Thomas Klocke “was doing everything right,” David French of National Review says.
He wasn’t drinking too much. He wasn’t hooking up. He wasn’t crude around women or sexual minorities.
“Parents of college boys sometimes take comfort that they can avoid the atmosphere of anti-male hysteria by asking them to follow some relatively simple, commonsense guidelines,” French writes.
And yet this male student killed himself days after his horrifying inquisition by University of Texas-Arlington officials ended with a permanent black mark on his record.
All because a gay student accused Klocke, with no evidence and dubious motives, of calling him a slur and telling him he should kill himself one day in class.
Klocke “was minding his own business in class, declined an unwelcome sexual advance, and changed seats” – all the more reason this case “should send chills down the spines of parents of male children,” French says in his column on the family’s lawsuit against UTA:
If his account is true, a gay student potentially motivated by embarrassment or fear was able to take advantage of the known bias of campus administrators to punish the man that he approached. …
The lawsuit makes the interesting claim — one that rings true with my own experience — that universities have “sought prestige and publicity portraying themselves as leaders in curtailing sexual harassment, sexual violence, and aggressive behavior on campus.” Consequently, they “have a vested interest in enacting swift and harsh punishment (almost always upon males) who are merely accused of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or aggressive behavior, in order to preserve the appearance of their leadership.”
French has seen many of the same things that Klocke’s family experienced during his inquisition in representing accused students, including “the speed and authority with which universities will respond to complaints by members of favored progressive victim groups”:
But there’s something else I’ve seen. I’ve seen the cost imposed on students accused of misconduct — the fear and the stress as they feel like their reputations, their careers, and their dreams are vanishing before their very eyes. When they’re in the middle of the battle, and an entire school seems set against them, it can be hard to maintain perspective and to see through to the other side.
Suicide is a complicated phenomenon, and I have no doubt that additional facts will emerge as the case works its way through the judicial system, but no one — ever — should believe that crackdowns come without cost or that due process is an abstract concept, a mere inconvenience that stands in the way of social justice.