Washington & Lee is a private college in Virginia that Robert E. Lee headed for the last years of his life. Although Sabrina Rubin Erdely was viscerally repulsed by the conservatism, broken glass, and overwhelming blondness she sensed lurking at the University of Virginia, I suspect that if Sabrina had visited Washington & Lee she would have spontaneously combusted out of fear and loathing.
But, no matter, with the Obama Administration threatening to cut off all federal funding to colleges that don’t bend to its will, Erdelyism is in the ascent everywhere, even at Washington & Lee. From the student newspaper at Washington & Lee, the curiously named Ring-Tum-Phi:
Students and administrators must work together to promote conversation and stop sexual assualt
An article recently published in Rolling Stone revealed a gang rape at a fraternity house at the University of Virginia.
Margaret Voelzke December 10, 2014
It has been three weeks since Rolling Stone released “A Rape on Campus,” and Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s article is still making headlines and running rampant on social media.
Although the article, which told the story of the brutal, violent gang rape of a woman nicknamed “Jackie” at a University of Virginia fraternity house, has since had its veracity called into question, students at Washington and Lee University agree it has done something remarkable on campus—started a conversation.
“[These articles] give people leverage and inspire people to start talking,” said senior Anna Kathryn Barnes.
On a campus with statistics saying one in four women is sexually assaulted before graduating, talking about assault is surprisingly difficult.
“I think it goes down to the way we talk about sex,” said senior Annie Persons. “People don’t know what rape is… [And] there are probably women on this campus who have been raped and don’t even know it.”
When asked in a round-table interview whether or not students at Washington and Lee understand the severity of the university’s sexual assault problem, all four students agreed that the student body does not necessarily understand what is happening behind closed doors, and that continuing dialogue sparked by the Rolling Stone article is going to be integral to fixing the problem.
“It is really tempting to read the first part of the [Rolling Stone] article and say ‘that was a really extreme example and she was gang raped by seven men, but that doesn’t happen here so we don’t have to worry about it,’” said junior Kelly Douma. “But I think it’s something we need to keep talking about here and keep pushing and acknowledge the spectrum of it. It’s not just the super brutal, violent things that make the news… it’s also the micro-agressions in talking about rape.”
Those micro-agressions are something that the administration at Washington and Lee is aware of. …
According to Title IX Coordinator Lauren Kozak, Washington and Lee students who have been victims of sexual assault or misconduct have two options.
“When a report comes in there are two paths that we can take… [A] remedies based resolution or a more disciplinary approach,” she said. “[A] remedies-based would be anything that can help remedy the effects without doing discipline against the respondent… that can include anything from change in housing, some academic accommodations, perhaps even a no-contact directive between the parties.”
If students choose to take a disciplinary approach, Kozak and Dean of Students and First-Year Experience Jason Rodocker launch an official investigation into the victim’s claims.
From there, Kozak and Rodocker assemble a report that goes to the chair of the Student-Faculty Hearing board, who make the determination of whether or not to issue a charge against the accused.
“If a charge is issued, then a Student-Faculty Hearing Board panel will be convened,” Kozak explained. “They will read the investigative report and that will serve as the main evidence in the case, and then they can ask follow-up questions to the parties. And then they make a decision by the preponderance of the evidence whether they found that the policy was violated. If they find that the policy was violated, they will determine a sanction. If it’s a nonconsensual sexual intercourse case, the sanction is dismissal; it’s a mandatory sanction for that.”
For charges other than nonconsensual intercourse, “there is a range of sanctions the [Student-Faculty Hearing Board] can choose from,” Kozak said.
Although the process of reporting might seem simple, Barnes and Persons agreed that students choosing to report may face fears of ostracization and social fallout similar to Erdely’s account of “Jackie” in “A Rape on Campus.”
“I think people are rightly concerned that if they go through the procedure, people will find out and they will be ostracized. Particularly first-year women… I think that they wouldn’t necessarily want to hurt their chances of making friends, or getting a bid from a sorority or be that girl who reported,” said Persons.
Barnes noted that students can make small changes, like the language used to discuss sanctions for sexual assault, to counter fears of ostracization.
“Oftentimes the language we used [after someone has been dismissed from the university for sexual assault] is that the victim, he or she, got the accused, he or she, kicked out,” Barnes said. “That is unacceptable. The accused got themselves kicked out for their own actions, and I think those are the little things that we don’t think about.”
A male student who got himself kicked out of Washington & Lee on November 21, 2014, two days after Rolling Stone posted Erdely’s hoax story about UVA, has now filed suit against Washington & Lee for kicking him out. From the Roanoke Times:
Student claims he was expelled from W&L for consensual sex
by Luanne Rife Luanne.email@example.com
Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 9:15 pm
A day after Rolling Stone published an article describing a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, a former Washington and Lee student claims he was expelled for having consensual sex with another student who eight months later regretted the encounter and claimed rape.
The former W&L student has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the private Lexington university discriminated against him because he is a male, and because it wanted to avoid the negative public scrutiny that UVa was experiencing. Moreover, the student, identified as John Doe in the lawsuit, contends W&L’s Title IX officer advocates to female students that “regret equals rape.”
… W&L spokesman Brian Eckert said, “We don’t feel it is appropriate to discuss the specifics of a legal proceeding, but we’re confident that we correctly follow our established university policies and procedures, as well as federal mandates.”
That’s the scary thing, isn’t it? As they say in Washington, personnel equals policy, and six years of the Obama Administration choosing the personnel has had an effect.
John Doe claims that twice, he had consensual sex with a student identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe. The first encounter occurred in his room at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house where they went after an off-campus party on Feb. 8. Both had been drinking, he said.
Lots of salacious details ensue which you can look up for yourself, either in the news story or in the court filing. Keep in mind that we don’t have anybody else’s side of the story. The college inquiry was done in star chamber with no public records.
… He claims she spent the night, that he contacted her later through Facebook and that they had sex again in early March. He said she told her friends she had a good time. But at a Pi Kappa Phi St. Patrick’s Day party a few weeks later, Jane Doe left when she saw him kissing another woman, who is now his girlfriend.
It wasn’t until July that Jane Doe told a friend that she was sexually assaulted, the lawsuit claims. Then in October, Jane Doe, as a member of a student organization against sexual assault called SPEAK, attended a presentation by W&L Title IX officer Lauren Kozak.
Lauren Kozak—Not Andrea Dworkin
I realize this is off-topic, but Ms. Kozak has the most distractingly blue eyes. Part of the genius of what the Obama Administration has been up to is converting the promotion of Rape Culture hysteria from the demented obsession of Andrea Dworkin-style she-beasts into a sensible professional career path for tasteful-string-of-pearls young ladies like Ms. Kozak. The Rockbridge Report noted on December 11:
W&L Title IX Coordinator Lauren Kozak agrees that the issue is nothing new. She attributes the news attention to the Obama administration which has made reducing campus sexual assaults a priority.
“The re-focusing and changing of some of the laws on how schools need to respond to misconduct, I think, also started a public discussion on the issue, and I think that’s continued,” Kozak said. “It’s just more light on an issue that’s been around for a while.
Kozak was hired this past summer to make sure W&L is complying with all federal guidelines for Title IX. … Kozak points to two main documents that focus on sexual violence: The April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter and the subsequent Q and A clarifications.
In addition to the new Title IX guidance, changes to a federal law called The Clery Act were adopted this year to account for sexual misconduct offenses. The Clery Act now overlaps with Title IX in some ways and Kozak works with W&L Director of Public Safety Ethan Kipnes to put together the report.
Back to the Roanoke newspaper:
According to the lawsuit, Kozak shared an article, “Is it possible that there is something in between consensual sex and rape … and that it happens to almost every girl out there?”
Here’s the article recommend by Title IX coordinator Kozak. It’s on Total Sorority Move by HotPieceOfTSM:
Is it Possible That There Is Something In Between Consensual Sex And Rape…And That It Happens To Almost Every Girl Out There?
by hot piece of TSM
He wasn’t traditionally good-looking, but he was a notorious charmer with some serious bad boy in him that made him weirdly hot in a not-hot way. Even though we’d been strictly platonic since we met, I always felt a twinge of secret excitement when I had his attention, so when I found myself having a heart-to-heart with him in his bedroom, I felt a weird combination of emotions. Part of me felt as if I was 15 again. I was excited and nervous to be there. I was hyper aware of my body, and of his, wondering, maybe even hoping, he’d kiss me. Another part of me felt that this was wrong. Not in an “it’s wrong, but it’s hot and scandalous and I still want to do it” way–wrong as in not right, wrong as in uncomfortable. This was not a guy I wanted to get involved with. This was a guy who’d had anonymous girl after anonymous girl in and out of his bedroom since we were in the dorms. This was a guy with whom I’d had countless conversations about his inability to care about women, romantically.
So then they had sex. Why did she have sex with the sexy bad boy? Not surprisingly, Hot Piece of TSM has a lot to say on the subject, although it’s not particularly definitive:
Maybe I didn’t want to feel like I’d led him on. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him. Maybe I just didn’t want to deal with the “let’s do it, but no, we shouldn’t” verbal tug-of-war that so often happens before sleeping with someone. It was easier to just do it. Besides, we were already in bed, and this is what people in bed do. I felt an obligation, a duty to go through with it. I felt guilty for not wanting to. I wasn’t a virgin. I’d done this before. It shouldn’t have been a big deal–it’s just sex–so I didn’t want to make it one. …
We have inherited a masculine legal culture that is traditionally oriented toward coming to some kind of decision, such as guilty or not guilty. It’s in conflict with our current feminine therapeutic culture that is oriented toward talking for the sake of talking.
I certainly didn’t feel like I’d been raped. But what had happened the night prior was not consensual sex, and I didn’t like it. I wanted the flirting. I wanted the kissing. I wanted the sleepover.
Sleepover? I get the impression that this is a Thing these days. Back in the 20th Century, “sleep together” was a euphemism for sexual intercourse, but now it appears to be something that girls expect to do with boys without sex. Or something. Or at least if sex happens she gets to decide later whether she wanted to or not. The young female mind seems more adept at projecting backwards than forwards in time.
… it is understood the practice involved each of the young persons being put into a sack, or bag, which was tied closed at their neck. They were then allowed to sleep together, each in their own sack. They could cuddle one another, but that was as far as they could go.
Other bundling customs involved a board down the middle of the bed.
Maybe this is not a terrible idea? The Amish aren’t educated but they aren’t stupid. Mating is a big deal, and maybe the Amish have thought about it more realistically that the rest of us? But they made plans, such as sewing the young people into sacks so all they could do is cuddle. We don’t make realistic plans anymore.
Back to the Roanoke Times:
The article talks about alcohol-fueled sex in which the woman later regrets the encounter.
“Ms. Kozak introduced and discussed the article with the members of SPEAK to make her point that ‘regret equals rape,’ and went on to state her belief that this point was a new idea everyone is starting to agree with,” the lawsuit contends.
I can’t find anything on Google for a search of “Kozak ‘regret equals rape.’” I’m skeptical she said something that bald-faced. (Or maybe it’s just the blue eyes talking.) Of course, that’s what the Power Structure wants young women to take away, but they tend not to put it in so many words.
Five days after the presentation, Jane Doe reported to Kozak she was sexually assaulted but indicated she did not want to pursue a complaint, the lawsuit said.
By the end of October, Jane Doe changed her mind once she learned that both she and John Doe had been accepted into a program to study in Nepal for a semester, the lawsuit states.
So they were both scheduled to go to Nepal for an entire semester (is there really 15 weeks worth of stuff to learn in Nepal?) and she didn’t want to go with him what with him having a girlfriend, so she had expelled. Or at least that’s what the lawsuit claims.
So then on the day after the Rolling Stone article was published they had a kangaroo court (from the lawsuit: when the frat boy asked if he could get a lawyer, he was told by the administrators: “a lawyer can’t help you here. We won’t talk to them. This matter stays strictly within the school.” And on November 21 he was expelled on a 3-1 vote.
John Doe said that, since Jane Doe initiated sex, she, not he, would need to obtain consent. Therefore, “W&L engaged in blatant gender bias” by relying on gender stereotypes as to whom should be responsible for sexual assault.
Hey, John, what do you expect: we live in the “Who? Whom?” age.
As I said before, keep in mind that we don’t have the other side of the story.
I’m reminded of a comment on my blog by Buddwing:
December 16, 2014 at 5:22 am GMT
The Sapir-Whorf/Orwell effect of vocabulary is even more fundamental to this issue than you seem to realize, because it is not just the word “catfish” that is missing from the conceptual larder, but, in fact, an actual word for what allegedly happened to Jackie. The word “rape,” you see, is a euphemism, meaning abduction (related to the word “raptor”) with sexual relations only implied.
It is hard to draw boundaries around something only implied by the word that designates it. Searching the thesaurus, one only finds words that reference the idea of “honor,” such as “violate” or “despoil,” or legal subcategories, such as “sexual assault.”
I think that this points to a very important perspective. The idea of “Rape” as a crime is in important ways about controlling one’s and one’s family’s offspring, rather than sex or power. It is tied up with the idea of “honor,” particularly “family honor,” so much so that honor can only be restored in some cultures by the killing or suicide of the victim. This is the case in ancient Roman stories such as the Rape of Lucretia, as well as in present day news reports from Pakistan. An alternative method of restoring honor, for the bold or the powerful, was vengeance and vendetta.
Fortunately, the western world invented mechanisms short of death to restore a victim’s honor. These include societal mechanisms for impugning the honor of the perpetrator, the solicitation of sympathy for the victim, and the criminal prosecution of the rapist.
In the present day world of the college campus, we have a wide variety of circumstances and a lack of appropriate words. Thus everyone from Todd Akins (“legitimate rape”) to Whoopi Goldberg (“rape rape”) has struggled to express the distinction between the paradigmatic stranger assault with violence and the various forms of dishonor which the drunken coed might find visited upon herself. Without the words to divide categories, we find commentators citing the 1-in-5 college women are subject to some form of “sexual assault” as 1-in-5 college women are “raped” (self-righteously and with no sense that they have made a major categorical confusion).
We have women who want their “rapist” sex partners shamed, or expelled from campus, but not criminally prosecuted (I suggest, because they want their honor restored), while outside commentators cannot understand why they are not handed over to the police. Yet none of this seems to be discussable, because we lack both the vocabulary and the conceptual framework for conducting such a conversation.
Back in November, the Rape Culture hysterics wanted to have a UVA administrator named Nicole Eramo fired for not rousing a lynch mob to burn down the fraternity house where Jackie might (or might not) have told Dean Eramo she had been lured by Haven Monahan. Eramo was nationally denounced for saying nobody had been expelled under the UVA disciplinary procedure since the burden of proof was low and the procedures for determining justice in campus hearing were weak.
More strikingly, Erama implied that, in her experience, a lot of coeds didn’t want the boys they’d had sex with punished, they just wanted to tell off the boys in front of an authority figure who would validate their feelings.
This doesn’t make much sense, except in Buddwing’s framework of the girls wanting to feel that their honor has been restored by society.
My general impression is that we’re dealing with a lot of emotions of Biblical proportions — I’m reminded of the horrifying story in the Book of Genesis of Jacob’s daughter Dinah and Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite — and our postmodern worldview is inadequate for thinking about them.