The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
The Secret War on Men?

Dr. Helen Smith highlights an explosive topic that few want to talk about openly: discrimination against male students on college campuses. As Dr. Helen notes, university policies on sexual misconduct, as well as societal bias, are putting many college men in the hot seat, but few seem to care:

The discrimination will continue because there is no push back. If 5-10 percent of men fought back, stood up and started realizing that men’s rights are human rights and that they are not victims for daring to believe that their voices in gender and reproductive equality are just as important as a woman’s is, then maybe things will start to change. Until then, the kangaroo courts and angry feminists will have their day.

The “Kangaroo Courts” she refers to are the result of new university regulations pushed by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in 2011 for adjudicated cases of sexual harassment or sexual violence. The regulations allow universities to circumvent due process laws and other standards of the criminal justice system. Colleges need only show a “preponderance of evidence” (50.01 percent) that an assault occurred rather than the usual criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In other words, a student must, in the judgment of a campus tribunal, “more likely than not” have committed the assault. And normal procedures of discovery and evidence gathering also fall by the wayside. According to Stephen Henrick at HuffPo“there are no rules of procedure that give the accused access to anything that could disprove the allegations against him or her.” Universities can even accept hearsay as evidence.

At least 30 instutitions, including Yale, Cornell, and Stanford, now employ these new regulations. Data on false accusations are a mixed bag. Some studies claim that 2-8 percent of rape reports are false, whereas others insist that the numbers are much higher. What is clear, however, is that this reduction in safeguards has led to serious mistakes. A University of North Dakota student, convicted of sexual assault and kicked off campus, was recently allowed back when the charges against him were proven false and his accuser charged with making a false report. Charges of rape against a male student at Cornell were later thrown out when police discovered “irrefutable evidence” (in the form of video footage) of his innocence. And a widely publicized case at Brown University, involving the daughter of a wealthy alum, implicated a number of university administrators in misconduct to secure a conviction against the accused male student.

This is tricky territory. As a professor, I’ve dealt with young women who have been victimized by both student and non-student attackers. The emotional consequences for these students were severe and in some cases impacted their ability to complete their studies at the school where these problems occurred. Protection of young people from sexual assault on our campuses is a real issue and one that has real consequences for real lives.

Many campuses in America today are anything but ideal environments for young people taking their first real steps into the world of adulthood. The overdose of sexual stimulation in commercials and popular entertainment, the toxic signals about what is acceptable emanating from Hollywood and the celebrity community, and the intersection of heavy drug use, tolerated binge drinking, and the hook up culture have turned many campuses into genuinely toxic environments for young people experimenting with adult identities and sexual choices. Both young men and women can be disoriented and confused in the sometimes bizarre and dysfunctional world America has created to house its young people during a critical time of life.

Accusations of sexual violence and sexual assault should never be taken lightly. But neither should accusations be taken as truth. America is a country based on rights and fair procedure. Those accused of serious offenses must not be deprived of their rights, and college authorities cannot, in their commendable desire to protect female students, deny male students their basic rights. Both male and female students must feel that their rights will be protected and that they will be treated equally by their university should conflict arise.

No matter what happens, communities of young people in their teens and twenties are going to witness the consequences of poor judgment and crossed signals. The old norm, in which victims were expected to shut up and move on, was deeply unjust for young women. Feminists are absolutely right to want that to change. But the reality is that creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere on campus involves more than coming down like a ton of bricks on any young man accused of crossing the line. It involves much more adult leadership and guidance about responsible sexual behavior, and it involves a deeper commitment to the moral leadership and development of youth than most academics are comfortable thinking about.

American college life today has gone seriously wrong, and vulnerable young people, both male and female, are paying a heavy price for the failure. Abandoning our commitment to ideas like the presumption of innocence will not fix what is wrong on the campus today.

Published on April 23, 2013 5:00 pm
  • http://twitter.com/BlatonHardey Blaton Hardey

    Check out “The Hunt” with Mads Mikkelsen. The scene is not campus but kindergarten. But it’s the same bitter poison of false accusation and ill will towards the accused man. http://akas.imdb.com/title/tt2106476/

    To ease this tense atmosphere, 1) take all sexual accusations to court, 2) loudly call false accusers on their [explicit].

    But as long as students keep the officials out of their private matters, they can happily live in sin and enjoy life :)

  • Anthony

    What does this deeper commitment to moral leadership and development look like (and where does it begin as well as receive reinforcement)? See Adam Garfinkle’s Hey You’re Truly Unlimited: Didn’t You Know? Adam writes about reciprocal standards and expectations.

  • Jim Luebke

    Anyone thought about draining the toxic swamp, by pushing for standards of behavior that were successfully held in place for centuries?

    • http://twitter.com/FedFanForever Alex

      No way man. The hookup culture is to be encouraged by the Sandra Flukes of the world. They worship it.

      • Jim Luebke

        You know, calling them “people who participate in the hookup culture” is kind of cumbersome.

        We should just call them “hookers” for short.

  • Bruno_Behrend

    Students should simply boycott the schools that practice this drivel.

  • khm001

    The “Kangaroo Courts” she refers to are the result of new university regulations pushed by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in 2011

    The “Kangaroo Courts” are not new. I experienced them first hand in 1994. And witnessed similar things in the military in the late 1990′s.

    The American culture has been misandristic far longer than two years.

  • RLK

    The answer is simpler still. The US Constitution grants rights to individuals NOT groups. So long as the law continues to grant “rights” to somebody based on his or her membership in a given group, this problem will continue and get worse. When accuser and accused are treated as individuals with equal stature before the law, the problem disappears. It is the group thumb on the scale that distorts the process.

    The same phenomenon can be seen in rush to hyphenate the use of the word “American.” Instead of being a generic American, anyone part of a hyphenated subgroup appears to have more “rights” than the rest of us.

    It is bollocks, of course, but prevalent nevertheless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dungeonmaster-Jim/100002480637891 Dungeonmaster Jim

    The answer is simple. Write legislation that forces any college that gets state or federal funding to 1) have all hearings conducted in public 2) allow counsel, especially lawyers, for the defense 3) follow the Federal rules of evidence and procedure 4) that includes crosexamining witnesses 4) allow recording of procedures 5) have all hearings before a neutral arbitrator (which discounts womyns’ (sic) studies harridans
    Oh, and violation of any of the above will be a felony- not just a tort. I want professors and deans in PMITA prison.
    Also junk speech codes. They take money from Congress they have to pay the price.

  • JWJ

    I still do not understand how it is constitutional to have a parallel court system in the universities that dishes out real punishment (expelling students) and does not allow due process?

    Does anybody have a reference to court cases where this was supposedly ruled ok?”

    • http://www.tempeteaparty.org Lee Reynolds

      The simple answer is that a university can expel someone at its own discretion. Nut-jobs at a particular university could seize control of the administration and start pulling this crap, at which point people would leave and go to school somewhere else.

      The problem is that leftists within the federal government are maliciously mis-interpreting Title IX legislation as REQUIRING universities to deploy these kangaroo courts.

      If I were a young person today, I’d avoid traditional universities like the plague.

  • Michelle

    A very similar pattern in Canadian “human rights” tribunals, where accused persons are more or less required to prove their innocence. In Canada, accusers cast a much broader net–”hate speech” is frequently at issue–but there is a similar sacrifice of due process in the interest of protecting “victimized classes” of people.

    • http://www.tempeteaparty.org Lee Reynolds

      Victimized CLASSES of people?

      I really do think leftism is not only a mental illness, but a moral one as well.

  • Caleb50

    As far as kangaroo courts are concerned, I would give this advice to all male college students. Do not have sex with anybody ever while on campus. Never ever kiss another student. Do not have a girlfriend who is also a student. Do not, ever, ask a student out on a date as that may be viewed as an unwanted sexual advance. Do not dance with a girl on campus ever, especially if the dance involves touching. All of these things are too dangerous. If you want sex, use an on-line dating site and go very far from campus on your date. Stay away from campus. Keep your sex life and your campus life completely separate. The stakes are just too high and campus officials, including and most especially student affairs administrators are your enemy. Do not trust them, ever. You are paying a huge amount of money to get an education and a degree. These people can take it all away on nothing more than a whim. Your life will be ruined and you have no recourse. DO NOT HAVE SEX ON CAMPUS EVER. NEVER be alone with a girl on campus. If a girl is in your room, keep your door open. Protect yourself and your future. Be vigilant.