Campus Kangaroo Courts
The Underside of “Affirmative Consent”

California’s new law establishing strict standards for college students’ sexual activity has been lampooned for applying legalism to the libido. But the consequences for those who run afoul of the new policies are no laughing matter.

Published on: October 19, 2014
Masha Gershmanis a writer living in Newton, MA.
show comments
  • Corlyss

    If cretins weren’t running the country, it would be time for DoJ to step in and stop this madness. But in reality, the cretins are causing this situation. The next administration, assuming the stupid voters have had enough of amateurish Dimocrats, will have to have 3 term JUST to undo the damage done by the toxic blowhards they installed for 8 years.

    • FriendlyGoat

      OF COURSE Mitt Romney’s first priority in the next administration would be to make sure young college men don’t get in trouble for doing girls while drunk. He has been campaigning on that VERY thing for years and years, right?

      • Corlyss

        What’s your point? I guess you don’t believe Romney when he says he won’t run. Why would he? The problem with both parties is they can’t field credible candidates. Thanks a lot, Boomers (the most moral-, integrity-, and common sense-challenged generation yet produced by this nation)

        • FriendlyGoat

          My point is that you were implying the next administration would repeal “yes means yes” from society. I don’t think that’s on Romney’s agenda (if he runs), or Santorum’s, or Huckabee’s, or Ryan’s, or even those of Christie, Walker, Cruz or Bush, for that matter. I mean, can you IMAGINE them explaining that “platform necessity” to the church voters?

          • Attart

            This isn’t a church issue-not even the church would monitor sex between a man and a woman, much less a married couple. This is a Libertarian issue: get the government out of our personal lives. It is frightening that the Democrats have now become the super-regulators.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, but “libertarians” are an almost irrelevant force in politics. The far lefties drive the Democratic side and the church people drive the Republican side.

    • mitchbetterhavemybunny

      Well we’re a long ways away from recovering from the WBush admin, so your premise is right. The economy still hasn’t bounced back fully, despite steady progress, our deficits, while decreasing, are still nowhere as favorable as the Clinton years, and, oh yeah, there’s now an Islamic caliphate in Iraq where we once had a secular dictatorship, thanks to a money-and-hubris driven foreign policy.

  • Tom

    Of course, if these people were at all consistent, then if both parties were three sheets to the wind, then both parties would be rape victims.
    As they are not consistent, the male will be treated as though he were stone-cold sober.
    And I’d also like say that, while “if the question even arises they’re too drunk” might be a good ethical standard, it’s a lousy legal one.

  • Fat_Man

    Sometimes you just have to stand back and let liberals make a complete muck of things, like Obamacare. It is only this type of nonsense that will teach people that liberals should not be allowed to run anything more complicated than a three year old’s birthday party.

    “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.”
    Edmund Burke, Letter i. On a Regicide Peace. Vol. v. p. 331.
    http://www.bartleby.com/100/276.41.html

    • asehpe

      Of course, the fact that Obamacare is actually working, and even saving money, doesn’t change your opinion…

      • Fat_Man

        Obamacare is working only if you use certain values of working in the complex plane.

  • stanbrown

    No sane person can support this garbage. The only reason that Democrat voters support these totalitarian control freaks is because the media has convinced voters that anyone who isn’t a Democrat is evil. Seriously evil — as in racist, sexist, etc (throw in every slander imaginable plus a few more).

    Imagine how totally different the country would be with an honest news media.

    • DukeLax

      These American media protocols are called the “Media Lace curtain”.

      So, now that American law enforcement are being paid federal dollars and grants to re-define what the meanings of is, is; in order to manufacture the statistics gender-feminists want….and you mix these manufactured statistics with the “Media Lace curtain” , and what you get is such a mass hysteria Inflamed into society …….that hetero-relationships become a legal liability for the male.
      What are the long term effects of a society turning hetero-relationships into a legal liability for the male??? we are slowly finding out!!

  • FriendlyGoat

    Male students have always been wise to, quite literally, hang on to their britches.

    • Jennifer

      Ironically for the feminists who support this law, I see off-campus prostitution getting a huge boost and those sexually empowered female college students finding themselves unable to get laid.

      • FriendlyGoat

        There ARE worse problems than the second half of your last sentence, right?

      • John Durant

        Well boo friggity hoo for them. They made their bed, now they can lie in it. Any male in college would be a fool to have sexual relations these days. They would be better doing what they are in college for in the first place, keeping their noses in their books and making a future for themselves.

  • johngbarker

    Perhaps all sex acts should be recorded and sent to the cloud for instant replay when an accusation is made. I see a new industry in the making. Safe sex through technology.

  • gbp41

    It is funny to think what the result of this law is going to be. In order to be truly safe, there will need to be some neutral third party collecting the affirmative consents. Otherwise the woman can simply deny that she consented. So an app will need to be invented to keep track of every time a woman gives consent. And then someone will create a second app that will allow a guy to look up and see how many times and with whom a perspective partner has already given consent. The guy will know if she is easy and if she too experienced to think about dating.
    That will truly be a big step backwards for women.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Did you forget the app women might create to keep track of the guys who are claiming they were given consent (you know, all that data that would power your first app)?

      • Corlyss

        I suspect you’re tying to be funny. Don’t give up your day job.

  • Hard truths

    So, let me get this straight…in order to combat a campus rape “epidemic” (which looks more like a moral panic ginned up for political purposes in an election year the closer one looks at it…) basic civil liberties like due process, the right to confront ones accuser or innocent until prove guilty must be pushed by the wayside? Orwell was right, “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.”

    Here’s whats actually gonna happen…a lot of young men are going to find their lives needlessly ruined. They will be expelled from higher education (and thus likely forfeiting any hope of a future) or may even end up in prison for crimes that are not crimes. This will have all kinds of unintended consequences. First, it will cause large numbers of young men to view women and relationships in a negative light. Misogynists are not born, they are made, and if they didn’t dislike women before, then they most certainly will afterwards.

    Second, colleges can expect an increased decline in enrollment. Imagine you are a parent of a son about to graduate from high school. You are considering college, but know that his civil liberties will disappear the moment he steps on campus. Why take the risk? There are alternatives – community college, MOOC’s, going into a trade. Colleges and universities will effectively alienate half of their customer base. Who wants to send their son to a place where a drunken hookup could result in jail time?

    Third, the civil rights implications of this are immense. Expect lawsuits by score, with the schools in questions facing severe penalties when – not if – they lose.

    Finally, there will be a racial element in this law, no matter what the intent. Does anyone really thing that young black men will not be disproportionately affected by this? The vile stereotype of the black male as a sexual predator goes back far in our history, and has not gone away. It has resulted in many cases of innocent men being sent to prison (and in the days when Jim Crow was still around, riots, lynchings and the burning down of entire towns.) Take racial stereotypes (and in my experience white liberals can be among the most racist people about, especially after they’ve had a few drinks in them…) add young people away from home for the first time in their lives, throw in copious amounts of alcohol and a campus culture where sexual activity is not only allowed but encourage, followed by morning after regrets or memories fogged by booze and a witchhunt mentality on campus. What follows will be very ugly.

    In other words, this law is a very bad idea. And liberals prove hypocrites by supporting it.

  • Jerome Ogden

    Reading about this grotesque perversion of due process calls to mind that 1968 cult classic, “The Witchfinder General,” in which Vincent Price wanders the 17th century English countryside with absolute power to torture and kill any female he deems to be a witch (available in full on Youtube.)

    The same lawless landscape now pervades American universities, except all the witches seem to be male and the charge is not witchcraft, but sexual assault. The torture is mental, not physical, and the maiming is of a student’s future, not his body, but otherwise it is exactly the same kind of arbitrary and capricious dispensation of “justice.”

    • DukeLax

      interesting, now i gotta go get “The witch finder General”

  • Chris_8304

    The institutions, in order to avoid liability in the inevitable lawsuits that will result from this, will be forced to ban alcohol on campus and get rid of same sex dorms. I wish I could go back to my college days in the seventies and tell my lefty friends that they would grow up to require permission slips for sex, ban alcohol and same sex dorms on the campuses that they would run.

  • Curious Mayhem

    This is the same depressing and inadequate response that we saw in the 90s to the rise of speech codes on campuses. Outsiders ridiculed the codes, but the ridicule was ineffective in stopping them. Only two decades of law suits and other legal action have stopped their spread and partly defnaged them. They remain a dark episode in the history of American universities and, even now, a threat to freedom of speech and thought.

    The same applies here, even more so. This development is an outrageous usurpation of the rule of law, the replacement of law-making bodies, police, judges, and juries with administrative and bureaucratic fiat of zero legitimacy.

    Anyone on a campus (who is an adult, over 18), if assaulted sexually or otherwise, can do what other adults do: call the police. The legimate powers of the state to protect crime victims are invoked then. If someone is accused of a crime, the legimate powers of the state and legal protections of the accused come into play.

    With the kangaroo star chamber approach here, no different from the speech codes, a legal void has opened up in American life: campuses are now law-free zones, where administrative decree rules.

    Add to this the phony statistics used to foment another fake hysteria about a non-problem: there is no epidemic of rape on American campuses. The FBI and police numbers show a continuning decline in violent crime in the US — in fact, the rate of violent crime has reached a 50-year low.

    Years from now, once the facts are clear, we will have here, as with the fake “satanic ritual abuse” accusations of the 1980s and 90s, a lot of ruined lives, deep regrets, belated and quiet apologies from the media for being a party to this, and — eventually — ruined careers of university administrators and their trashed institutions.

    P.S. Had enough of the Obama era? This is just the 1990s PC movement translated into federal power. It’s time for a “color” revolution in America, one that openly rejects the legitimacy of our current post-liberal regime and the news media that props it up.

    Start living in truth, and tell the truth. The dissidents of the Soviet bloc did it in the 1970s and 80s. We can and need to do it here.

  • Will

    Isn’t this a textbook definition of the government forces itself into peoples bedrooms? I thought feminists were against that?

    • John D

      Feminists are for whatever hurts men and destroys the “evil patriarchy” and they will do whatever they need to in order to accomplish that.

    • Sparafucile

      Any means that makes a rape accuser’s word inviolable, and the accused’s defense impossible is a means to advance feminism.

  • stanbrown

    If my son were in college in Cal, I would advise him to date only girls who were not students at his school. As for those girls on campus, it would be incredibly risky to talk to or even look at one. Remember, all accusations are presumed true and he has to prove his innocence. The more bizarre and dishonest the accusation, the more difficult it is to disprove. Don’t make enemies with a girl on campus. Don’t even give them an opening.

    Have a well-known policy of total non-engagement with girls on campus and you can parade witnesses who can testify that the slanderous accusation is unlikely to be true because you have never had any dealings with a girl on campus.

  • Boritz

    This is all from an episode of Beavis and Butthead, right?

  • Just call me Joe

    This is little different than the days of the Inquisitors, roaming Europe, going into a town, asking who was a witch or a heretic. Someone says, “He is!” and because no one could falsely accuse someone, that would be a sin, the poor fellow is given a choice: Name others and death by dry wood. Don’t, and death by green wood.

    Maybe this is the retaliation for Salem, when mob hysteria led to the execution of many poor girls and women.

    No different. The Inquisition is back.

    • Bob

      Inquisitions have always been with us. We marvel at the “ignorance” of the witch-burners of centuries past, confident that in our modern, enlightened age, that sort of thing could never happen now. Fortunately, that’s partly true. No college man accused of violating the policy will find himself incinerated.

      But, the age-old desire to “root out” and destroy the “undesirables” will ever be with us. Every era seems to have its high-minded and low-cunning cause. Eugenics, the Red Scare, the assault on global warming “denialists” (now there are some really bad people), etc, etc..And the relatively few who are truly guilty of sexual assault, the people, almost entirely men, against whom these regulations are really intended, will go on getting away with it just the same. The lesser offenders and the innocent are the ones who will fall before the Justice of the Inquisition.

      As much as I abhor these silly rules, I do think they might serve to throw cold water on some of the sexual activity which goes on at college. And that might just be a good thing in terms of changing people’s focus during their college years, cutting down on some abortion, and so on.

      Still, the irony is too delicious to ignore. Women’s Liberation was, among other things, about breaking the back of chivalry, the implication that women were to be respected and protected though not really considered equals. Now they require the force of the state to secure that protection. But that no more guarantees they will be considered “equals” than it ever did.

  • Montanagirl1

    This happened in my town to an outstanding member of the football team. He was tried by the university court system, with the intervention of the DOJ and Holder who “enforce” Title IX violations and was found guilty and expelled. He went to sue the school in civil trial and was found not guilty. It was found that the female had “exaggerated” what had happened. The guy who went through this nitghtmare went on to be accepted back at his school and played football for the school. This one had a good ending, most do not. Why would anyone risk their sons future by sending them to a college or university these days?

  • CailinM

    I wonder if they’ve given any thought to same sex couples.

  • CJ Glickman

    mark my words rape will really happen now violence will rise these type of laws is what breeds violence if a guy or anyone wants to rape they will this law means nothing other then punishing good law abiding people who want to get laid mark my words women will abuse this loop hold to more and more innocent men and boys will be fucked over because of this law

  • Emilio Lizardo

    What’s not appreciated here is that the state has limited the decision making of both men and women, and pathologized sex. No contract involving sex is valid. No one can make any agreement outside the government stated rules.

    These are the old Antioch Rules come to an unholy life as gender Marxists age into power.

    The silver lining is that it’s now easy for girls to be rapists. Make sure to report her to the authorities, before she reports you.

    Expect more future triumphs for the Anti Sex League.

  • We’ve been giving degrees to morons, now we have morons making law.

    How about we raise the expectations in education again. No more “everybody gets an ‘A’ so no one feels left out.”

  • “Supporters of the bill, like Sarah Green, Title IX
    officer at Gonzaga University, believe that it eliminates ambiguity and
    serves to educate students about appropriate sexual interactions. “It
    opens the dialogue more and it gives a real framework for what
    appropriate sexual relationships should be. And you don’t get the
    ambiguous, ‘well, she didn’t say no so it was consent,’” Green says.” Since when does an outside authority get to dictate “appropriate” sexual interactions to *adults*? Or is the whole point of this legislation to codify extended adolescence in students? At what point will we raise the “age of consent”–meaning that a fully-fledged adult is allowed to define his or her own definition of “appropriate sexual interactions” as negotiated with other fully-fledged adults–to 30?

  • asehpe

    I don’t think the people who propose such initiatives are evil. I think they suffer from a very old cognitive problem: the idea that it is possible to regulate good and bad behavior in all situations, that there is some objective definition that we can adhere to and which will always work, always protect the innocent and punish the wicked.

    Reality being as it is, this is never really true. Not only for sex: for any crimes, physical, economical, emotional or otherwise.

    The attempt to protect the victims will eventually allow bad people to victimize others by accusing them of criminal activity. This will create a new class of victims, who will eventually need again special legal protection, which they will fight for and eventually win. Which will then make the original victims again more vunerable and in need of more legal protection, which they will fight for and eventually win. And on and on it goes, as if we really believed that it is possible to devise laws that will ‘solve’ a problem (‘how can we protect 100% of the victims and punish 100% of the perpetrators?’) that, given the complexity of reality, is ultimately unsolvable.

    Too many laws = too many new oppressors = too many new victims.
    Too few laws = too many traditional oppressors = too many traditional victims.

    What is ‘just enough laws’? We don’t know, and we keep going round and round, searching for a golden middle… and mistakenly believing that the ‘golden middle’ is when justice is 100% satisfied, rather than simply 80% or 90%.

    As always, it’s the belief in the illusory possibility of paradise that brings about hell on earth…

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2018 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.