The Kiss of Death At Navarro College (Update)

Brian Ferguson was a student at the Waxahatchie campus of Navarro College, a two-year school in Texas. This wouldn’t be anything particularly notable, but for the fact that Brian was autistic, and attended special needs classes.  It’s really pretty cool that Navarro offers such classes, and gives a student with autism the opportunity to make the most of himself.

Well, that’s done now, after Brian mistook a female student for someone he knew.

A Waxahachie man who has autism was kicked out of college classes because he mistakenly hugged a woman he did not know and kissed her on the top of her head, according to the man’s mother.

Brian Ferguson, 20, was attending special-needs classes at Navarro College’s Waxahachie campus when he thought he recognized a young woman in the hallway, said Ferguson’s mother, Staci Martin.

The woman, who has not been identified and could not be reached for comment, turned out to be a stranger.

Let’s assume the woman Brian mistakenly hugged and kissed atop the head was mortified and embarrassed by the unwanted buss.  Fair enough. Nobody should be forced to suffer a hug and kiss from someone they don’t know.  But what follows should send chills down your spine.

“He gave her a hug and kissed her on the top of her head,” Martin said. “He’s 6’5″, so when he gives hugs, he’ll give you a big hug and kiss you right here on the top of your scalp.”

The school called it an assault, she said.

“And then they labeled it ‘sexual assault’ because of the kissing,” Martin said. “They said a kiss is considered an assault.”

The magic words, sexual assault. As Hans Bader has been pounding away for some time, the nouveau definitions of rape and sexual assault have grown so expansive that essentially any touching without prior express authorization, even an innocent kiss on the top of a woman’s head, is categorized as a sexual assault. Quick, update the sex offender registry. Off with his head.

This sort of application also is a logical argument against broad “affirmative consentrules that require advance permission for not just sex, but also ordinary touching and kissing, and classify any failure to obtain advance permission as “sexual assault” (even if it was not against the will of the complainant at the time it occurred).  “Affirmative consent” activists now want to extend such rules micromanaging commonplace interactions into the nation’s Kindergartens to cover even non-sexual contact.  Sexual assault policies and laws should protect people from violence and unwanted intimate invasions, not relatively harmless activities that simply lack advance authorization.

Under any other circumstance, Brian Ferguson would be the guy that most people concerned with any degree of social justice would back up, would support.  For crying out loud, the kid is austistic.  He lives with his disability, but he’s trying his damnedest to make the most of his life.  And yes, kids with intellectual challenges sometimes make a mistake, like thinking a person is someone he knows, a friend, who would welcome a hug and a brotherly kiss.

But to be absolutely certain that nothing that smacks of human physical contact ever happens without three days’ notice, Brian’s errant kiss falls into the rabbit hole of sexual assault.  So his austism means nothing in contrast to his predatory ways.

This is an interesting potential case that illustrates how the ever-expanding definition of “sexual assault” on some college campuses apparently reaches well-meaning conduct that is not sexually-motivated at all and does not even involve intimate areas of the body, much less sex.  (It may also pit broad college policies designed to comply with the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX against broad duties to accommodate disabled students under the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act).

There was a time when providing opportunity to Americans with disabilities was itself a worthy cause, a good purpose.  And no doubt, that’s still the case, except when it clashes with the far more important goal of female feelings, at which point everything else is jettisoned without a moment’s hesitation.  So what if Brian’s disability may have been integral to his mistake? There is no room to tolerate his kiss when the overarching need to protect women from sexual assault is at stake. Tough break, Brian, but you lose. You lose big.

The teary-eyed anecdotes used to justify why offenses so expansively defined such as sexual assault are needed to be sure that no woman is ever touched again without permission meet their match here.

Ferguson’s mother said a college dean informed her that he was suspended indefinitely and no longer welcome back.

“He cried the whole next day,” she said. “He got up for school, waited for the bus. I told him it wasn’t coming.”

Does this make you swell with pride, knowing another sexual predator has been caught and young womanhood has been protected from the vicious male?  Are you pleased with yourself knowing that you made a 20-year-old autistic young man cry?  Was it worth it?

Of course, there will be unintended consequences, suffering in instances where the act, the male, maybe falls shy of whatever it is you demand be intolerable.  But that’s the problem, the new rules that accommodate no understanding, are so ridiculously broad and over-inclusive that they sweep in an innocent, friendly, mistaken kiss at the expense of a young man like Brian Ferguson.

But then, who really cares that some males will be sacrificed when the truly important thing is that no woman’s feelings ever be hurt?  Sad male tears, right?  Tell Brian how much he enjoyed male privilege, autism notwithstanding.

Update:  The Waxahatchie Daily LIght reports that the young woman involved, Taylor Bruton, had nothing to do with Brian’s suspension:

“I’m nervous,” Bruton said Wednesday afternoon at Getzendaner Park as she waited to meet Martin and Ferguson for the first time. “I can’t just not say anything. I have to help make it right because it’s just not fair. I for sure want to give him a hug so that he knows he can hug me and I’m not scared of him. I want to tell him I’m sorry because if I had know the lengths this would have gone, I wouldn’t have given the statement.”

As for Navarro College, they’re reversed course in light of the national condemnation and want to pretend none of this ever happened.

Though President of Navarro College campuses in Ellis County Dr. Kenneth Martin (no relation to the student’s family), and other administrators, cannot speak on the record about student disciplinary actions, college officials released the following statement Monday:

“Navarro College values its relationships with all of our ISDs and their students. Questions regarding suspension or potential charges should be directed to the ISDs. Navarro has relayed to the Elevate program and Mr. Ferguson that he is welcome at the college.”

Grocery clerks everywhere let out a huge sigh of relief.


13 thoughts on “The Kiss of Death At Navarro College (Update)

  1. Lori Ecker

    Zero tolerance policies are not a good idea, IMHO. And, also do a disservice to females who, rather than develop coping mechanisms to deal with incivility or what they perceive as unacceptable behavior, learn that by running to the dean or principal, it will all go away. That’s not how it works in the workplace, which can be a cruel awakening for the previously overly protected.

  2. bmaz

    Bet the school also crapped on “victim’s rights” too. Hard to believe this is the result the victim would desire once she knew the facts. Love to know if that is the case.

  3. Not Jim Ardis

    Hopping onto the Community College’s website, I see something called “Statement from the College”…

    “Navarro College values its relationships with all of our ISDs and their students. Questions regarding suspension or potential charges should be directed to the ISDs. Navarro has relayed to the Elevate program and Mr. Ferguson that he is welcome at the college.”

    So apparently the college cares deeply about the “safety” of its female students, and has a deep desire to make sure they are free of fear of ‘sexual assault’, but only up until it makes them look like complete assholes.

  4. DHMCarver

    Until I read this I had not realized that I had been sexually assaulted in high school — I was walking down the hall, and a woman I did not know came up behind me and wrapped her arms around me giving me a tight hug. Turns out, she thought she was hugging someone else. I hope someone else caught that vicious predator before she destroyed any more lives.

    This piece makes me think of an article I read recently about the strange consonance between Victorian notions of sexuality and supposedly modern notions of sexuality. I would hope, but do not expect, that the woman who was “assaulted” would make a plea to the school to let Brian return to classes.

    1. SHG Post author

      The Victorian analogy is brutally apt, though neo-feminists disagree vehemently because it makes them feel foolish.

  5. Jason Truitt

    So, a satellite campus of my hometown (ish) Harvard-On-The-Hill did something stupid? Not surprised.

    Are they still rejecting students from W. African countries because they have Ebola there?

  6. se

    “Under any other circumstance, Brian Ferguson would be the guy that most people concerned with any degree of social justice would back up, would support. For crying out loud, the kid is austistic.”

    That is not how it works. Autistic people are often both offensive and annoying. Social justice can not stand people who say inappropriate things – sometimes very inappropriate with wrong tone of voice on top. Social justice coming into town is bad news for all socially disabled people – they are about to get attacked, pushed away, accused of sexism etc. Just take the usual definition of harassment as “anything that offends another person” – there is no way in hell even mild autist has any chance to know what it means.

    You can prove me wrong by showing one instance where social justice proponent defended an offensive person on the grounds that the person is autistic. On the other hand, I have seen them call autism “an excuse”. Take the recent verbal takedown Scott Aaronson had to endure after he dared to talk about his issues. Or the social justice attitude to “nerds”, most of whos are for the most part, newslash, people with mild autism or some other similar issue.

    It really is huge social justice elephant in the room in tech sexism debate. Nobody talks about it openly, but half of the “sexism” in tech are just autistic people not being in tune with impossible social justice demands. Tech has higher rates of people like that, partly because they are not fit for other professions (imagine autistic teacher).

    1. SHG Post author

      Your focus on autism (and even more closely, Aspys, who are just totally despised) may be too close for this point. In the scheme of SJWisms, there’s the disabled, followed by religion, followed by race, followed by sexual preference (yeah, I’m leaving plenty out, but it’s sufficient to make the point) and ultimately, gender, which trumps all else. It’s generic, not so specific that it deals with each specific diagnosis.

      Wherever on the spectrum the argument applies (they’ll fight to death for race, unless the clash is between race or gender, in which case they’ll burn race in a flash as unfortunate collateral damage), it’s beloved until something more sacred is at risk. It’s totally batshit [ableist slur].

  7. doug nusbaum

    I can only assume that there now exists a special secrete class where administrators and other government employees can take courses in stupid, and perhaps get a PhD in the subject.

    I would like to address these incredible idiots. Henceforth, whenever you even think about acting in a way that might possibly harm someone, unless you are in the process of being physically asaulted, please call your parents or someone similar in your family and talk to them about the situation.

    If for no other reason so that you do not become a discrace/embarassment to your family.

  8. The Real Peterman

    Yikes. I have a cousin who is autistic and just started college. And he loves to hug people. And it took friggin’ years of intensive work and expensive tutoring to get him to that point.

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