Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Warning to Yale Students: Raping a Stranger in a Public Bathroom Can Get You Expelled!

Yale: Rapists will be expelled
What does a degree from Yale cost? About a quarter of a million dollars after you tally tuition, fees, books, and living expenses.
And what does a Yale student learn that makes a Yale degree a worthwhile investment?  Well--in addition to history, philosophy and literature, a Yale student will learn the definition of nonconsensual sex. 

That's right. Reacting to charges that Yale has a "hostile sexual environment" on campus, the university recently compiled a list of eight fictional scenarios to describe various kinds of sexual encounters and ranked them with regard to whether they were consensual, nonconsensual, or something in between.

Here is the Yale hypothetical that caught my eye, which I am quoting from the New York Times.
"Jamie and Cameron are at a party," begins one of the hypothetical situations. "It is crowded on the dance floor and they are briefly pressed together. Later Jamie encounters Cameron in the hallway and smiles. Cameron, who is now very drunk, follows Jamie into the bathroom and forces Jamie to have sex."
This would be nonconsensual sex, the Yale narrative tells students, that could lead to expulsion.

So let this be a warning to you, Mr. or Ms. Yale student. If you rape a stranger in a public bathroom, you could be expelled from Yale!  Mommy and Daddy would be so embarrassed.

I have some brief comments to make about this New York Times story, which are not meant to be gratuitously derisive. Yale students are supposedly among the brightest young people on the planet. Wouldn't you expect them to understand the concept of rape without the necessity of a Yale tutorial? In Louisiana, even people of the meanest understanding know that a person who rapes a stranger in a public bathroom will be sent to Angola State Penitentiary for a very long time.

But perhaps Yale is wise to go back to basics with regard to sexual behavior on campus.  Our nation's renowned universities are famous for their politically correct stance on sex and gender issues, but it is amazing how much sexual misconduct takes place on college campuses.

Who would have thought that Pennsylvania State University would turn a blind eye to Jerry Sandusky's predatory behavior, which apparently included raping a child in a university shower room (Curry, 2013)?

Who would have expected that a small Catholic college in New York would be sued for allegedly trying to cover up an accusation of gang rape in a college dormitory (McGrath v. Dominican College, 2009)?

Who could have anticipated that a freshman woman at University of Washington would accuse UW of steering her toward mediation with her alleged rapist after she reported being assaulted by a varsity football player (S.S. v. Alexander, 2008)?

And now we see allegations that Oklahoma State University--"the Princeton of the Prairies"-- offered sexual favors to recruit football players (Hines, 2013).

So--as wacky as it seems, Yale may have found it necessary to instruct Yale students that it would be wrong to rape a stranger in a public bathroom.  Maybe other universities should follow its example and go back to basics about what constitutes sexual misconduct on a college campus.


Collen Curry. Penn State Settles 25 Suits in Jerry Sandusky Case. ABC News. August 26, 2013. Accessible at: http://abcnews.go.com/US/penn-state-settles-25-lawsuits-brought-jerry-sandusky/story?id=20069117

Kelly Hines. SI Report: Ex-OSU players claim some hostesses had sex with recruits. Tulsa World, September 13, 2013.

Ariel Kaminer. Yale Tries to Clarify What Sexual Misconduct Is in a New Guide. New York Times, September 14, 2013, p. A14.

McGrath v. Dominican College, 672 F. Supp. 2d 477 (S.D.N.Y. 2009).

S.S. v. Alexander, 177 P.3d 724 (Wash. Ct. App. 2008).

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