A Slippery Definition of Rape Is Likely at Top Schools

June 24, 2014

By KC Johnson at Minding the Campus

recently looked at the inconsistent and in some cases outright arbitrary ways the nation’s leading universities are defining one form of campus sexual assault—rape that occurs because the accuser cannot consent. The piece made three points: (1) a substantial minority of schools have a definition of sexual assault that technically applies to many instances of intercourse in which the parties have been drinking but are in no way incapacitated; (2) because holding disciplinary charges along these terms would lead to hundreds of sexual assault cases annually, the standards are applied only in an arbitrary manner, with no way that the accused student (such as Lewis McLeod at Duke or Peter Yu at Vassar) could reasonably have known that he would be branded a rapist by his school; and (3) because of pressure from “activists” and to some extent the federal government, it’s likely that in a few years a strong majority of the U.S. News & World Report top schools will define sexual assault in this confusing manner...