Civil Rights for Me, Not for Thee

Justice-free zone?
Justice-free zone?

A former University of Virginia law student filed a federal lawsuit yesterday alleging that the university, following guidelines issued by the federal Office of Civil Rights, violated his due process when finding him responsible for sexual misconduct with an intoxicated student and banned him from the university.

According to the suit, a retired judge serving as fact-finder in the U.Va proceeding found that the plaintiff, identified only as “John Doe,” did not have “effective consent” when he had sex in August 2013 with a fellow law student, “Jane Doe” on the grounds of her alcohol consumption. The judge, who called the decision “very close,” was required by the Office of Civil Rights to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof rather than the stronger “clear and convincing” standard.

John Doe was found responsible for the incident and sanctioned with a life-time ban and four months of counseling. He received his degree but has not yet been admitted to the bar and cannot practice law, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Bacon’s bottom line: Details from the news account, and presumably the lawsuit itself, are so meager that it is impossible for a reader to draw strong conclusions about the incident itself. We don’t know how drunk the woman was, how drunk the man was, or what communication may have transpired between the two. If the woman passed out and John Doe had sex with her, he should be charged with rape and, if convicted, sent to prison to serve a sentence between five years and life as called for in the Virginia penal code. If they had both been drinking heavily, engaged in sex and the woman later regretted the act, he shouldn’t suffer punishment at all.

Most likely, the circumstances were more ambiguous that those two examples. Regardless, it seems that the system of administrative justice imposed by the Office of Civil Rights likely led to a miscarriage of justice. If a real rape occurred, John Doe got off easy. If the incident was a case of mutually agreeable drunken sex, he shouldn’t be punished at all. Because the incident occurred in a university environment, the normal rules of criminal procedure were suspended in order to achieve a politically driven result dictated by Washington.


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6 responses to “Civil Rights for Me, Not for Thee”

  1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    In trying to explain what likely is behind this particular injustice (only one in an ocean of unfair “trials” going on in US Universities, I’ve adapted earlier comments in a new narrative that the reader will find below.
    Adapted from Oct. 15, 2015 comments
    Now, at long last, we have received our long awaited reports by our Federal Government on the sexual activities of our boy and girl students at UVA. Our Federal Government has now also reported on UVA’s response to the sexual activities of its girl and boy students in and around UVA.

    These reports on all these sexual activities going on daily at UVA are quite inclusive. For example, they include findings and judgments on a wide and sundry variety of activities of all our students at UVA. This includes reports on girl and boy students who engage in lesbian, homo, and transsexual activities, and also tell us about boys and girls found to engage in sexual activities of an in-flux or indeterminate nature, whether induced by covert or overt drugs, alcohol, seduction, or power exchange, whether by reason of a hostile environments, such as patriarchal oppression, or otherwise.

    Remarkably we as citizens, students, faculty, Alums, and others concerned about what happens to students at UVA, are presumed to be thankful that all these above activities now receive the full and continuous attention, monitoring and investigation by our Federal Government that they deserve.

    Hence this Federal report demands our full attention and our own active follow on action. For all of us need to remember at all times that this report carries the full weight and authority of the Government of the United States. Indeed, the President and Vice President of the United States mandated this report. This happened in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2014.

    On that day the President “renewed his call for action to end rape and sexual assault on college campuses. … so today” said President Obama, “we’re taking another important step with a focus on our college campuses. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there — 1 in 5. These young women worked so hard just to get into college (…) only to be assaulted … (It’s a) nightmare for them and their families, it’s an affront to everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve. It’s totally unacceptable.”

    The President then delegated the full authority of his Office to investigate these sexual activities and pursue remedies as needed in these matters of student sexual activities on college campuses in The Office of the Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden, and The office of the President’s White House Chief of Staff Valarie Jarrett. These officials were delegated the authority to coordinate all cabinets and agencies of the Federal Government in its war against the ongoing War on Women in the United States, and the President mandated that they do so.

    As Vice President Biden, assuming his profound responsibilities on that fateful January 22nd day in 2014, said at the time:

    “Freedom from sexual assault is a basic human right … No matter what she’s wearing, no matter whether she’s in a bar, in a dormitory, in the back seat of a car, on a street, drunk or sober, no man has a right to go beyond the word “No”. And if she can’t consent, it also means no. That too makes it a crime. (We know) we have to stop blaming victims for these crimes. My father used to say that the greatest abuse of all was the abuse of power and the cardinal sin … (there was) for a man to raise his hand to a woman. That’s the cardinal sin … Men have to take more responsibility …”

    The President there in the East Room of the White House then drove home the Vice Presidents Call to Arms, declaring:

    “We’ve seen progress …but we cannot stop there … today, I will sign a presidential memorandum creating the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. We’re going to work with colleges and universities and educational institutions of all kinds across America to help them come up with better ways to prevent and respond to sexual assault on their campuses and help them put those ideas into practice … None of this will be easy … It (takes) a fundamental change in our culture, a shift in our attitudes … about sexual violence, how we value the lives and dignity of our wives, sisters, daughters and sons. … We’ve got to keep teaching young men in particular to show women the respect they deserve, to recognize sexual violence and be outraged by it …I want every young man in America to feel some strong peer pressure on how they behave and treat women … — whether they’re in junior high or high school or college or beyond — and understand what’s expected of them, … to realize that sexual assault is simply unacceptable … to summon the bravery to stand up and say so despite the social pressure to keep quiet or to go along that can be very intense …”

    In concluding his remarks, the President had a special message for college and university presidents, declaring that:

    “My hope and intention is that every college president who has not personally been thinking about this (sexual violence in his college) is going to hear about this report and is going to go out and figure out who is in charge on their campus of responding properly, what are the best practices, and (ask): are we doing everything that we should be doing. If you’re not doing that right now, I want the students at your school to ask (you) what (you) are doing. “Perhaps most important,” President Obama concluded, “we need to keep saying to (anyone) who has ever been assaulted, you are not alone … We have your back. I’ve got your back.”

    (UVA President Sullivan surely got the message loud and clear. “Hoos Got your Back” soon became the moniker of UVA’s assault on the War Against Women, joining her at the hip with President Obama in fighting that war.)

    The Presidents Chief of Staff Valerie Jarrett then filled in details, namely that as part of President Obama’s “unprecedented national effort to address alarming rates of sexual assault on college campuses, President Obama has issued a Presidential Memorandum today to establish the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.” … The statistics around sexual assault in this country are nothing short of jarring.”

    The Presidents Memorandum drove home this point, stating:

    “The President directs the Vice Presidents Office and White House Council on Women and Girls to lead an interagency effort to end campus rape and sexual assault and coordinate all Federal enforcement efforts to “help” institutions meet their obligations under Federal law. To achieve this mission, the President established The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault … co-chaired by Office of Vice President and the White House Council on Women and Girls. Other members (of these task force) include the Attorney General, Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Education; Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy; Director of Domestic Policy Council; Cabinet Secretary; and other agencies as Co Chairs designate …”

    The President’s Memorandum went on:

    “Nearly 1 in 5 women – or nearly 22 million – have been raped in their lifetimes. Nearly 98% of the perpetrators are male … Young people are especially at risk: College students are particularly vulnerable: 1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while in college .… The dynamics of college life appear to fuel the problem. Many victims are abused while they’re drunk, under influence of drugs, passed out, or otherwise incapacitated. Most college victims are assaulted by someone they know. Parties are often the sites of these crimes. Campus assailants are often serial offenders: one study found that of the men who admitted to committing rape or attempted rape, 63% said they committed an average of six rapes each.”

    The Presidents Memorandum continued:

    “College sexual assault survivors suffer from high levels of mental health problems (like depression and PTSD) and drug and alcohol abuse. Reporting rates are particularly low. Many offenders are neither arrested nor prosecuted by the Criminal Justice System. A number of factors may contribute to low arrest rates. Police biases (e.g., believing that many victims falsely claim rape to get attention, or that only those who’ve been physically injured are telling the truth) persist, and may account for some officers’ unwillingness to make an arrest. Also, trauma can leave a victim’s memory and verbal skills impaired. Without trauma-sensitive interviewing techniques, a women’s initial account can sometimes seem fragmented. Even when arrests are made, prosecutors are often reluctant to take on rape and sexual assault cases.”

    The President’s Memorandum also demanded that:

    “We must increase Arrest, Prosecution and Conviction Rates. Across all demographics, rapists and sex offenders are too often not made to pay for their crimes, and remain free to assault again. Arrest rates are low and meritorious cases are still being dropped – many times because law enforcement officers and prosecutors are not fully trained on the nature of these crimes or how best to investigate and prosecute them. Many new and promising interviewing, investigative and prosecution protocols are being developed, with cutting-edge science about victim trauma informing the enterprise. We need to further develop these best practices and help get them out to the field. We can also help local jurisdictions move rape kits off the shelves and into crime labs for testing – so more rapists are identified through DNA and brought to justice.”

    SO in JANUARY 2014, the President and Vice President of the United States ordered various White House and Cabinet inter agency Task Forces (both ongoing and then formed) to expand their massive ongoing efforts to investigate, report on, and take action against what they declared to be an ongoing epidemic of sexual violence in Higher Education. This investigation most particularly included UVA given that UVA was then under Federal investigation for UVAs own acts, omissions, and malfeasance on the Grounds of UVA. This included UVA’s alleged failures in particular cases that likely proved embarrassing to the President and his Department of Education’s efforts in fighting the War on Women in America.

    And so now our Federal government reports to us members of the UVA family that nearly one quarter of all our UVA students, the overwhelming majority of them young undergraduate girls, have been subjected to sexual abuse, and that most if not all of our girl undergraduates living on Mr. Jefferson’s Grounds are forced to live in a “Hostile sexual Environment.”

    See article “In Defense of Teresa Sullivan and comments published here on Oct. 5 2015

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Who is responsible for this? What should be done about it? And why?

      The Sexual mess that has been ongoing at the University of Virginia since that White House convened its Conference in January 2014, and its wild swings of emotion laden charges and counter charges that have been flying around the Grounds since then (for example the Nov, 2014 Rolling Stone Rape article fabricated out of whole cloth), all this mess reminded me of last fall’s UVA edition of “Virginia, The UVA Magazine.

      In particular, I am reminded of a series of articles that UVA’s flagship magazine whose title is quite striking. The Title takes up two Full Pages of the magazine – pages 17 and 18. Here are the words.


      This title blares. But apparently its words are not enough. Below that the reader encounters more words of exhortation, self importance, and hubris:

      “We were founded as the revolutionary solution to a pressing problem – how do we continually advance knowledge and lead society forward. For nearly 200 years we have answered this call by breaking boundaries, birthing new disciplines and shattering old way of thinking. Undaunted, we continue to forge ahead, tackling complex issues in the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world. For here, we are not afraid to follow truth, no matter where it leads.”

      Given how UVA views itself today – Its litany of Noble Causes that UVA so Nobly and Fearlessly pursues. Its Damn the Consequences, Seek the Truth Ethos! Its Courageous work not only on behalf its students but on behalf of the Entire World – considering all this, my thoughts drift back to late 2014, the day the Fraternity House at UVA facing Mad Bowl was no nobly and courageously trashed that night by UVA students and UVA faculty.

      And, most particularly, the reaction of the President of UVA to that outrage, and all the outrages that preceded that particular outrage: all the ill founded accusations, and public and private events held at UVA that collectively flung abuse and hate against those particular student members of the UVA community, boys and young men, who happened to live in a fraternity just down the street from Mr. Jefferson’s Rotunda, and President Sullivan’s grand mansion on the hill.

      So I went searching for President Sullivan’s words at the time of that shameful event to see how they matched up against UVA’s claim that:


      Here is what I found:

      “I write you today in solidarity. I write you in great sorrow, great rage, but most importantly, with great determination. Meaningful change is necessary, and we can lead that change for all universities. We can demand that incidents like those described in Rolling Stone never happen and that if they do, the responsible are held accountable to the law. This will require institutional change, cultural change, and legislative change, and it will not be easy. We are making those changes.”

      How could UVA’s search for the truth march off in the totally wrong direction?

      Why, in so doing, did UVA harm and abuse members of its own community, its very own students, those it is legally and honor bound to treat fairly and to protect, including their rights to the due process of law, and to protect them from Mob Rule in lieu of facilitating and endorsing mob rule.

      And why did UVA engage in this activity so persistently for so long?

      Indeed, given its record, is UVA still engaged in that squalid activity in a effort to avoid and hide from the truth? For example, where the long promised O’Melveny and Myers Report that was to tell the UVa. Community happened with regard to all these events that occurred throughout 2014 so they could be fixed. And never, even happen again?

      In short, is UVA now still doing the precise opposite of what it claims to do –

      Is it hiding the truth (instead of seeking it out and publishing it to the world) while it continues to abuse its students, stripping them of the rights of fair judicial process, subjecting them to Star Chamber proceeding instead, while at the same time using those abused students as human shields and sacrifices to protect itself against its own wrong doing and its failure to stand up for itself and it students in the face of an illegal intrusion by government into its own affairs? Is UVA afraid of its own Federal Government? Will no one there stand up?

      IF SO WHY NOT?

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        This sub-threat starts off by asking:

        Who is responsible for this? What should be done about it? And Why?

        Answers most likely can be best found on several levels. Perhaps a place to start is on three levels. Here is the first.

        1/ What are the deep cultural issues driving this sexual hysteria at UVA?

        This aspect is discussed in numerous articles and commentary on this website. Perhaps a good place to start looking into those issues is found at:

        The title of Jim Bacon’s article aptly describes its subject. The commentary that follows it delves into the vast cultural change at UVA that began in the late 1960s and is now long since out of control, having metastasized into a cultural collapse that reeks harm on UVA and its students daily.

        This commentary suggests that we have reached this unfortunate place by reason of the failure of UVA’s leaders in positions of responsibility to deal with (much less admit to) the root causes of this cultural collapse at UVA. But rather their actions now acerbate that collapse instead.

        Hence, today, the virulence and pathologies of UVA’s rampant Hook-up Culture are manifest and obvious to see in the chronic series of high profile sexual encounters, disputes and crimes in and around UVA. Sordid events the capture national attention and never seem to end.

        These eruptions often come complete with claims, counter-charges and mass allegations that have long simmered underground at UVA before they flare up into national public view as crimes or alleged crimes and ensuing hysteria that flames above what would otherwise seem the safe, secure and idyllic learning environment one sees when walking the hollowed Grounds of Mr. Jefferson’s University.

        These outbursts come in many ugly varieties. But far too often they ignite a circus atmosphere such as that triggered by the Rolling Stones article. Remarkably there it appears that the highly unstable core of a long simmering controversy hidden on the Grounds ignited a Rolling Stone article that was apparently fabricated from whole cloth. And yet the apparent total fabrication spread hysteria like wildfire across the Grounds of UVA. Once that engulfed the University’s faculty, Administration, and students in weeks long public displays of grief, anger and disconsolation by students, facility and Administrators alike.

        All of this over an article said to be completely false, a work of pure fiction, yet one apparently known about by many members in the UVA community for years, including people in leadership positions. Why?

        Apparently at UVA, solutions are rarely if ever found to these problems. Apparently instead, one there only gets more chronic and abject denials by those in charge. People who too often scapegoat others, including their own Students to deflect attention away from the truth of what is going on. Or otherwise remain glumly silent and mute, as if neutered.

        For if this be a proper interpretation of this one aspect of the Rolling Stone matter, then one much conclude that the apparent fabrication of the Rolling Stone article by its author was only half of the problem. And that much of the rest of the problem and its results arose directly from actions of people within UVA, including its Administration, actions that in practical effect nurtured, enabled, and inflamed a fabrication. One those in charge should have been fully aware of and dealt with long before. Indeed of hid or indeed perhaps even peddled to Rolling Stone.

        In any case its seem plain that another round of failure of leadership at UVA conflated into a whole new round and raft of injustices, lawsuits, denials, and morbidity that will now yet again fester far into the future. As well it should unless someone at UVA will at long last step up and deal with the truth forthrightly. Who will? And how?

        (To Be Continued).

    2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      PERHAPS ONE ANSWER LIES IN another very big story that does not receive the news coverage that it deserves. That is how these massive amounts of public monies from or guaranteed by the Federal Government flood into our institutions, most particularly now our health systems, and our institutions of higher education. These $ trillions (over a trillion alone just in Student loans) give the Federal Government immense new power over these institutions that heretofore were private, or run the states.

      Hence today’s highly politicized ideological agendas driven by our Federal Government exercise enormous power that grows daily over those institutions of higher education that used to be run privately by Boards of distinguished citizens or by the states. And those ideological agenda’s control those who work in those institutions whether doctors, professors, scientists, or the burgeoning bureaucracies that today rule instead of support those professionals whose livelihood increasingly depends directly on the Federal Government.

      A prime example of the terrible trend is how the Obama administration conflated Title IX to gain practical control over how our schools mandate rules for and regulate the sexual activities of our students in our nations colleges and University, and how those rules are enforced. This intrusion into the daily life of our students has reached a point that it appears quite likely that much of false Rolling Stone scandal has hatched, ginned up and abetted by activities and policies within the Administration of the University of Virginia that was then stumbling all over itself to comply with the dictates of the US department of Education, and White House. Much of this has been discussed earlier on this website.

      Likely, too, much of the same is now going on within the climate studies coming out of our institutions of higher education. For example, with all these large sums of public monies being paid to these professors, what are the odds that they will report and publicize findings contrary to the official line of the White House, the State Department, or EPA? My sense is that there is very little or more likely no chance at all.

      One proof is these assertions is how hundreds of universities totally folded and collapsed under the pressure of the White House after it announced in Jan. and Fed. of 2014 its new Title IX war against its so called rampant rape epidemic on College Campuses, in time to create a wedge issue in 2016 elections.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Is this about the Clery Act Reed? Isn’t that a 1992 law that got passed after several rape and murders on campuses?

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