Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A story with no one to root for

She cries rape. He's expelled. But the judicial process wasn't exactly pristine in the case.

Another one handled abysmally by the school. The DMN has the story today.

I typically heard one of these stories--or one very similar-- every semester. Completely changed my mind about "date rape." If you drink to excess, you give up your power. That's how I see it.

And ladies, never accept rides from strangers. Even if they're harmless looking business majors.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why no daughter of mine would ever go to a frat party. On the other hand, I am surprised that since the guy was a fratboy that he didn't have the social skills to gladhand his way out of this mess.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drinking to excess is an incredibly stupid choice. However, choosing to have sex with someone who is so intoxicated that they have no ability to consent or resist is criminal. This case seems particularly messy and incomplete. BUT that does not mean that we should reconfigure the definition of date rape. If we were to deny women who had been raped while intoxicated the ability to press charges because of their irresponsibility we would be setting back women's legal rights several decades. Intoxication is not a free pass for rape nor is it a free pass for false accusations of rape. I agree that intoxication is a dangerous choice... a choice that I personally would avoid.

But is there a solution to this persistent problem? We can't ban alcohol (Prohibition was't exactly a success) on campuses. We can't control every aspect of student life... and educational seminars on these issues don't appear to be doing much good. SMU seems to have so many substance abuse problems and no permanent or effective solutions to them. Will the student body eventually become completely jaded to the issue? Or will they take action against it?

Eastern Seaboard Female College Student

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, it never says he's IN a fraternity, so before we blame fraternity men, it's important to remember that a lot of men are accused of rape, greek or not. I've found that the fraternity men I've met are just as respectful as, or even more respectful of me than, the other men on campus.

I think having sex while one person is too drunk to consent IS rape. No, women shouldn't overdrink like that, have consensual sex, then regret it the next morning and call it rape. But if I for some reason overdrink and have sex with a guy I've said no to several times before and made it clear in the past I did not want to consent in sex, then he had sex with me while I was drunk, would that be rape? (Sorry, that was a run-on sentence, but you get the drift.)

I realize that's a different situation, but it was a question I wanted to throw out there. I don't necessarily disagree with you, Prof -- especially in this situation -- but it's just a big grey area.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who has ever dealt with SMU judical (on any level) or any other situation like this knows that this kid is not telling the whole truth. The judicial process is completely worthless and if anything biased towards the accused.

And suing on the ground that out of state tuition in Arizona costs more than SMU? Now that is just buullllshhhiitt...

-Former RA

11:26 PM  
Blogger Mike M. said...

If you will read the complaint that the student filed in Court, I think it is his position that the girl was not intoxicated at all. Of course, those are allegations, not facts, but the core of his complaint is that despite promising an impartial tribunal, SMU did not do so.

Indeed, if I read the complaint correctly, he internally appealed his suspension and SMU conceded that there were "significant procedural irregularities that denied the accused a fair hearing;" that "the evidence . . . was clearly insufficient to support the charge;" and "the sanction imposed was unreasonably harsh."

Given that, it seems that the "reduced" punishment was unjustified is the factual hearing was so fatally flawed. The only just result would have been to grant an de novo hearing or, if that was somehow not possible, to dismiss the charges.

Date rape is a serious crime, and a serious charge, and neither should not be taken lightly. But if SMU promises a fair hearing, and then finds that they have fallen woefully short of such a hearing, handing out substantial punishment without providing an subsequent fair hearing hardly seems fair.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Mike M. said...

Oh, by the way, the court complaint can be found here:

It is very factually detailed and makes for interesting reading.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very messy case, admittedly, and it was poorly handled on all levels. But personally I don't think we can blame this on the girl drinking to excess. By all accounts, she seemed sober.

I suspect she WAS slipped a date-rape drug. Probably in that last 'cranberry-tasting' drink.

Our adult daughter was in a club last year with a girlfriend. She had two cranberry-vodkas. She woke up the next morning in her bedroom, with red vomit spewed all over her walls, floor and bedspread. She didn't remember a thing after the second cranberry-vodka.

Turns out, a date rape drug had "probably" been slipped into either or both of her drinks, and she was subsequently taken home by a total stranger and raped, both vaginally and anally.

I say "probably" above, because it took nearly 24 hours after the incident for her to put the pieces together about what happened, based on talking to her girlfriend. She had no memory of anything.

By the time we snapped to the situation, filed the police report and got her to the hospital for the rape kit to be done, the date-rape drugs had left her system (GHB leaves in 12 hours, for example). But this stranger's semen hadn't. We have his DNA, but he's not in any of their criminal data bases. We have no recourse to prosecute this stranger, because no one knows who he is.

This girl "should" have filed a police report, then gone to the hospital to get a rape kit done. For an SMU student to complain that getting the results of a rape kit test is "too expensive" is rather ironic.

Our experience was that if you file a police report first, the rape kit is free of charge.

Of course, that didn't stop the hospital from charging us an extra $450 on top of the paid-for $750 charge for the rape kit, for the prophylactic antibiotics and morning-after pill she was given.

Rape is a horrific crime that can cause long-lasting mental and emotional problems in the victim. Maybe I'm a fossilized old lady, but I tend to think that rape is always the guy's fault, no matter how stupid or careless the girl is. He does, after all, wield the weapon.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous emkay said...

To the first anonymous commenter, you are very naive if you think your daughter will never ever go to a frat party in college. Maybe she won't tell you, but she probably will attend at least one.

And prof, where are all your entertaining stories? All I see when I come around is really depressing stuff about college students making really bad choices. I miss your humor.

11:23 AM  
Blogger AFM said...

I think it should always be rape. I've had too many friends date raped, raped while drinking with BUDDIES, etc to give a shit that one college guy may have gotten a bum rap.

If I could prosecute anyone who had been in my vagina at any time would men still rape?

idea courtesy of Twist at

And no I didn't read the story. It's not the female's fault cause she overdrinks.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suppose a guy is drunk and goes to bed with a girl who has had a crush on him for a long time, but with whom he does not want to have sex. Can he then accuse her of rape later for not "knowing", based on past experience, that he would never in a million years have slept with her if he weren't drunk?

Suppose they're both wasted and neither liked each other in the first place, but happened to be there while the other was drunk and horny? Did they rape each other, perhaps?

I agree that slipping date-rape drugs is illegal and rape, but I don't really see how the *same* wrong choice (to overdrink, then to have sex with someone who is undesirable while not drunk) is just stupid if the guy is drunk, but criminal if the woman or both are drunk.

For the record, I'm female.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Andrey said...

I hope this student wins. Sudan offers better due process of law than what this guy got.

If date rape drugs were used, I would have no objection against sending the guy to prison for the better part of his life.

If no date rape drugs were involved, I believe that it is every adult individual's responsibility to think for themselves and to manage their alcohol intake in order to have fun while retaining the ability to make reasonably rational decisions. Inability to pace yourself is not an excuse for whatever happens once you drink yourself past your mental limits.

Would I get excused on the account of drunkenness if I were to guzzle down ten shots of vodka, load my gun, and start slinging lead in random directions - something I would NEVER do when sober? Probably not.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like this frat boy didn't have a chance to "gladhand" his way out of the situation. Sounds like he got blind sided by a wanna be assistant dean of students, pretending to be a prosecuting attorney. Said she was a former advocate for the sexually asaulted?... and he wasn't allowed to give a complete closing statement? Come on SMU !

12:31 AM  
Anonymous lucille said...

Prof, I usually agree with you, plus I have an excellent dried potato bracelet you made. But "if you drink to excess, you give up your power," doesn't cut it. You may give up your power, but you don't give up your right not to be bodily violated. Sex you regret is another story, but I don't think you can just completely do an about-face on the issue.

Emkay, I have to say: if anon's daughters do what I did, i.e., purposefully choose a college without frats, they may very well not attend a frat party in college.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucille, I'm sure your daughter went to some kind of party - fraternity party or not. And generally, all college parties are the same atmosphere.

2:20 AM  
Anonymous lucille said...

Nope, I meant me, not my daughter (who is a toddler). I chose a school without frats and went to lots of parties, but there wasn't much out of control behavior. That was considered completely uncool, and also people looked out for one another. I guess that's what happens when you choose a school that's all full of itself over its social conscience. Nobody had much sex, alas, because dating was uncool too, and anyway everyone was questioning their sexual identity and blah blah blah. Irritating as hell, believe me, but better than frat parties. I'd been to one, once, at 14 if you can believe, and even then was completely unimpressed by the guys.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Oops! Sorry, I misunderstood. I also wasn't trying to attack you (either in this post or the Thursday classes post, when I asked why SMU was an embarrassment), but I do tend to get protective when people make comments insinuating against Greek life since my sorority has given me a great experience and I have not experienced any of the stereotypes. (It also makes me angry that Greek life is blamed for the deaths this school year, when 2 out of the 3 were not affiliated with any Greek organization.)

I actually haven't seen much out-of-control experience either (at SMU), but I know it has to be there. Thanks for your unbiased opinion.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you drink to excess, you give up your power. That's how I see it."

Those are fighting words, Phantom Prof. In fact, they sound like the words of a rapist, because they sure reflect the mindset of one.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the result of the lawsuit?

5:11 PM  
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