They’re angry. And they’re protesting, because they’re angry. The Chronicle of Higher Ed explains why.
Amid a fresh wave of national attention on campus sexual assault, accusations are swirling at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where the official responsible for handling those matters has resigned, and student leaders say the administration has repeatedly failed to support victims.
Campus outrage reached a peak last week when Gillian Gullett, a 2020 graduate, found out — from a reporter, not the university — that Arkansas had paid a $20,000 settlement to the now-former student she accused of sexual assault in 2017.
How is such a thing possible, Arkansas paying the student she accused rather than, I dunno, her?
What’s happening at Arkansas is emblematic of the debates gaining steam at colleges nationwide, as Title IX — the gender-equity law that governs how campuses handle reports of sexual assault — comes under scrutiny. Last month, Arkansas’s fellow Southeastern Conference member, Louisiana State University, came under fire for widespread failures in handling sexual-misconduct reports, especially in athletics.
It is indeed emblematic, but not in the way the CHE believes it is. The reason the school settled with the “student [Gillian Gullett] accused of sexual assault” is because the student sued the university and the Eighth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of the complaint on his Title IX cause of action.
During the subsequent investigation of the incident, Roe stated that while she was texting
Doe, she was “not drunk,” and that she did not consume any alcohol after arriving at Doe’s apartment.
At Doe’s apartment, the two talked and watched television together in Doe’s room. At some point, Roe turned off the lights, sat next to Doe on a bed, and began kissing him. According to the complaint, Roe said several times that she wanted to engage in sexual intercourse. Doe alleges that he asked, “Do you want to have sex?”, and that Roe replied, “Yes.” The two then engaged in sexual intercourse.
Doe eventually told Roe that he would soon have to leave to pick up friends who needed a ride. He suggested that she accompany him to meet the friends, and that he would then take her back to her apartment. Roe protested and tried to convince Doe to stay at the apartment with her. When she realized that Doe would not stay, she became angry, said that she was “tired of compromising for guys,” told Doe that she would never speak to him again if he took her home, and started yelling that she was going to walk home. Doe alleges that his roommate overheard this exchange; the roommate said that Roe was not slurring her words and did not sound intoxicated. Doe eventually took Roe home, despite her protests. Sometime after Roe returned to her residence, she cut her wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.
Under these facts, Arkansas found Doe, the male student, responsible for sexual assault because Roe, the female student, was incapacitated, even though the Title IX investigator and Fayetteville police concluded Roe was not incapacitated and Doe would have no reason to believe otherwise. Yet, the hearing panel found Doe responsible.
And this, according to Sarah Brown at the Chronicle of Higher Education, demonstrates why Biden needs to change the De Vos regs.
And President Biden has ordered a review of divisive new Title IX regulations put in place by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that added protections for students accused of sexual assault.
Those new rules are, in part, why Arkansas settled with the former student. According to a university letter included with the settlement, the man, identified in court documents as John Doe, might not have been punished because of the stringent disciplinary mandates — like cross-examination at a live hearing — required by the new regulations, which were not in place when he was found at fault in 2018. “Given the closeness of the evidence presented to the Hearing Panel,” the letter stated, “it is possible that the revised procedures could have led to a different outcome.”
The reason Arkansas settled with the “former” student is that it was outrageously wrong in holding him responsible for consensual sex and the Eighth Circuit ruled against the University. It’s unsurprising that the students at Arkansas were outraged, as they don’t know any better and they’re, well, students, deeply indoctrinated into the ideology that any women can claim rape after the fact because believing otherwise is sexist.
But CHE is supposed to be slightly more honest about the settlement, and about the “emblematic” problems it represents. It is very much emblematic of a system that flagrantly discriminates against male students by denying them due process and, just as importantly, really doesn’t care whether they did anything wrong at all. Yet, here it is, used by CHE as evidence that the regs need to be changed to guarantee that every male student is punished without regard to whether he did anything wrong.
H/T The indomitable KC Johnson, of course.