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  #51  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
How does the university proceed from there?
Do you specifically just want DSeid's thoughts? Because otherwise, I believe your question has been asked and answered elsewhere in this thread.
  #52  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:40 AM
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There is an accusation of physical assault-It should be reported to the police.
This is another instance where hypotheticals fail. You may be right, but then you may not be, and it may all come down to laws in effect and existing university procedures.

For example, in the military, which would include the service academies, a sexual assault allegation can be made as a restricted report. By which I mean, the victim could choose not to have it treated as a disciplinary matter involving a criminal investigation, but gain access to services and treatment options.

However, a "restricted report" can only be made under certain circumstances to certain people. A chaplain, a medical provider, a victim's advocate. If the chain of command receives an allegation of sexual assault (outside of the victim's advocate being required to notify the commanding officer that a restricted report has been made, but not by whom or about whom), even if the victim didn’t intend for the chain of command to become aware, the chain of command must refer it for investigation. It cannot hold back. The victim can still choose not to answer questions about it, but there has to be an investigation, and whether or not criminal charges are appropriate may go beyond the immediate chain of command's level (out of their hands).

So yet another reason why I hate hypotheticals. There are certain things that get assumed away (whether or not and how much the university or the victim have discretion to investigate or inform other authorities) that really can’t be. Because in the real world, there are laws and regulations governing how certain entities must handle certain situations.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 12-30-2019 at 11:41 AM.
  #53  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I read the OP. But youíll note that I replied to another personís post addressing their statement.
Ok, but how does that change anything? I agree with the post you were responding to. The school can't do anything except call the police.

However, I'll point out now that it is absurd to presume that any school at this time has no policy or procedure for events like this.
  #54  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:43 AM
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I think youíre confused. I didnít say anyone needed to be kicked out of class. Youíre the one insisting thatís the only method to separate them.
Then by all means tell me how I'm going to separate the students in Chem 032 at Swarthmore in late November without harming one.
  #55  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:54 AM
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Then by all means tell me how I'm going to separate the students in Chem 032 at Swarthmore in late November without harming one.
So now this isnít just a broad hypothetical (to which people have responded honestly), but itís specifically a question about procedures at Swathmore, and the victim and accused must specifically be in the same Major with a very small number of required course offerings? Because I dare say no one here, unless we happen to have someone coincidentally occupying the appropriate office at Swathmore, is capable of answering that question.
  #56  
Old 12-30-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
There is an accusation of physical assault-It should be reported to the police.
What does that accomplish? The woman in question does not want the police to be involved.

So, against her wishes, it is reported to the police. They contact her, she refuses to swear out a complaint or make a statement. There are no witnesses to interview, no forensic evidence, not even an official complaint from the accuser. That's hardly even reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. So the police tell the university that there is nothing officially to investigate. How does that help?

Regards,
Shodan
  #57  
Old 12-30-2019, 12:36 PM
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What does that accomplish? The woman in question does not want the police to be involved.

So, against her wishes, it is reported to the police. They contact her, she refuses to swear out a complaint or make a statement. There are no witnesses to interview, no forensic evidence, not even an official complaint from the accuser. That's hardly even reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. So the police tell the university that there is nothing officially to investigate. How does that help?

Regards,
Shodan
Isn't the guy she is accusing a "witness to interview"?
  #58  
Old 12-30-2019, 12:37 PM
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Either a violent crime has been committed and the police can gather what little information available(and perhaps persuade her to cooperate) to see if it fits other reports, or she is accusing an innocent man...which means that she needs to be prosecuted and he needs to be completely exonerated. Also, if someone else is attacked by this person and goes to the police and it is found out that there were accusations that it happened before then the college will be accused of covering it up.
  #59  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:13 PM
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There are many reasons that a victim can have to not wish to go the route of the courts. She can be scared by what she has seen other women go through in that venue. She may think that her assaulter ( working from a perspective of her as truth teller) deserves punishment but not the life ruined level a rape conviction would bring she thinks. Iíd WAG this happens often and my fight of the hypothetical is that there no policy in place.

A large lecture hall gives plenty of ways to keep them apart. But an upper level class with small enrollment? Having to be in a small class with your rapist is a real harm. If someone has to bear harms from the report it cannot be her. And not only because the odds are she is being truthful but also because of the message it sends to others. If you are a victim and report you will pay a price.

Obviously details matter. The general principles though are that burden of proof is much less for class access than for conviction and the impact on others from the message sent.
  #60  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:26 PM
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Isn't the guy she is accusing a "witness to interview"?
I don't know what police policy would be in a case where there was no official complaint. It may depend on what the woman says.

""I was raped but I am not saying anything more to you - just the university" might be different from "I was raped by John Doe but I am not saying officially that he raped me". If she says the second, they could send out somebody to talk to John Doe and see what he says, depending on how much time they want to spend on a case that probably isn't going anywhere.

But supposing they do. John Doe says "I never raped anybody - it was consensual". No witnesses, no evidence, not even anyone who will swear it happened. I don't see that this moves an investigation forward in any way. Or John refuses to answer questions. Is that going to be used as evidence against him in the university investigation? If so, it only seems fair that the fact that the accuser won't swear to it should also be included.

Suppose the police suggest a polygraph test, and John is fool enough to agree to it. Should the results be included in the university investigation? Polygraph evidence isn't reliable, and the police mostly use it as a bluff to get people to confess. What if John passes the test? What if he fails it?
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm
Either a violent crime has been committed and the police can gather what little information available(and perhaps persuade her to cooperate) to see if it fits other reports, or she is accusing an innocent man...which means that she needs to be prosecuted and he needs to be completely exonerated.
Even if we agree that these are the only available options - we don't - the problem is that there isn't enough evidence to establish either. Being falsely accused of rape is bad. Being falsely accused of lying about rape is also bad.

Regards,
Shodan
  #61  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:29 PM
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What does that accomplish? The woman in question does not want the police to be involved.

So, against her wishes, it is reported to the police. They contact her, she refuses to swear out a complaint or make a statement. There are no witnesses to interview, no forensic evidence, not even an official complaint from the accuser. That's hardly even reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. So the police tell the university that there is nothing officially to investigate. How does that help?
...
A felony crime has been committed. The victim does not have the choice of stopping the University from reporting it. It is her choice of whether or not to support the investigation by giving her testimony.

The Police will not say that. They will look into his background, canvas for witnesses, and grill him- perhaps he will confess, people often do- and ask her to give a statement. If she refuses, and the police cant get a confession or other evidence, it is likely no charges will be filed, but the case wont just be reported "nothing officially to investigate" because they will have investigated. It is then her fault a rapist goes free. Not the Universities, they have done all they can.

And dont dismiss lightly the chance the rapist will confess.

Last edited by DrDeth; 12-30-2019 at 01:29 PM.
  #62  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:33 PM
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There are many reasons that a victim can have to not wish to go the route of the courts. She can be scared by what she has seen other women go through in that venue. She may think that her assaulter ( working from a perspective of her as truth teller) deserves punishment but not the life ruined level a rape conviction would bring she thinks....
In a felony, that is not her choice. A felony is not only a crime vs a person, it is a crime vs the state. She can choose to not make a statement or testify, yes.

Instead of rape, consider if this was a murder. She saw the accused kill someone, then drag the body off. Would you then suggest that the police not get involved?
  #63  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:37 PM
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So now this isnít just a broad hypothetical (to which people have responded honestly), but itís specifically a question about procedures at Swathmore, and the victim and accused must specifically be in the same Major with a very small number of required course offerings? Because I dare say no one here, unless we happen to have someone coincidentally occupying the appropriate office at Swathmore, is capable of answering that question.
If the answers to the broad hypothetical break down in real world situations, then they are poor answers.
  #64  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:42 PM
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There are many reasons that a victim can have to not wish to go the route of the courts. She can be scared by what she has seen other women go through in that venue. She may think that her assaulter ( working from a perspective of her as truth teller) deserves punishment but not the life ruined level a rape conviction would bring she thinks. I’d WAG this happens often and my fight of the hypothetical is that there no policy in place.
Sexual assault is something where the question of what the victim is comfortable with deserves the utmost consideration. But it's still not the only consideration. If there's a rapist on campus, he may well rape again. I'd give a lot of weight to the question of whether testifying might be traumatic for a victim. But I'm not sure I'd give nearly so much weight (if any) to a victim's opinion on what punishment a rapist deserves, assuming that the facts of what happened are not in doubt. There's a place and procedure for victim impact statements and other witnesses at sentencing, and the victim may contribute to that, but the victim is not sole arbiter of whether somebody should be punished and to what extent, even in a rape case.

Last edited by Riemann; 12-30-2019 at 01:47 PM.
  #65  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:57 PM
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FWIW an article that touches on the op. https://www.usnews.com/education/bes...-the-metoo-era

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... While some have called for campus sexual assault cases to be turned over to local police, the idea is controversial.

Advocates for victims say many do not want to file criminal charges against their alleged attackers. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an anti-sexual violence organization, less than 4 percent of rapes reported to police end up being referred to prosecutors, and less than two-thirds of those few cases result in felony convictions. Court records are also public, and victims may fear retaliation – or at least a protraction of their trauma. By contrast, schools must adjudicate all cases brought before them.

While most colleges have been using "preponderance of the evidence" – a civil court standard – to determine responsibility, this has raised concerns about whether the accused are being treated fairly. A slew of lawsuits directed at colleges in the past few years by accused students have claimed violations of due process.

Some see these suits as a needed correction to colleges' swinging too far to protect accusers' rights. ...

... Earlier guidance from the department gave colleges the choice of using either the preponderance of the evidence standard or the stricter "clear and convincing" evidence standard. The latter is still a lower threshold than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" bar that must be reached in criminal court. The department called the reports "premature and speculative" and declined, through a spokesperson, to comment.

Recent cases suggest that, at least under current rules, some victims are prevailing against their attackers. ...
  #66  
Old 12-30-2019, 02:24 PM
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If the answers to the broad hypothetical break down in real world situations, then they are poor answers.
I’d say that’s more a problem with how poorly constructed the hypothetical is (inability or failure to account for all relevant factors) than with how poor the answers are.

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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Either a violent crime has been committed and the police can gather what little information available(and perhaps persuade her to cooperate) to see if it fits other reports, or she is accusing an innocent man...which means that she needs to be prosecuted and he needs to be completely exonerated. Also, if someone else is attacked by this person and goes to the police and it is found out that there were accusations that it happened before then the college will be accused of covering it up.
While it is true the woman was either raped or she wasn’t, that is not the only course of action others can take (either prosecute the accused rapist for rape, or prosecute the alleged victim for making a false report). This is, however, the sort of "gotcha" false dichotomy that may lead some victims to fear coming forward. The truth may be unknown or unknowable, but victim's services and other assistance can be offered to the woman making the accusation even without taking action against the accused.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 12-30-2019 at 02:29 PM.
  #67  
Old 12-30-2019, 03:11 PM
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If the answers to the broad hypothetical break down in real world situations, then they are poor answers.
The broad answers given to broad theoretical questions arenít designed to answer all possible situations. Answers may differ when additional information is provided.
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  #68  
Old 12-30-2019, 03:41 PM
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Sexual assault is something where the question of what the victim is comfortable with deserves the utmost consideration. But it's still not the only consideration. If there's a rapist on campus, he may well rape again. I'd give a lot of weight to the question of whether testifying might be traumatic for a victim. But I'm not sure I'd give nearly so much weight (if any) to a victim's opinion on what punishment a rapist deserves, assuming that the facts of what happened are not in doubt. There's a place and procedure for victim impact statements and other witnesses at sentencing, and the victim may contribute to that, but the victim is not sole arbiter of whether somebody should be punished and to what extent, even in a rape case.

I disagree with the "Dave raped me but I want nothing more to do with it and I won't cooperate with the police or the university investigation" tact. Nobody should expect that action against Dave should be taken under those circumstances. As long as the accuser is an adult, she should understand that she has made a very serious allegation against someone and therefore be prepared to support her allegations or at least participate in the process.

Drive by allegations are not conducive to due process or for finding the truth. Doesn't the accuser have a moral obligation to see the process through so that this person that she uniquely knows to be a rapist doesn't harm another woman?
  #69  
Old 12-30-2019, 04:31 PM
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I disagree with the "Dave raped me but I want nothing more to do with it and I won't cooperate with the police or the university investigation" tact. Nobody should expect that action against Dave should be taken under those circumstances.
Does ANYONE expect that action against Dave should be taken under those circumstance?
  #70  
Old 12-30-2019, 04:39 PM
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Does ANYONE expect that action against Dave should be taken under those circumstance?
That seems to be what I am hearing. There would be a full investigation under that case with the police, the university, and Dave unable to confront the accuser and test her veracity. Dave could be suspended pending the investigation or have some sort of no-contact order in place or be referred to mental health services depending on which poster we are talking about.

Dave's friends and family would be questioned and thus know he had been accused of rape with the idea that "Dave's a rapist" being planted in their minds and believed to be fact by those who believe as many of our fellow posters do that women never or only rarely make false allegations.

Yeah, I would say that action against Dave would be taken.
  #71  
Old 12-30-2019, 04:43 PM
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That seems to be what I am hearing. There would be a full investigation under that case with the police, the university, and Dave unable to confront the accuser and test her veracity. Dave could be suspended pending the investigation or have some sort of no-contact order in place or be referred to mental health services depending on which poster we are talking about.

Dave's friends and family would be questioned and thus know he had been accused of rape with the idea that "Dave's a rapist" being planted in their minds and believed to be fact by those who believe as many of our fellow posters do that women never or only rarely make false allegations.

Yeah, I would say that action against Dave would be taken.
Hmmmm...If it were that easy, couldn't Dave just turn around and say "SHE raped me but I want nothing more to do with it and I won't cooperate with the police or the university investigation" and get her suspended too?
  #72  
Old 12-30-2019, 04:46 PM
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Doesn't the accuser have a moral obligation to see the process through so that this person that she uniquely knows to be a rapist doesn't harm another woman?
In a society that treated accusers and women in general with respect, fairness, compassion, and dignity, yes. But we're not in such a society, not even close, even though we've made progress. In a society in which accusers and survivors are treated like utter dogshit, like our society, no such obligation exists, since it would have a high likelihood of doing great harm to the woman.
  #73  
Old 12-30-2019, 04:47 PM
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I disagree with the "Dave raped me but I want nothing more to do with it and I won't cooperate with the police or the university investigation" tact. Nobody should expect that action against Dave should be taken under those circumstances. As long as the accuser is an adult, she should understand that she has made a very serious allegation against someone and therefore be prepared to support her allegations or at least participate in the process.
I'm under the impression that many kinds crimes will be investigated with little more than an accusation. The investigation may not go very far if the victim doesn't cooperate, but there would be an investigation. I thought that was true for attempted murder, assault, theft, etc.

Wouldn't the university be opening themselves up to a lot of liability if they didn't investigate? What if Dave is an accomplished serial rapist who puts the fear of God into his victims that he will kill them or their family if they talk? If the university doesn't do any investigation into these accusations, then subsequent victims could sue and likely win massive settlements.

Last edited by filmore; 12-30-2019 at 04:48 PM.
  #74  
Old 12-30-2019, 05:01 PM
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You clearly had a very different college experience than I did. There were no "alternative" anything after freshman organic chemistry other than waiting an entire year for the required classes to come up.

You haven't made the case for why the "best" course of action is to kick a student out of class, dorm, etc., based solely on an accusation.
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Clearly. So given how the class situation can vary radically from school to school youíll no doubt appreciate the difficulty of coming up with a single answer applicable to all situations.

Best in that it protects the the accuser from further harm and protects the school from lawsuits.
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Then by all means tell me how I'm going to separate the students in Chem 032 at Swarthmore in late November without harming one.
One of them drops the class, takes something else instead, and picks up the chemistry class next year.
Or... One of them finishes the class remotely. The professor makes tapes available, and that student can take the final in a different room. Lab times can be staggered.

I bet there are other options, too.
  #75  
Old 12-30-2019, 05:15 PM
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In a society that treated accusers and women in general with respect, fairness, compassion, and dignity, yes. But we're not in such a society, not even close, even though we've made progress. In a society in which accusers and survivors are treated like utter dogshit, like our society, no such obligation exists, since it would have a high likelihood of doing great harm to the woman.
Which is it? Do we treat them with such deference that we investigate on nearly nothing or do we treat them so poorly that we shut the door on them when they are ready and willing to prosecute? It seems that you are arguing contradictory positions.

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I'm under the impression that many kinds crimes will be investigated with little more than an accusation. The investigation may not go very far if the victim doesn't cooperate, but there would be an investigation. I thought that was true for attempted murder, assault, theft, etc.

Wouldn't the university be opening themselves up to a lot of liability if they didn't investigate? What if Dave is an accomplished serial rapist who puts the fear of God into his victims that he will kill them or their family if they talk? If the university doesn't do any investigation into these accusations, then subsequent victims could sue and likely win massive settlements.
Try this (not really). Go to the police and tell them that your buddy Dave took $1k in cash off of your kitchen table when he was over but you don't want to testify, don't want an investigation, and just want that to be the end of it. In this instance, one which is not tinged with political advocacy, the police would put their pen down and tell you that without your cooperation, there is no way that anything is going to happen.

And expect to be questioned yourself. As the police don't know you, perhaps you have a beef against Dave and are trying to get him in trouble.

This is what real investigations do: the seek the truth without a pre-ordained outcome.

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One of them drops the class, takes something else instead, and picks up the chemistry class next year.
Or... One of them finishes the class remotely. The professor makes tapes available, and that student can take the final in a different room. Lab times can be staggered.

I bet there are other options, too.
Who has to drop? Who has to finish the class remotely? Who gets to stay with the class while the other goes to the other room?
  #76  
Old 12-30-2019, 05:36 PM
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In a society that treated accusers and women in general with respect, fairness, compassion, and dignity, yes. But we're not in such a society, not even close, even though we've made progress. In a society in which accusers and survivors are treated like utter dogshit, like our society, no such obligation exists, since it would have a high likelihood of doing great harm to the woman.
So what is the suggestion here? That disciplinary action should be taken against "Dave" without any evidence, simply based on one student's word against another?

I'm not a lawyer or expert on law enforcement or university disciplinary procedures. But it seems to me that as the Dean, it is my obligation in the best interest of the University to contact the police that a felony has been reported to me. Then the police would go and conduct that investigation.

Now it may be possible that I can suspend or expel Dave without a felony conviction if there is a preponderance of evidence that he violated the ethical and behavioral standards of the University. But I don't think it is reasonable to take action simply based on the word of one student who is unwilling to cooperate and provides no real evidence.
  #77  
Old 12-30-2019, 05:37 PM
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If a University official takes any action based on an accusation without any investigation they would face litigation, and probable discipline even without litigation. Due process is a fundamental right, even for persons actually guilty of committing crimes. The decision not to make charges includes a decision not to ask for institutional punishment. An accusation alone, without any follow up might be considered as evidence supporting any later charges by the same person accused, but for that to affect official reprisals would require investigation as well.

Rape is a sensitive issue. The cause of that sensitivity is the irrational evaluation of a woman's worth based on sexual experience, and a presumed lack of it. If a woman tells the fifteenth guy at the gang bang she doesn't want to have sex, having sex against her will is just as much rape as it would be with a nun.
  #78  
Old 12-30-2019, 05:45 PM
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Dave could be suspended pending the investigation or have some sort of no-contact order in place or be referred to mental health services depending on which poster we are talking about.

[Snip]

Yeah, I would say that action against Dave would be taken.
I think the referred to mental health services part is referring to my post. I don't think that qualifies as taking action against Dave. If for no other reason being accused of rape is stressful and even if there isn't an investigation he's got someone going around telling people he's a rapist. That is a perfectly good reason to be referred to counseling. The school can't do anything to shut the accuser up so it seems reasonable they at least offer him the ability to work through his life being destroyed.

If he is a rapist sure I guess counseling could give him a place to admit it and talk through his issues and maybe become a better person but that seems like a weird "punishment" for the school to use.
  #79  
Old 12-30-2019, 05:45 PM
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Which is it? Do we treat them with such deference that we investigate on nearly nothing or do we treat them so poorly that we shut the door on them when they are ready and willing to prosecute? It seems that you are arguing contradictory positions.
I'm not arguing anything contradictory. Generally, we treat accusers like shit -- investigations are often shoddy, and every benefit of the doubt is often given to the accused, especially if they are wealthy and powerful.

We shouldn't treat them like shit. If they want an investigation, we should conduct a serious and thorough investigation. If they don't, we shouldn't (or at least we shouldn't require that they cooperate or otherwise involve them without their consent).

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So what is the suggestion here? That disciplinary action should be taken against "Dave" without any evidence, simply based on one student's word against another?
Where did I suggest this? I've made several posts about what I think should be done -- which one are you disagreeing with?
  #80  
Old 12-30-2019, 06:05 PM
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I'm not arguing anything contradictory. Generally, we treat accusers like shit -- investigations are often shoddy, and every benefit of the doubt is often given to the accused, especially if they are wealthy and powerful.

We shouldn't treat them like shit. If they want an investigation, we should conduct a serious and thorough investigation. If they don't, we shouldn't (or at least we shouldn't require that they cooperate or otherwise involve them without their consent).
But here's the thing. If they don't want an investigation, why are they coming forward? I mean, they are adults, right? They have a responsibility to fairness and to the society they live in. Does anyone not understand that if you tell the police or a university official "Dave raped me" that an investigation will follow which requires a follow up from the accuser? What do they think or expect will happen?

I understand the trauma that a sexual assault victim has experienced, but it should be understood that the whole world doesn't just take your word for anything. You have a responsibility other than making an accusation and walking off.
  #81  
Old 12-30-2019, 06:08 PM
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But here's the thing. If they don't want an investigation, why are they coming forward? I mean, they are adults, right? They have a responsibility to fairness and to the society they live in. Does anyone not understand that if you tell the police or a university official "Dave raped me" that an investigation will follow which requires a follow up from the accuser? What do they think or expect will happen?

I understand the trauma that a sexual assault victim has experienced, but it should be understood that the whole world doesn't just take your word for anything. You have a responsibility other than making an accusation and walking off.
It's a ridiculous hypothetical. I answered it, pretending it wasn't absurd... but occasionally people do absurd things. And I never demanded that "the whole world" take anyone's word for anything.
  #82  
Old 12-30-2019, 06:11 PM
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...
Who has to drop? Who has to finish the class remotely? Who gets to stay with the class while the other goes to the other room?
First, the authorities attempt mediation, and see if either one volunteers. Given the number of students who study off tapes, there's a decent chance one will. If that doesn't work, the accused goes to the other room. The odds are higher that he's lying than that the accuser is. And the remedy isn't so horrific that it's worth doing something more complicated.
  #83  
Old 12-30-2019, 06:25 PM
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First, the authorities attempt mediation, and see if either one volunteers. Given the number of students who study off tapes, there's a decent chance one will. If that doesn't work, the accused goes to the other room. The odds are higher that he's lying than that the accuser is. And the remedy isn't so horrific that it's worth doing something more complicated.
What odds do you base this on? This is assuming that any sort of punishment should be based upon odds.

Further, if we assume that whatever biased and feminist study that you cite for me about these odds are true, then what's to stop these odds from changing once unprincipled accusers find out about the new policy that gets unwanted people kicked out of their class and then skews the odds the other way?
  #84  
Old 12-30-2019, 06:45 PM
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Suppose you are president (or whichever administrator ultimately makes the final decisions) at a university. A woman - a student in your university - comes to you and claims that she has been raped by a man - also a university student. The following circumstances apply:


1. There are no witnesses to the alleged crime.
2. Both students are people with clean backgrounds. The man has never been known to do anything like this, and the woman has never been known to lie.
3. No DNA/forensic evidence has been obtained or examined, because the accuser doesn't want to go to the police. She wants the school to take disciplinary action, but wants to avoid the courts and their associated hassle.
4. There are no state/federal laws that mandate that you take a particular course of action (i.e., "you must give the accused the benefit of presumption of innocence" or something like that.)
5. The woman vehemently insists that a rape has happened, and the man equally vehemently denies that such a thing has ever happened.
6. The school itself has no policies or precedents that lay out what you are to do, or not do, in this situation.



What would you do in this situation?
If I were so principled as my ideals, or so ideal as my principles, I would resign effective immediately upon receiving the complaint. Why? Because (6) I am president of a school that has no policies in place to handle rape accusations. That kind of obliviousness is a major, major problem which is best solved with a change in leadership. I would also make this very clear and public in my letter/speech of resignation.

The hypothetical is flawed, but it's salvageable. I can still answer and debate the core question, "what should the policy be in this hypothetical rape accusation?"

Next, as iiandyiiii astutely observes, none of the facts given in the case are known to me (the president) at the moment the accusation first reaches my ears. The first step is to depose the accuser. It doesn't really matter who the witness talks to as long as it is a single point of contact made clear by existing policy. It could be me, the president, or it could be a designated person from the campus police. Either I take the deposition or I refer her to a designated interviewer.

The victim then attends an appointment with the interviewer, to hear her story. I am not sure whether or not the victim should be advised that the university retains the right to take anything they say to municipal authorities, or even whether the university should retain that right. I will defer to people more experienced with psychology and criminal/law enforcement subjects; as I think there may be a chilling effect at play. Nevertheless the victim must have the right to unilaterally go to municipal authorities at all times.

Due to the chilling effect that I assume would exist, I would not have the school take all accusations straight to the municipal police (where DrDeth would do so).

Even if the municipal police were involved, I would still want a campus investigation for reasons given by Oredigger77, to the extent possible without obstructing the municipal police. The District Attorney may not bring the case to court, whereas presumably school policy is more strict than the law in some relevant way; the accused may have definitely* violated school policy without definitely* breaking the law.

* Here I mean beyond a reasonable doubt, because that is the standard I would use in both disciplinary proceedings and criminal proceedings. It is not unheard of for schools to use a lesser standard.

I am not sure whether to start an investigation if the victim expressly asks us not to investigate. Maybe someone here could convince me on that question. I am definitely against taking disciplinary action if I have nothing to go on but the accuser's word. She may want to avoid the court's hassles, but she still has to put up with the university's hassles if she wants the university to hand down a punishment.

If the investigation does take place, and as stated in the hypothetical no evidence or facts appear to tip the scales in favor of the victim or the accused, I default to not guilty. Deep down, I think it is better that a number of guilty people go free than an innocent person be punished. Even slightly punished. This is because I think I have more control over actually being guilty than I do over being accused, and also because of how I view the nature of morality. I'm not sure how many people it would take for me to abandon the presumption of innocence, but I think that's a separate debate unto itself.

~Max, back from vacation

Last edited by Max S.; 12-30-2019 at 06:49 PM. Reason: a little clarification
  #85  
Old 12-30-2019, 07:20 PM
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I will point out it's pretty rare for a competent investigation to produce no evidence. In most cases, the investigators are going to find evidence that either corroborates the initial accusation or contradicts it. This is true even in cases where the primary evidence is testimony.
  #86  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:16 PM
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Try this (not really). Go to the police and tell them that your buddy Dave took $1k in cash off of your kitchen table when he was over but you don't want to testify, don't want an investigation, and just want that to be the end of it. In this instance, one which is not tinged with political advocacy, the police would put their pen down and tell you that without your cooperation, there is no way that anything is going to happen.

And expect to be questioned yourself. As the police don't know you, perhaps you have a beef against Dave and are trying to get him in trouble.

This is what real investigations do: the seek the truth without a pre-ordained outcome.
Stealing $1000 is a relatively minor offense when compared to rape. A better comparison would need to be made with a more severe crime like attempted murder, domestic violence, assault, etc. But even minor monetary crimes will be investigated from just the accusation. If someone left a voicemail at campus security that said "When Dave works the box office, he steals cash.", that accusation would be investigated.

There are many cases I could imagine where someone would not want to be part of the investigation, but would want it to be reported. For example:

"When we visited your campus as part of our college tour, Dave Smith raped my child. I don't want to put my child through any more trauma and will not be part of any investigation. I am recording this complaint in case I need proof of it at a later date."

I'm fairly certain there would be an investigation with something like that. It's going to be hard to gather evidence and nothing conclusive may be found, but the investigation should be done if for no other reason than to prove they investigated it as much as reasonably possible.
  #87  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:25 PM
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Repeat post below finished.

Last edited by DSeid; 12-30-2019 at 09:30 PM.
  #88  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:28 PM
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Where did I suggest this? I've made several posts about what I think should be done -- which one are you disagreeing with?
I didn't see your earlier post. I don't think I disagree with anything you said in that.

Unfortunately, the reality is that in order to conduct any effective investigation, the accuser is going to have to participate. And the defense is going to do their best to attack the accuser's credibility.
  #89  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:29 PM
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I will point out it's pretty rare for a competent investigation to produce no evidence. In most cases, the investigators are going to find evidence that either corroborates the initial accusation or contradicts it. This is true even in cases where the primary evidence is testimony.
Do you have ANY basis for that assertion?

I'm pretty amazed by how much is being said in this thread that is just people saying shit.

The op is NOT an absurd hypothetical. There are many cases in which an alleged victim does not want to go to the police (due to the likely negative impact on them, inclusive of revictimization, and the knowledge that the it will be his word her word as to consent). And many more in which the evidence is not close enough to the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that a decision to prosecute is based upon.

Colleges are NOT required to report their being told of the alleged incident to the police and an alleged victim is NOT required to report to the police. Colleges are however obligated to adjudicate the case and they are not held to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. The issue of what standard they should be held under is not something they make up on their own on the fly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYT 9/22/17
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday scrapped a key part of government policy on campus sexual assault, saying she was giving colleges more freedom to balance the rights of accused students with the need to crack down on serious misconduct.

The move, which involved rescinding two sets of guidelines several years old, was part of one of the fiercest battles in higher education today, over whether the Obama administration, in trying to get colleges to take sexual assault more seriously, had gone too far and created a system that treated the accused unfairly.

The most controversial portion of the Obama-era guidelines had demanded colleges use the lowest standard of proof, ďpreponderance of the evidence,Ē in deciding whether a student is responsible for sexual assault, a verdict that can lead to discipline and even expulsion. On Friday, the Education Department said colleges were free to abandon that standard and raise it to a higher standard known as ďclear and convincing evidence.Ē ...

... Since many cases come down to one studentís word against anotherís, and do not rise to the level of a police investigation, the evidentiary standard has become the main battleground in the nationwide fight over sexual behavior on campus.

The ďpreponderanceĒ rule means colleges must find a student responsible if it is more likely than not that the student conducted a sexual act without the partnerís consent. A ďclear and convincingĒ case means it is highly probable the misconduct occurred.

Even some liberal legal figures took issue with the Obama administrationís approach, arguing that no student should be punished unless the school was more certain that a line had been crossed.
Updated guidance was
Quote:
Under the new rules, schools would be required to hold live hearings and would no longer rely on a so-called single investigator model that has become common at colleges. Accusers and students accused of sexual assault must be allowed to cross-examine each other through an adviser or lawyer. The rules require that the live hearings be conducted by a neutral decision maker and conducted with a presumption of innocence.

Both parties would have equal access to all the evidence that school investigators use to determine facts of the case, and a chance to appeal decisions.
Yes UltraVires the different standards are based on the odds: beyond reasonable shadow of doubt; highly probable; or more likely than not. Even under Devos colleges are not at the legal standard of ... the odds. And have more freedom to decide what response is appropriate if that standard is met.
  #90  
Old 12-30-2019, 10:12 PM
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[QUOTE=DSeid;22053630...
The op is NOT an absurd hypothetical. There are many cases in which an alleged victim does not want to go to the police (due to the likely negative impact on them, inclusive of revictimization, and the knowledge that the it will be his word her word as to consent). And many more in which the evidence is not close enough to the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that a decision to prosecute is based upon.

Colleges are NOT required to report their being told of the alleged incident to the police and an alleged victim is NOT required to report to the police. Colleges are however obligated to adjudicate the case and they are not held to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. ....[/QUOTE]

If reported in time, there is almost always some evidence.

And that is under Federal law. State laws vary.
  #91  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:50 PM
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What odds do you base this on? This is assuming that any sort of punishment should be based upon odds.

Further, if we assume that whatever biased and feminist study that you cite for me about these odds are true, then what's to stop these odds from changing once unprincipled accusers find out about the new policy that gets unwanted people kicked out of their class and then skews the odds the other way?
I don't see "separate them" as punishment.
Have you ever wanted to get someone kicked out of a class? Why? Did they do something horrible to you or something? Uh... right. Seriously, what is the motive to want someone removed from your class? If they didn't do something horrible to you, and they just smell bad or something, can't you sit away from them? And you know, if one girl complains about multiple boys, that's evidence right there. I think you are worrying about problems that don't happen.

Actually, they do. I knew a guy who had to leave his job as an assistant professor because a student made an accusation against him that was much less serious than rape. And everyone knew the accusation was false. The administrator who explained that the college had found him a new job elsewhere told him that they knew it was false, but both the guy and the school would be seriously hurt if she sued. And as best as i could tell, her motive was that she was crazy.

So.... We already have these Draconian rules. And how many boys get thrown out of their classes? Right. It's not a real problem. I mean, no doubt there's somebody somewhere who has been injured, like the guy I knew. But we live in an imperfect world. It's not a serious problem. In particular, it's a much less serious problem than the incidence of rape on campuses.
  #92  
Old 12-31-2019, 01:05 AM
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The scenario that a student would want the university but not the police to act on a complaint of sexual assault really IS an absurd hypothetical because only about a fourth of campus sexual assault cases are reported to anyone. The fears of reporting are not only that reporting won't result in consequences but that the assailant will try to exact revenge, that he (or, I suppose, she) will encourage friends to get revenge for the reports, and that the university won't be able to keep the victim safe. If the assailant is a popular athlete, multiply those dangers by ten. None of those factors disappear if the assault is reported to the university but not the police.


And why is there the assumption that a victim would expect the university to expel the accused? Please show me data confirming that this happens frequently and without the victim filing a police report.
  #93  
Old 12-31-2019, 08:46 AM
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Iíd say thatís more a problem with how poorly constructed the hypothetical is (inability or failure to account for all relevant factors) than with how poor the answers are.
The deficits in the proposal to automatically "separate" students when one is accused have nothing to do with the deficits in the OP.

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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
The broad answers given to broad theoretical questions arenít designed to answer all possible situations. Answers may differ when additional information is provided.
Your broad answer will harm real people in real classes. Maybe you didn't think it through. Maybe you don't care. But your "best practice" will harm people. "Broad theoretical question" is no excuse here. No additional information required other than knowing how real schools work.
  #94  
Old 12-31-2019, 09:02 AM
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One of them drops the class, takes something else instead, and picks up the chemistry class next year.
This delays graduation a year. Thus, harm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzlegal View Post
Or... One of them finishes the class remotely. The professor makes tapes available, and that student can take the final in a different room. Lab times can be staggered.

I bet there are other options, too.
Lab times can be moved; that's why I didn't pick a lab. This class isn't recorded. Even if it were, this isn't some state school monster lecture hall; it's an interactive class. And even if it were a uniderectional lecture, there are reasons people pay more for in-person over remote classes. And even if those were equivalent, this chemistry program involves a relatively strict sequence of classes. So we're not talking about just one class being disrupted.

You bet there are other options. Maybe there aren't. Maybe this actually is the best one. But we should understand the actual costs instead of dismissing them or, as others have done, blaming them on the OP.
  #95  
Old 12-31-2019, 09:15 AM
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So.... We already have these Draconian rules.
If you have data on how common it is to automatically remove an accused from class with an accuser with no evidence beyond the accusation, let's see them.
  #96  
Old 12-31-2019, 09:30 AM
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If you think a jury of your "peers" is terrifying, you'll love a jury of the SDMB "statisticians"!
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Iíd err on avoiding negative impact to her as in the statistical universe she is more likely the truthful one.
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If someone has to bear harms from the report it cannot be her. And not only because the odds are she is being truthful but also because of the message it sends to others.
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The odds are higher that he's lying than that the accuser is.
  #97  
Old 12-31-2019, 10:32 AM
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On that note (responding to the above string of quotes), Iím not super enthusiastic about the idea that "accusation made" should mean "the accused is the one to be pulled out of class" is an appropriate response. There is no perfect solution, but the best way to balance the rights of the accused with the well-being of the accuser IMHO would be to inform the accuser of their rights (as a victim) and inform them that, among other things, they may elect to be removed from any classes they share with the accused if they so choose. If that means arranging for a class of one at a time of convenience to the accuser due to limited course offerings, then so be it.

But I donít think an accusation alone should be treated as some sort of "accused ejection button."

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 12-31-2019 at 10:34 AM.
  #98  
Old 12-31-2019, 11:53 AM
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There is an account in the story below that I found very disturbing. What disturbed me was the VICTIM’S account of the “assault” itself, which has all the hallmarks of regret and contains absolutely nothing that I would reasonably see as an assault. And ultimately, the school and authorities agreed.
But the accused still suffered great harm and was punished anyway. One of the things he was punished for was allegedly sending his victim a Facebook friend request. He offered investigators access to his account so he could prove he didn’t send the request. They weren’t interested. I mean, no one has EVER gotten a friend request that was spoofed, amirite?

https://www.theatlantic.com/educatio...policy/538974/

“A 2015 study by the education insurance group United Educators, examining 305 claims of assault at 104 schools, found that about 40% of students delay reporting an assault ( there are many valid reasons one might do so, including fear of stigma). The average delay was 11 months and “ in most cases, the victim labeled the incident a sexual assault only after talking with friends or attending prevention training.” This is a quote from the story linked below, which calls out junk science, (similar to the “recovered memories” of the 1980’s), which claims inconsistencies and untruths in the victim account’s should serve as evidence that an assault did occur.

Caroline Quillen, President of Davidson College, wrote in an op-ed “that while criminal justice is founded on due process and the possibility of innocence”, ideals she valued, these goals were inherently in conflict with other important goals. Nothing about due process says to a rape survivor “I believe you”.


https://www.theatlantic.com/educatio...ssault/539211/

I do not want to disenfranchise victims of sexual assault. But one way of doing that is to broaden the definition of sexual assault to the point where it’s almost meaningless.
Some of the policies are incredibly infantilizing towards women and assume that the default position is “women don’t want sex and men do”. And they assume that women that are assaulted are so traumatized that it’s unfair to expect to have a coherent thought or consistent stories. Because we are weak, helpless and fall apart so easily. College men must rise to role of protectors and understand that although we might lose all control and drop our panties if a drop of alcohol touches our lips, it is their responsibility to be the grownup and protect us from ourselves.

I was a female in the very first class of my college that did NOT impose a curfew on females. We still has restrictions that men didn’t, our dorms locked down at midnight and we had to have security open up for us if we came in later- and if we were intoxicated we’d get into trouble. I fought for the right to be treated as a responsible adult, and I’m not crazy about these new policies.

If I go out with a guy and we share a couple of glasses of wine and he’s sweet and charming so I go to bed with him, that isn’t rape. Even if I feel “uncomfortable” about it the next day and don’t want to see him again. Even if I like him but he ignores me and treats me like garbage he’s discarded.

Yes, stuff like this happened to me in college. And it was uncomfortable. And ultimately, those situations were learning experiences that taught me to make better decisions.

There are lots of situations in life that are inherently uncomfortable. Making someone uncomfortable is not a crime. As an employer, I often had to have uncomfortable conversations with employees. Comfort is not a human right and learning to handle discomfort is a valuable skill.

These links were from a three part series in The Atlantic. The third installment dealt with race issues in campus assault. If anyone is interested the link is here.

https://www.theatlantic.com/educatio...-cases/539361/
  #99  
Old 12-31-2019, 12:01 PM
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I don't see "separate them" as punishment.
So then throw the accuser out of class. What? It's not a punishment.
  #100  
Old 12-31-2019, 12:21 PM
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I donít believe university administrators are law enforcement. The police and judicial system are. Why not have the alleged victim take the complaint to the police?
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