of adults. “Our task is to give voice to the daily forms of violence we too often accept as inevitable,” a Harvard graduate student recently told the New York Times, describing her work protesting Harvard's sexual-assault policies. The campus sexual revolution began with students' demand to be free of any intrusive parietal oversight from college officials; now, in a bizarre turnaround, the children of that revolution want colleges to actually write rules for sex and police their enforcement. The colleges are only too happy to comply. In 2013, Yale came up with an embarrassingly graphic set of hypothetical sexual scenarios between gender-unidentifiable students, in an effort to delineate what constitutes permissible sex. One would have hoped that a world-class academic institution would have better things to do. Meanwhile, here is a message to girls: This is sex that we're talking about, the very realm of the irrational and the uncontrolled. See Ovid's Metamorphoses, Boccaccio's Decameron, and Euripides' The Bacchae (if those texts are still available at your school). Norms of chivalry, courtship, and modesty once tried to channel this primal drive; with those conventions now demolished as sexist, females (and males) are on their own — and often at sea. A highly legalistic definition of consent — the current desideratum of campus sex bureaucrats — is hardly a sufficient substitute for traditional social checks on the sexual instinct and will never be able to regulate the inexpressible and often conflicting emotions around intercourse.

But the main reason “survivors” don't demand to bring their cases to criminal court is that they know that what they have experienced is something far more complex and compromised than criminal sexual assault, almost invariably involving mixed signals, ambiguity, and a large degree of voluntary behavior on their part.

Original Source:



America's Legal Order Begins to Fray
Heather Mac Donald, 09-14-15

Ray Kelly, Gotham's Guardian
Stephen Eide, 09-14-15

Time to Trade in the 'Cadillac Tax' on Health Insurance
Paul Howard, 09-14-15

Hillary Charts the Wrong Path on Wage Inequality
Scott Winship, 09-11-15

Women Would Be Helped the Most By an End to the 'Marriage Penalty'
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, 09-11-15

A Smarter Way to Raise Paychecks
Oren Cass, 09-10-15

Gambling with New York's Pension Funds
E. J. McMahon, 09-10-15

Vets Who Still Serve: After Disasters, Team Rubicon Picks Up the Pieces
Howard Husock, 09-10-15


The Manhattan Institute, a 501(c)(3), is a think tank whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas
that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

Copyright © 2015 Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Inc. All rights reserved.

52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017
phone (212) 599-7000 / fax (212) 599-3494