Jackie’s story of fraternity rape at UVA remains an exception in that it was exposed as false beyond any reasonable doubt. But Sulkowicz’s claims look increasingly unlikely, especially since her new interviews point strongly to habitual mendacity. (A recent Daily Beast story quotes her as saying that it was Nungesser, not she, who publicized his identity—even though there is an extensive record of her admitted efforts to make his name public.) Several of the stories featured in the 2015 campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground have been effectively debunked in critiques by the veteran journalist Emily Yoffe, the legal scholar Stuart Taylor Jr., and the Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk.
If rape culture in America is real, why does the case for it rest on so much fabulism?
CATHY YOUNG: Betsy DeVos is right about campus sexual assault. “Why the fury? DeVos offered a full-throated defense of due process, asserting that ‘every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously’ but “every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined. It is the right message, whatever one thinks of the messenger.”
FROM USA TODAY, A STRONG EDITORIAL IN FAVOR OF BETSY DEVOS’S CHANGES: Campus rape cases don’t deserve second-class justice. “Sexual assaults are serious crimes best handled by the criminal justice system. The most stringent punishment schools can order is expulsion. That can be appropriate for cheating on a term paper, but not for rape. . . . At the same time, when universities employ tribunals or other quasi-judicial systems, they have an obligation to follow due process.”
EMILY YOFFE: The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy: At many schools, the rules intended to protect victims of sexual assault mean students have lost their right to due process—and an accusation of wrongdoing can derail a person’s entire college education. “The way in which Bonsu’s case was handled may seem perverse, but many of the university’s actions—the interim restrictions, the full-bore investigation and adjudication even though R.M.’s own statement does not describe a sexual assault—were mandated or strongly encouraged by federal rules that govern the handling of sexual assault allegations on campus today. These rules proliferated during the Obama administration, as did threats of sanctions if schools didn’t follow them precisely. The impulse behind them was noble and necessary—sexual assault is a scourge that should not be tolerated in any society, much less by institutions of higher learning. But taken in sum, these directives have left a mess of a system, and many unintended consequences.”