Short Take: Tensions And Ignorance at University of Arkansas

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.

Consent?

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.

15 thoughts on “Short Take: Tensions And Ignorance at University of Arkansas

  1. B. McLeod

    When I was in university, so long ago, the craziest person on campus was an astrophysics prof who talked about alternate universes. On the batshit crazy campuses of today, that guy would be a model of rationality.

    Reply
  2. Steve White

    Some of your readers may not know, The Chronicle of Higher Education ended their Reader Comment section in June 2020. I think you wrote about it at the time. They gave an explanation which came down to, the Comments were dominated by trolls and you can still write a Letter to the Editor, and we are going to be really, really conscientious about publishing those when they express an opposing viewpoint, or bring out facts not found in the article.
    I guess you and Professor Johnson could give it a try. Good Luck.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      Are you applying for the job of informing my readers things that you feel they should know notwithstanding what I think they should know?

      As for my “letter to the editor,” I have a blawg. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

      Reply
      1. Steve White

        I never know what’s going to set you off, tired of walking through minefields, I will check out, but I very much appreciate what you do, keep up the good work please.

        Reply
        1. SHG Post author

          It’s really not hard to figure out. I write the posts. Commenters comment about the post I’ve written. You didn’t walk into a minefield, but jumped off a cliff of your own making.

          Reply
        2. Sgt. Schultz

          I (and a few others, with Scott’s tacit approval I think) try to help out keeping the comments from turning into the cesspool they have at every other blog, newspaper, website. I do not do this because I’m such an adoring fan, but out of appreciation for the burden he shoulders in keeping comments alive and writing as he does. Every day for more than 14 years, he offers interesting, smart and honest posts regardless of whether they meet the approval of right, left or center. So the least I can do is help him out and contribute to the cost of keeping the lights on in this here hotel.

          Your comment pisses me off more than the usual asshole who shows up one day and thinks he gets to make the rules here. You’ve written some decent comments and were a fairly solid contributor to the comments, and then you write this passive-aggressive crap?

          You appreciate what Scott does? Do you contribute to keeping the lights on? I bet you’ve never given a dime, while you enjoy reading but your feelz got hurt because you went off on your own orthogonal direction and decided it was your place to school Scott and his readers on your tangential issue that clearly had nothing to do with anything except you wanted to use his soapbox to inform his readers. Not your readers, but you have no readers and nobody gives a shit, but his. Do you not get that?

          You could be a solid contributing commenter, but when you got the lightest of love taps for going off the cliff, you got all butthurt and felt it necessary to call the comments a minefield rather than recognize that you, not Scott, created the problem. I didn’t think you were a fool or a knave before, but now you’re just another asshole who reads for free and whines when he doesn’t get a tummy rub. You could have taken it like a man, but instead you whined about your hurt feelings. Fuck you. And pay your tab on the way out, asshole.

          Reply
          1. SHG Post author

            Wow, this really struck a nerve with you. I appreciate your (and others) help trying to keep the place from turning a cesspool. Most readers do as well. Thank you, SS.

            Reply
            1. Losingtrader

              Sgt Shultz: You can depend on me sir. I will be alert and intelligent.
              Col . Klink : When I want a miracle Schultz, I will ask for it.

              All I have is a small ask: if you two ever represent me in court , please don’t show up in dressed in uniform .
              Note to SHG: nice tough with the ” SS” at the end.

          2. Steve White

            I am honestly not seeing myself as being a jerk at all. I thought I was referencing an old post about the magazine CHE. Bringing up an old post would not seem to have been out of bounds. I DO post Comments adding information which was not in the original post, but try to stay on topic.
            Since you brought it up, I feel I have some right (if not normally allowed, consider the rules mention “civil and respectful” comments and give me some leeway) to point out how I was “paying my tab” by adding information.

            1. I did extensive research on Michele Dauber, who as, in my opinion, one of the worst Title IX extremists on campus, and the most effective, needs to be examined. I share this information freely. My agenda is, she is very dishonest and the dishonesty needs to be exposed. It is actually quite a bit of work to gather information like this – even online , but, living close to Stanford, a lot of legwork.
            This kind of expose stuff may not be the exact point of the blawg but it can be part of what the blawg discusses. Anyway, giving the information seems to serve one of the purposes of the blawg. Or it could anyway.
            2. More research – on Christine Blasey Ford – seems to have been advised by Dauber – important to know if someone is blogging about Kavanagh, Ford, Title IX, etc. Legwork, heading over to Palo Alto, checking records, etc.
            3. More research – on some alleged racial incidents which seem to have been hoaxes.
            Like I said, I honestly do not know in advance what is frowned upon. No offense was intended. To me, this “What gives you the right to rewrite my blog?” came out of nowhere. As for whining about my hurt feelings — OK -how about this? ”
            :”Mr. Greenfield – you have no rules against referencing your previous posts – or other people’s blogs – or adding information to posts generally. Maybe some such is supposed to be implied by forbidding links, but comments are posted all the time which reference outside information. If you want information on Michele Dauber, Christine Blasey Ford, etc, let me know”?

            Is that better? I got stupidly angry a few years back and ranted at him for no good reason and I regret it, but I am NOT trying to be passively aggressive and I am not trying to get a free ride, those accusations go too far.

            Reply
            1. Charles

              Steve, lots of us have made comments that our host indicated were not on point. Sometimes he posts one of those comments just to discourage others from not going down the same path. Mostly, he just trashes them.

              If you’d just responded to our host’s first comment with something like, “No, I haven’t. Can you post a link?” everyone in the hotel bar would have had a laugh and gone back to what they were doing. Instead, you forgot the First Law of Holes.

              At this point, don’t leave. Just put the shovel down.

  3. Dan J

    Just bring back chaperones already. These poor girls* obviously can’t take care of themselves.

    *haven’t seen the gif in a while

    Reply
  4. Vincent Morrone

    I kinda feel like you’re being too generous to the students.
    The accusation was before the new regs were put in place. If they had followed the new regs, it would have prevented the guilty finding, not the lawsuit. The lawsuit is what led to the settlement. That would happen regardless of the regs. It would simply mean a fair outcome is available for only those with the ability ($$$) to litigate.

    How is it these students believe that a return to the rules that allowed the expulsion that didn’t pass muster in an actual court of law would prevent a school from deciding to settle instead of face a jury that might have awarded the student even more money is beyond me.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      Students know only what they’re told and they want to know. Did they know about the suit, the ruling, the University’s loss? Maybe. Did they understand it’s significance? How many students do, and of those, how many are capable of rising above their ideology? I expect very little of students, and they rarely disappoint me.

      Reply

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