Buzz

You might think this is a tongue-in-cheek moment (to be sure, most clear-thinking people do probably think that), but considering how the White House itself, some state governments, and many colleges are cracking down on any sort of conduct that could be construed as “sexual harassment,” the following behavior (via CNN.com) is highly questionable:

After Mike Jones joked to President Obama “Don’t touch my girlfriend” while at a voting booth in Chicago,

Obama got back at Jones after voting, with a hug and a kiss for his fiancée.

“On the cheek, just the cheek — please, Michelle, don’t come after me — just the cheek!” [Jones' fiancée Aia] Cooper told CNN affiliate WLS-TV after voting.

“Now, he’s really jealous,” Obama told Cooper.

Hold on a second — did the president get an explicit verbal consent from Ms. Cooper to kiss her? No, he did not.

In fact, he ordered Ms. Cooper to kiss her:

obama-kiss

I wonder what would happen to, say, a fraternity president if he had ordered a female party attendee to kiss him … hugging her all the while?

Without any clear — affirmative — consent, the frat prez could be brought up on sexual harassment/assault charges.

Don’t laugh! It’s not as if we haven’t read about such instances at least as silly

Not to mention — haven’t we been told time and time again that sexual harassment is partly about “power differentials?” How much more powerful does it get than the president of the United States?

Read the full article.

h/t to Althouse.

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IMAGES: New Cellar Door Films/Flickr; CNN video screen capture

The Student Press Law Center’s latest example of college administrators misusing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) involves the University of Houston sexual-assault case.

As The College Fix noted, the school is being sued by students who were expelled following a sexual-assault investigation and adjudication that they claim lacked due process. They said they were “kept in the dark about the investigation and given little chance to defend themselves,” as the Houston Chronicle reported.

SPLC’s FERPA Fact website, which judges dubious uses of the law, calls BS on the school’s claim that it can’t comment on the lawsuit because of FERPA. Attorney Advocate Adam Goldstein says:

I go back and forth on whether I think this kind of excuse is only somewhat false or entirely false. Refusing to comment on a lawsuit because you might disclose the contents of education records is a bit like refusing to go to the bank because you might rob it: ordinary good judgment and self-control ought to be enough to avoid the outcome in question.

If administrators are this confused about the nature of student-privacy law, there’s a decent chance they don’t have a good grasp of due process either.

(On a side note, the Chronicle cites a statistic I haven’t previously seen in a media report or from victim advocates: “Multiple studies have shown that 5 percent of college women are victims of rape or attempted rape every year.” It’s not clear where that comes from, though a Baltimore Sun op-ed last month cited a Ms. magazine report that said only 1 in 4 women who were raped or the attempt of rape actually “identifies her experience as rape,” which produces figures between 1-in-16 and 1-in-20.)

Read the full FERPA Fact post.

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IMAGE: Derek Bruff/Flickr

 

 

Back on July 28, The College Fix’s Stephen Edwards reported on Mark J. Perry’s dissection of the “1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while at college” statistic.

Now that Ohio State University has released its Annual Campus Security Report for 2014, Dr. Perry has updated his analysis.

From Dr. Perry’s blog Carpe Diem:

Here’s an updated analysis of sexual assaults at the Ohio State University, summarized in the top table above. Over the most recent four-year period from 2010 to 2013, there were 104 reports of “forcible sexual offenses” to the OSU’s Department of Public Safety, which included incidents that allegedly took place on campus, in university residence halls, on non-campus properties including fraternity and sorority houses, and on public property adjacent to or accessible from the campus. Using the White House claim that only 12% of campus sexual assaults get reported, there would have been 763 unreported forcible sexual offenses at OSU during that period, bringing the total number of sexual assaults (reported + unreported) to 867 …

The Columbus campus of OSU has a total female student population of about 28,000. Dividing the 867 estimated sexual assaults over a four-year period into the 28,000 OSU female students would mean that only 3.1% of OSU women, or about 1 in 32.3, would be sexually assaulted while in college. Certainly that’s still too high, but not even close to the White House claim that one in five (and 20% of) female students are sexually assaulted while in college.

Perry concludes that the “1 in 5″ claim is merely a political construct, and that for the claim to be true, it requires a ridiculously implausible sexual assault reporting rate of less than two percent.

Does anyone believe that for every “53 actual sexual offenses” only one gets reported?

That, Perry says, “is an under-reporting rate so low that it must be insulting to women.”

Read the full article.

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Two former students at the University of Houston are suing the college because they say they were “denied due process in the investigation and administrative hearings” regarding a sexual assault claim — a claim which got them expelled from campus.

The plaintiffs contend they had little knowledge of what was happening with the investigation, and had “little chance to defend themselves.”

The Houston Chronicle reports:

According to the lawsuit, Ryan McConnell, a former UH student, went drinking at the Den, a campus bar, on Nov. 19, 2011. While there, he met a female student, and the two ended up kissing, then going back to McConnell’s room at the Calhoun Lofts together. There the two, heavily intoxicated, according to the lawsuit, had sex and fell asleep naked on the floor.

McConnell’s girlfriend, Natalie Plummer, came home to find the two on the floor. Plummer made a video recording of the two “because she was mad that McConnell was cheating on her and wanted to be able to confront him about his behavior later,” the lawsuit said.

Plummer led the female student into the hallway and to the elevator, where she recorded her again, according to the lawsuit. The female student was found naked in the elevator by other students and UH police were called.

Three months later, the student filed a complaint with the university against McConnell, saying she believed she was a victim of sexual assault. On March 12, 2012, Richard Baker, a UH assistant vice chancellor and vice president, sent McConnell a letter notifying him that the university was opening an investigation. According to the lawsuit, Baker did not let McConnell know he was the target, but rather said he had “been identified as someone who may have information pertinent to the investigation.”

On Sept. 30, Baker sent McConnell and Plummer a letter saying Baker’s office would conduct an investigation, with findings based on “a preponderance of the evidence.”

In February, Baker submitted his findings to the dean of students, who concluded that the video “appeared to capture Mr. McConnell physically touching [the Female UH Student] in a sexual manner and, his girlfriend, Natalie Plummer, striking her,” according to the lawsuit, which disputes those interpretations. The report also concluded that McConnell and Plummer “took abusive sexual advantage” of the student by taking a photograph and the two videos and had created an intimidating or hostile environment for her by “preserving then destroying” and “sharing” the video from the dorm room.

The two former students assert that, in appeals, they were not permitted “to cross examine witnesses or to call witnesses of their own.”

John Foubert, a professor at Oklahoma State University and founder of the group One in Four which combats college sexual assaults (not “One in Five?” Upping the ante further?) says the lawsuit against UH is a “Hail Mary” because it “misunderstands” the nature of sexual assault and “the nature of conduct processes at universities.”

“What’s unfair is there has been rape on college campuses for hundreds of years and nothing has been done about it,” Foubert said.

Read the full article.

h/t to Rhymes With Right.

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IMAGE: Donkey Hotey/Flickr

More details have emerged about one of the largest cheating scandals involving collegiate athletes is U.S. history thanks to a new investigative report released Wednesday.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill had concocted a massive system to keep student athletes eligible to play, a set-up described by the News & Observer as an 18-year scheme that included bogus classes, inflated grades and a “shadow curriculum” advanced by those in charge.

Everyone from coaches to academic counselors to a top official at the African and Afro-American Studies department were complicit in the scheme.

The N&O reports:

The system of no-show classes at UNC-Chapel Hill was pushed by academic counselors for athletes, hatched and enabled by two sympathetic officials in a key department and employed by coaches eager to keep players eligible, a new report into the long-running scandal has found.

The 18-year scheme generated inflated grades through lecture-style classes that had been quietly converted into bogus independent studies. The report, released Wednesday afternoon, found a new culprit: the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes.

[The report] found that the academic counselors had pushed for the easy classes and embraced those started by Deborah Crowder, a longtime manager for the Department of African and Afro-American Studies. The report describes a fairly broad group of academic and athletic officials who knew about athletes getting better grades in classes that only required papers, yet taking little or no action.

As The College Fix has previously reported, UNC Chapel Hill students have known for quite some time that athletes were pointed to easy-A classes. Also, details on just how bad the set-up really was has come out in recent years.

In 2012, The College Fix reported on the appalling lack of academic standards that had been revealed within the University of North Carolina’s African and Afro-American Studies department. There was a rampant use of so-called “no-show” classes, where professors weren’t even showing up for classes, and were simply giving students phony grades. There was almost no accountability, despite widespread neglect and corruption. No one, it seems, wanted to question what was going on within the department.

Wednesday’s report suggests many employees knew about the situation, as the News and Observer reports:

It was common knowledge within the support program that the classes didn’t meet, were easy and offered high grades, the report says. They became such a crutch that when Crowder retired in 2009, football team counselors were desperate for the classes to continue, warning coaches the team’s overall GPA would plummet, which it did.

But some in the program knew that the classes, which typically required a term paper at the end, lacked a professor. Crowder played that role, even though she only had a bachelor’s degree from UNC. She created the classes – often at the counselors’ requests – collected the papers and graded them, often without reading them, the report said.

What adminsitrators knew, and when they knew it, is a different story:

“We found no evidence that the higher levels of the University tried in any way to obscure the facts or the magnitude of this situation,” the report said. “To the extent there were times of delay or equivocation in their response to this controversy, we largely attribute that to insufficient appreciation of the scale of the problem, an understandable lack of experience with this sort of institutional crisis and some lingering disbelief that such misconduct could have occurred at Chapel Hill.”

Read the full article.

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Whether that’s likely given political considerations is another matter.

KCBD 11 reports that a Texas Tech student who reported a sexual assault last month has recanted, and the case will be referred to the district attorney as well as the school’s Office of Student Conduct:

Filing a false police report is a Class B misdemeanor. Violation of the TTU code of student conduct may result in disciplinary penalties.

Read the full KBCD 11 story.

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IMAGE: KCBD screenshot