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1 EmmaAnne  Dec 10, 2014 8:29:07am

I am not entirely sold. The 51% thing is the preponderance of the evidence standard, which is the usual burden of proof for civil proceedings (where no one is going to jail). It seems to me that if it is more likely than not that the accused did sexually assault the victim that some action should be taken - for example, the alleged attacker needs to move to another campus for a year so the victim can graduate without seeing him every day. Again, no one is going to jail, no one is convicted of anything or has a record, it isn’t even public, because of privacy rules.

The alternative is that *nothing* happens, even though the preponderance of the evidence favors the victim.

2 Islamo-Masonic Vourdalak  Dec 10, 2014 8:34:37am

re: #1 EmmaAnne

According to the article, the allegation stays on the record after the accused is expelled and no other university or college takes him. That is not even considering whether the “judging” - on whatever standard - has been done properly. In Yoffe’s examples the officials seem to have ignored any exculpating evidence whatsoever.

3 EmmaAnne  Dec 10, 2014 12:31:16pm

re: #2 Islamo-Masonic Vourdalak

According to the article, the allegation stays on the record after the accused is expelled and no other university or college takes him. That is not even considering whether the “judging” - on whatever standard - has been done properly. In Yoffe’s examples the officials seem to have ignored any exculpating evidence whatsoever.

The case I am familiar with the only thing that happened was the guy had to take time off from school (a semester, I think) while the woman graduated, and then he went back. He went on to law school, so obviously his future wasn’t too blighted. His parents did hire a good lawyer though.

Anyway, I am not saying that some of the procedures couldn’t be better - I know they could. I am saying I am in favor of the preponderance of the evidence standard. It is almost impossible to prove acquaintance rape allegations beyond a reasonable doubt - that is why they are practically never prosecuted.

4 Dark_Falcon  Dec 10, 2014 8:35:24pm

re: #3 EmmaAnne

The case I am familiar with the only thing that happened was the guy had to take time off from school (a semester, I think) while the woman graduated, and then he went back. He went on to law school, so obviously his future wasn’t too blighted. His parents did hire a good lawyer though.

Anyway, I am not saying that some of the procedures couldn’t be better - I know they could. I am saying I am in favor of the preponderance of the evidence standard. It is almost impossible to prove acquaintance rape allegations beyond a reasonable doubt - that is why they are practically never prosecuted.

Then how about the middle ground of “Clear and Convincing Evidence”? IMO, that would be the best standard if universities have to get involved. I say ‘if’ because rape and sexual assault really are matters for police officers, not university administrators.

5 FemNaziBitch  Dec 12, 2014 6:38:23am

re: #4 Dark_Falcon

I say ‘if’ because rape and sexual assault really are matters for police officers, not university administrators.

QFT

Helping victims call the police and present at their local emergency room (not a University controlled clinic or triage center) is part of the ongoing efforts of those involved in Advocacy.

It is incredibly difficult for victims to trust.

6 Islamo-Masonic Vourdalak  Dec 12, 2014 7:39:50am

More on the topic:

bostonglobe.com

7 Dark_Falcon  Dec 13, 2014 6:25:46am

re: #5 FemNaziBitch

QFT

Helping victims call the police and present at their local emergency room (not a University controlled clinic or triage center) is part of the ongoing efforts of those involved in Advocacy.

It is incredibly difficult for victims to trust.

And God Bless you for helping with that, for you truly do the Lord’s work.

re: #6 Islamo-Masonic Vourdalak

Tying into the Story Sergey posted, I argue that part of the reason universities have the sort of ‘informal complaint’ system Patrick Witt describes is to keep claims of rape away from the police. Universities want to look like they’re fighting against sexual violence without actually having to admit to rapes on campus. It’s yet another variety of gaming the system, or ‘juking the stats’ as it was called on The Wire. By disposing of a complaint ‘informally’, the university can say they addressed it without actually having to investigate it.

8 iossarian  Dec 15, 2014 11:55:49am

re: #7 Dark_Falcon

And God Bless you for helping with that, for you truly do the Lord’s work.

Tying into the Story Sergey posted, I argue that part of the reason universities have the sort of ‘informal complaint’ system Patrick Witt describes is to keep claims of rape away from the police. Universities want to look like they’re fighting against sexual violence without actually having to admit to rapes on campus. It’s yet another variety of gaming the system, or ‘juking the stats’ as it was called on The Wire. By disposing of a complaint ‘informally’, the university can say they addressed it without actually having to investigate it.

Knowing several people who do this work at universities, I can tell you that in my experience this isn’t really true - the people who do the reporting are usually well insulated from people who would have a vested interest in “keeping the numbers down”.

My impression is that the type of counseling that was described in the UVa article and portrayed as discouraging victims from going to the police is actually something of recommended practice in such circles: the victim should be presented with an array of clearly explained options including filing criminal charges, but should not be pressured into a particular decision. Given the crappy state of the legal system, many choose not to bother.

Obviously that’s a pro-university point of view. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I’m gravitating towards the view that the 51% evidence rule should be used by universities to enforce a no-contact penalty (which could mean suspension) on first offences, in parallel with whatever happens via the criminal justice system. Being clear about the rules up front places the onus on students to be pretty sure they have consent, and education on the topic can help them to grasp what that means.

9 Dark_Falcon  Dec 15, 2014 5:19:55pm

re: #8 iossarian

Knowing several people who do this work at universities, I can tell you that in my experience this isn’t really true - the people who do the reporting are usually well insulated from people who would have a vested interest in “keeping the numbers down”.

My impression is that the type of counseling that was described in the UVa article and portrayed as discouraging victims from going to the police is actually something of recommended practice in such circles: the victim should be presented with an array of clearly explained options including filing criminal charges, but should not be pressured into a particular decision. Given the crappy state of the legal system, many choose not to bother.

Obviously that’s a pro-university point of view. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I’m gravitating towards the view that the 51% evidence rule should be used by universities to enforce a no-contact penalty (which could mean suspension) on first offences, in parallel with whatever happens via the criminal justice system. Being clear about the rules up front places the onus on students to be pretty sure they have consent, and education on the topic can help them to grasp what that means.

I could see that as viable, as long as the rules for proceedings are spelled out in advance, the accused is told in advance what he is accused of having done wrong and there is a proper hearing with the presentation of testimony and evidence so the accused has a chance to clear his name.

Things can be made tolerably fair without putting victims through the wringer, but only with extensive preparation and good procedure.

As for the legal system, I’m sorry but I have to disagree in at least some cases. If anything even close to what ‘Jackie’ said had happened actually did happen to her then the police need to be involved. Because the sort of man who would instigate a gang rape is not going to be a one-time offender, and there is an overriding societal interest in apprehending such a man. So for cases where the rape was planned out in advance, I would argue the police need to be brought in unless they are incompetent, even if bringing them in causes the victim anguish. When dealing with sexual predators, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”

10 klystron  Dec 15, 2014 5:21:30pm

re: #9 Dark_Falcon

I could see that as viable, as long as the rules for proceedings are spelled out in advance, the accused is told in advance what he is accused of having done wrong and there is a proper hearing with the presentation of testimony and evidence so the accused has a chance to clear his name.

Things can be made tolerably fair without putting victims through the wringer, but only with extensive preparation and good procedure.

As for the legal system, I’m sorry but I have to disagree in at least some cases. If anything even close to what ‘Jackie’ said had happened actually did happen to her then the police need to be involved. Because the sort of man who would instigate a gang rape is not going to be a one-time offender, and there is an overriding societal interest in apprehending such a man. So for cases where the rape was planned out in advance, I would argue the police need to be brought in unless they are incompetent, even if bringing them in causes the victim anguish. When dealing with sexual predators, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”

When the prosecution and conviction rate of rapists is such that proceeding with a case is likely to actually result in taking a rapist out of society, you might be able to make the argument you’re trying to make.

11 Dark_Falcon  Dec 15, 2014 9:00:16pm

re: #10 klystron

When the prosecution and conviction rate of rapists is such that proceeding with a case is likely to actually result in taking a rapist out of society, you might be able to make the argument you’re trying to make.

That’s in part why I included a caveat. The first and most critical point is to have a police force that can handle rape cases and takes them seriously. In a few places this condition already exists, New York City being one of them (for all its flaws, the NYPD has made great strides in combating rape and has driven its commission down greatly. New York law has also moved to ensure rape kits are tested and the DNA of rapists is entered into the relevant databases.) Ensuring a capable police force and district attorney’s office is about all that can be done. Given the presumption of innocence in criminal law, rape cases will always be tough to prove.


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