The campus sexual revolution began with students’ demand to be free of any intrusive parietal oversight from college officials; now, in a bizarre turnaround, the children of that revolution want colleges to actually write rules for sex and police their enforcement. The colleges are only too happy to comply.It's delicious, because it's being crammed down by the Hope and Change folks, as part of a destructive unfunded mandate whose effects are becoming clear. And it illustrates what happens when nobody wants to take on the collegiate rabbit culture.
The alleged campus-rape epidemic could be stopped overnight if women’s advocates sent a simple message to girls: Don’t get drunk and get into bed with a guy whom you barely know. Keep your clothes on and go home to your own bed at night. And most controversially: Demand that any boy court you long enough to reveal his character and his respect for yours before you even think about having sex with him. The feminist advocates are more interested in preserving the principle of male fault, however, than in protecting females from regretted sex. And so rather than sending an unequivocal message of personal empowerment and responsibility, they put the entire onus of sexual responsibility on males, treating females as the invariably helpless victims of the male libido.The unintended consequences of heavy-handed Washington intrusion are not likely to be good for higher education.
The colleges under investigation by the Department of Education may have sustained a public-relations black eye, but sadly, they will suffer not the slightest drop in their endowments or enrollments. They will even continue to coddle their students’ melodramatic oppression fantasies. The Title IX investigations, triggered by student complaints, are premised on the preposterous conceit that colleges are creating so hostile an environment for females that those females are actually prevented from learning. Here’s how the colleges should respond:
“Are you kidding me? Get a grip. This is the most welcoming, safe, lavishly endowed community ever created in human history, where students with the desire to absorb wisdom can do so in leisure, surrounded by supportive faculty and well-meaning administrators. There are millions of girls in Asia who are studying ten hours a day to gain the privilege of learning on an American campus; if they were to come to this ‘hostile’ environment, they would seize every educational opportunity available to them.”
Instead, however, the colleges’ student-services deans and rape counselors, who live precisely for these moments of conflict, will grovel before their accusers and promise to make amends. The New York Times has been hawking an article from Columbia’s student newspaper that purported to expose the college’s inadequate response to sexual assault. The original article triggered campus protests against the administration and penitence from the grown-ups. What it mostly showed, however, was the hold of the gender-studies mentality on far too many students. The student journalists were outraged that the school’s sexual-assault policies refer to “rape” “euphemistically” as “non-consensual sexual intercourse,” and to alleged “rapists” as “respondents.” One “survivor” — “Natalie” (a pseudonym) — complains that a Title IX investigator used abbreviations in taking down her story, resulting in “holes” that made her account not “sound like a strong case” (it probably wasn’t) and keeping her “from having ownership over the retelling of her history with emotional and sexual violence.” Natalie had been in a “fragile state” from a previous “emotionally abusive relationship,” and promptly entered into another “‘destructive and unhealthy’ physical relationship” with another male that was “confusing at best.” That male, the article explained, “often forcefully pinned [Natalie’s] arms back against the mattress during sex; [she] would cry during and after they slept together. Not until months after their break up did Natalie recognize this as non-consensual intercourse.” If Natalie was unhappy with their sexual relationship, she would have been wise to have put an end to it. The Columbia student article provided no evidence of flawed assault policies, beyond the mere fact that the school did not issue guilty findings in Natalie’s case (which she did not fully cooperate with) and one other. The article did, however, reveal the chaotic state of campus couplings in the absence of any normative restraints on casual intercourse, a situation that will claim only female emotional victims.
Should not parents and schools do more to alert young women to the risks of casual sex and intoxication? Isn’t prevention preferable to prosecution?Too judgmental. Federal intervention is warranted.
As usual, the possible harm from imposing government mandates and oversight on American institutions and industries that are functioning well – our colleges and universities are the envy of the world – may exceed the likely benefits.Perhaps a few faculty and administrators will be radicalized, in a libertarian way.
Some damage has already been done. The Department of Education published a list of 55 colleges and universities under investigation – the first time such a disclosure has been made voluntarily. The targets include schools where students have filed a complaint with the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights, and some where there has been no such charge.
Being stigmatized as a campus where sexual assault is a problem could prompt anxious parents – especially those from Asia, for instance, who historically have favored all-women’s schools like Wellesley - to steer their daughters elsewhere. Funders may also shy away, questioning school leadership.
As Milt Rosenberg puts it, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.