By Greg Piper at The College Fix
College Fix readers are undoubtedly aware of the Occidental College sexual-assault case, which we’ve covered several times as a prime example of the near-impossibility of male students defending themselves against accusations even when hard evidence is solidly in their favor.
Even when their accusers appear to have initiated sexual relations.
One due-process lawsuit and one Department of Education complaint later, the accused student “John Doe” has filed a second lawsuit against Occidental, this time claiming it discriminated against him based on his gender, City News Service reports:
The current suit alleges Title IX violations and maintains Occidental’s discipline of Doe occurred in part because of “internal and external forces demanding Occidental find more male students responsible for sexually assaulting female students.”
The complaint states that colleges and universities have been under pressure from the federal Department of Education’s Office [for] Civil Rights to address sexual violence on campus or face the withholding of federal education money.
His accuser is herself accused of initiating the sex – a claim validated by the investigator the school appointed – making this case different from many others where the parties either agreed the man initiated or neither could remember because they were so drunk.
Occidentally ultimately ruled that despite the female partner initiating, she was drunk, so she couldn’t consent.
This may be where the Title IX claim pays off.
Why Title IX rarely works
Historically Title IX claims by accused men have not done well in court: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education tabulated six rulings just in 2015 that struck down those claims.
One judge, for example, did not see gender bias in Columbia University’s wildly divergent treatment of an accuser and accused student, the latter of whom was kept in the dark about the entire investigation and harshly interrogated.
Brandeis University was so confident that a gay student’s Title IX claims against the school would fail that it practically bragged in a filing that it could discriminate against accused students (i.e., men) to its heart’s content.
One of the few rulings that let an accused student’s Title IX claim proceed came down just this summer, and it involved an accuser whose rape claims came several months after their encounter – curiously, right after she worked at a women’s clinic and heard a lecture about “gray rape.”
The drunk factor
Schools have rarely gone easy on men accused of sexual assault on the basis that they were drunk. When both partners were drunk, schools still hold men accountable for allegedly nonconsensual sex while ruling that women can’t consent by definition.
This concept showed up in a much-mocked poster at Coastal Carolina University that baldly stated that drunk men are guilty of rape and drunk women aren’t. Most schools aren’t that dumb to write down their plainly discriminatory treatment of men (CCU’s new poster now simply says sex must be “sober” and “enthusiastic” or it’s rape, without identifying the rapist).
Occidental, however, judged that the female accuser could not be culpable – despite initiating the sex (traditionally the male role) – because she was drunk. That’s the exact oppositeconclusion that it and other colleges draw when they deal with a male student who initiated and was drunk.
The judge hearing the case would not be going out on a limb to notice that Occidental is treating men as men differently than women as women, not just men as accused differently than women as accusers.
Never initiate the sex
Would such a finding create a persuasive new precedent that other judges would adopt when they hear cases with similar factual records? Perhaps.
Even if judges start showing more skepticism toward how schools run their investigations, there may be no good takeaway for students at highest risk of being accused of sexual assault – straight men, and men of color in particular.
They can make their partners initiate the sex and document that initiation via text, as happened in the Occidental case. It’s probably better if both parties are sober so the school can’t claim that the female was incapacitated (certainly that’s the instruction on this warning flyer floating around online).
A truly cunning man with no moral reservations could pretend to drink the entire night as his partner continues ordering herself drinks, document the entire sexless evening, and then accuse her of assault months later when her memory is too foggy to put up a viable defense.
His college would be in a bind because the gender roles would be completely reversed. If it tried to instead punish him for assault (or even dismissed his complaint), the college would be acting purely because of his gender, setting up the perfect test case to show how colleges judge men the same regardless of the evidence against them.
Such an elaborate plan is so unconscionable it could only be carried out by a radical feminist – and readily believed by Congressman Jared Polis.
Schools: Occidental College