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Hello, She Lied

In a better world, the horrible travails of the Duke lacrosse team would have led colleges and universities across the country to do more to protect young men from having their reputations destroyed and their lives ruined by false accusations of sexual misconduct. But if anything, young men have been losing procedural safeguards and the presumption of innocence since then as poorly designed programs aimed to deter unwanted sexual advances and contacts on campus spiral towards the surreal.

If anybody still doubted that false accusations can and do happen, this week’s story from the University of Wyoming should make it clear. An anonymous note, posted to Facebook group “UW Crushes” and threatening sexual violence against University of Wyoming senior Meg Lanker-Simons, was determined by police to have been written by Simons herself.

The Billings Gazette reports:

“I want to hatef— Meg Lanker- so hard,” the Facebook post read. “That chick that runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its hot and it makes me angry. One night with me and she’s gonna be a good Republican b—-.”

The post sparked a fairly typical frenzy of controversy on the UW campus, as students gathered to protest on campus and police quickly began an investigation to locate the author. Police cited Lanker-Simons for a misdemeanor interference with a police investigation after examining her computer and determining that she herself had written the post. Lanker-Simons denies the charges and we wish her all the best in court… and we wouldn’t deny her the presumption of innocence and all the procedural safeguards our legal system affords. Perhaps she’s been falsely accused of lying about sex, or perhaps she’s made a false accusation that something occurred. We don’t know, we don’t think a young man accused of something wrong should have less protection than Lanker-Simons deserves.

If this were a typical case of a young man being accused by a young woman at many colleges, the accuser would only need to show, for example, a “preponderance of evidence” (50.01 percent) that the accused committed the crime. And standard procedures of discovery and evidence gathering are also removed from the process, so the accused has less ability to mount a defense as well as facing a lower threshold for a determination of guilt. These university hearings aren’t legal proceedings and nobody goes to jail as a result of them… but the impact on young lives can be as severe as that resulting from a misdemeanor conviction.

As we’ve said before, this is tricky territory. There is a legitimate concern about inappropriate sexual behavior on American campuses, and late adolescence is not in any case the time of life when most of us are at the peak of our moral development. In the old days university administrators went to great lengths to guard against inappropriate sexual behavior, keeping the sexes in separate dorms, limiting visiting hours, treating alcohol abuse or even use as grounds for expulsion and limiting even consensual sexual behavior among students.

For a variety of reasons, mostly good but some perhaps less wise, society has been moving away from this approach to undergraduate sex. That’s a choice students, parents and administrators should be free to make, but it is morally wrong and educationally unwise to base the new policy on a system that is fundamentally unfair to half (or slightly less, as young men these days are not going to college as often as young women) the student body.


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  • Luke Lea

    The worst thing about the Duke Lacrosse case, by far, was the New York Times’ coverage — for which they never apologized so far as I know. The Trayvon Martin case is not that different. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good (political-correctly speaking) story.

    The Wyoming hoax is only the latest in a long line of similar hoaxes. The one I remember best was at Pitzer:

    If activists have to stoop that low maybe it’s a sign that the problems aren’t that common.

    • Andrew Allison

      It is, of course, despicable that (as in last week’s fake AP tweet), nobody bothered to substantiate the claim before going ballistic. Surely, “If it’s onlie, er online, it must be true” is the real issue here. Maybe its time to rephrase a wise comment: Don’t trust, verify.

    • Kavanna

      Yes, and the Department of Education and the public schools should be hit with a wide array of civil suits to stop this. The DoE should be out of this altogether. More PC, censorship, and thought control in Obamerica.

  • Critical Eye

    If a man had written those comments, we’d hear endless disapproval, with complaints about how the speech, even if legal, created a hostile environment and interfered with the University’s mission. With the alleged fraud exposed, could we now hear complaints about how her carefully orchestrated “spontaneous” response to the speech creates a hostile environment and interferes with the University’s mission?

  • teapartydoc

    The politically incorrect are guilty until, well, just guilty. No pretense of a presumption of innocense in the world according to Crowley, Dewey, and Marx, the trinity of the liberal church.

  • Bruce Hayden

    I think that part of the absurdity here is that this woman was taken seriously in the first place. What appears to be a noticeably overweight married woman being sexually harassed in that way in the midst of all of the those much more appealing unmarried co-eds should have rung alarm bells. She would logically be one of the last women on that campus sexually harassed, as she would have been effectively invisible to most of the males on campus. But, of course, that wouldn’t have been in the narrative.

  • Rules4Radicals

    Most large universities have a contingent of these (paid?) Think Progress thugs like this Meg Lanker monster. They endlessly lie and terrorize campus civil life.

  • cheeflo

    I read that she admitted it.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    If my kids ever go to Duke, I’ll instruct them to avoid the professors who signed that manifesto denouncing on political grounds the lacrosse team. Charlatans…

  • Patrick Donnelly

    It seems like a preponderance of evidence means that, assuming their words are considered equal (50/50), it takes only .1% worth of evidence to eject a man from college. So every man in college who comes into contact with the opposite sex is basically .1% away from being kicked out and branded a rapist by the local kangaroo court.

  • daveselvers

    Smear her reputation when proven guilty.
    Hateful racist bitch.

  • UncleElmer

    Lay off for God’s sake. It was a cry for help. She obviously craves a Republican man.

  • Jacob

    Not for nothing but you notice how all the accusers happen to be black ? Just wondering why that is. Oh I forgot, they’re taking over with their racist liberal agenda. And what do they get in return from the democraps? The usual. Nothing !!! LMAO

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