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The dubious pleasures of US college campus life

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides. Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

Camille Paglia (h/t Glenn Reynolds).

Universities these days are not just toxic because of what Reynolds has referred to as the higher education bubble (a problem to some extent mirrored here in the UK, though smaller in relative terms). This sort of issue that Paglia writes about is creating a breeding ground for paranoia and fear among the sexes. And who benefits from this?

32 comments to The dubious pleasures of US college campus life

  • A big part of the problem here is that the reality of the rape statistics as collected by local / state police and the FBI does not fit the oft quoted, yet disconnected-from-reality statistic hurled about by those pushing their “rape culture” propaganda that:

    “one in five women is sexually assaulted by the end of her college career”


    “Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute notes, for example, that in the four years 2009 to 2012 there were 98 reported sexual assaults at Ohio State. That would be 12 percent of 817 total out of a female student population of approximately 28,000, for a sexual assault rate of approximately 2.9 percent — too high but nowhere near 20 percent.”

    The problem though is that the dead hand of government is being forced to act by the activists within its own ranks and the campus authorities have been told, sort out the problem or lose funding.

    So campus authorities have no choice but to introduce draconian measures on the basis of “being seen to be doing something” especially in the large number of cases where alcohol is a factor.

    A zero tolerance approach is all very well, but when the campus authorities are bringing students before kangaroo courts and expelling them on the flimsiest of evidence, there is bound to be injustice.

    The fact that this essentially radical feminist propaganda and that those expelled from colleges on the flimsiest of evidence have been almost exclusively men has not gone unnoticed, if unremarked by college or government bureaucracies.

    In most of these cases the police were either not involved or found no case to answer / insufficient evidence to prosecute.

    Certainly the rules on consent as required by colleges in California are so ridiculous that they are impossible to comply with and the vast majority of sexual encounters between students would be classified as rape or sexual assault under these circumstances.

    If it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable.

  • Dave Walker

    In answer to the final question, “Lawyers”.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Camille Paglia is a fine example of a rare breed, the sensible liberal.

  • Paul Marks

    The left benefit from this – P.C.

    Frankfurt School (and fellow travellers) – seeking victim groups.

  • Sigivald

    On the other hand, Paglia calling abduction-and-murder “the true danger”, while a good antidote to campus hysteria, is itself problematic.

    Abduction followed by murder (or not!) is … just not very common. I’d be shocked if they weren’t down like all other violent crime, over the past decades, in the US.

    (It’s hard to find separate numbers for adult abduction vs. child abduction, which is almost always custody cases and usually with the child’s willing assistance, and thus morally in a completely different realm than the abduction of an adult against their will.)

  • K

    @Paul Marks: The Frankfurt school never had access to 80 percent of the media, virtually all of academia and a SCOTUS title 9 decision which allows the executive branch to tell the colleges what they will or won’t do. When you do you can make your own custom crisis to fit an arbitrary narrative. Like a rape epidemic timed for the candidacy of a progressive woman candidate for President.

    Was there ever this level of corruption and duplicity in a western democracy that didn’t go through at least a period of dictatorship?

  • patriarchal landmine

    as a result, men are bailing out of the system. they can’t even manage to get their stupid degree without risking a false accusation from a girl who wanted to stir up drama and label herself a “victim” and a “survivor.”

    millions of men who would have contributed many great technological advances are instead settling for a meager life of subsistence and maintenance. all those comforts that women rely on to do their dirty work will come to an end, and then maybe, when women are crawling through the broken streets praying to find a man who will support them, we can deal with this feminism problem.

  • Runcie Balspune

    In America, the leading cause of death after disease and accidents is suicide, almost double the rate of homicide. This is prevalent amongst college ages (1,100 per year) and is skewed towards males, in the 17-19 age range it is 5:1 male to female.

    Being under a regime where you could be targeted as a rapist at any time probably does not help.

  • Johnnydub

    I for the life of me cant understand why in an environment braying for “equality” you have a situation where if a guy and girl both get drunk and fuck, the guy is deemed to have committed a crime.

    Why not just cut mens balls off and have done with it?

  • Mr Ed

    Do US science students have this sort of atmosphere to contend with?

    And are there purely scientific institutes that aren’t wholly politicised?

    It seems to me that these days, any subject outside of science/mathematics/engineering may become politicised as the politicised weasels suck objective reality out of their disciplines to replace it with mind-bending.

  • Tedd

    Mr Ed:

    It’s been a long time since I was at university, but even then engineering was fairly politicized at my school. It’s not unreasonable to assume that it’s even more so now. Here in Canada, engineering schools have for decades been agonizing over the “problem” of relatively few women students. Plus you have the “sustainability” meme, which has come to be treated as an axiom among engineering school faculty (at least publicly).

    Engineering schools mostly escape the ethnic diversity “problem,” although not completely. Certain ethnicities seem to have acquired de facto white status from being strongly represented in STEM fields. It’s possible to make engineering look not “diverse” if you’re willing to apply that assumption.

  • Sigivald, from my reading of Paglia’s quote, she is not saying that that danger is the greatest or the most common – rather, she is merely saying that it is true, as opposed to the patently false danger of the “rape culture” the progressives are pushing. Which as far as I can tell is, ahem, true enough.

  • Very retired

    Centralized colleges are just as obsolete as the rest of the 19th century industrial school model we currently endure. The more bizarre and hostile the formal educational environment becomes, the more the truly independent and innovative minds, both men and women, will abandon it asap and proceed to online courses and other resources to get whatever knowledge they need for their specific goals.

    Collectivists in power, and make no mistake, that’s exactly what this lunacy is, in spades, can’t help themselves—they just have to keep pushing until they get to the twilight zone. Then they wonder why so many people are climbing over the wall to escape.

    In this situation, the solution to the pc lunacy problem is sitting on every students desk, and in their backpacks. Just take out the that magic little machine, hook up to the cloud, and all the knowledge in the world is at your fingertips.

    And don’t forget, there are a couple billion people out there who are discovering educational opportunities like this for the very first time. Does anyone truly believe some outmoded system built on pc cant and ideological bullshit can stand up to the storm of that kind of intellectual energy?

    Only the elasticity and innovative capacity of individual rights and inalienable human liberties can contain and transmit that kind of power.

  • bobby b

    Why not just cut mens balls off and have done with it?

    Because I suspect that it’s been more fun for them to simply goad men into cutting their own balls off.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    I am a bit surprised that Unis and colleges are still around. i think that the Internet will replace them over time, with home self-schooling replacing ordinary teaching. Maybe the Uni or College will be where students take their final tests, but you needn’t meet your co-students overwise.

  • The Banks

    I suspect that among other criminal illuminati elements, the banksters are behind this epidemic as well. Its all part of the plan for global world order!

  • Very retired at September 30, 2014 at 11:19 pm looks/sounds to me like an impostor.

    Best regards

  • Nigel Sedgwick at October 1, 2014 at 7:00 am looks/sounds to me like an impostor.

    Best regards

  • The difficulty here is that colleges are trying to fill in the perceived gap between the actual rate of college sexual harassment / sexual assault / rape which is of the order of 2%-3% to meet the oft-touted but fantastical 1-in-5 measure being pushed by the activists.

    Since this 1-in-5 figure is about as real as Winnie the Pooh, they are having some measure of difficulty, which is why they are scraping the bottom of the barrel to include even the most pathetic, innocuous or common-place interactions within the spectrum.

    The nature of boy-girl relations, where the boy is expected to ‘make the first move’, inevitably means that in the case of misread signals (especially where alcohol is involved), even an immediate rebuttal by the girl (‘Sorry, I only like you as a friend’) can mean that a claim of sexual harassment can be made.

    Along with the Californian approach that any amount of alcohol means that the girl cannot give consent, equates to potentially turning any intimate encounter into an circumstance where the boy, but never the girl can be expelled.

    It’s like Russian Roulette, or more closely the movie WarGames.


  • llamas

    John Galt wrote:

    “It’s like Russian Roulette, . . . . ”

    Only it’s more like the ZZ Top version

    “Better hold on when she’s up to her tricks
    Playin’ Russian Roulette, but she’ll load all six . . . .”

    When I was young, I rode a motorcycle, and I slept with college girls, and everyone knew which one was dangerous to one’s future, and which was not. Nowadays, I still drive a motorcycle, and on balance would advise college-age men to stop at that. With this now being the Federally-mandated default direction, any male college student who goes within shouting distance of a female student is literally putting his future in her hands. Why would you?

    The eventual recovery (when college-age women figure out the results of having the dreams of hard-core feminists imposed upon them) is going to be interesting. And fun. It so happens that I drive right through downtown Ann Arbor on my way to work. The layers of anti-rape posters festooning the blue-light kiosks must be up to inches thick now. In just a few more years, when college men avoid college women like the plague – what will the posters be about then, I wonder?



  • Tedd

    Rob Fisher:

    Good2Go seems like a great idea, but I’m surprised at how they implemented it. Wouldn’t it have been better to use Bluetooth pairing, so mutual consent is recorded on both devices? The way they’ve done it seems completely insecure and easily to fake out.

  • thefrollickingmole

    In the words of the immortal Rodney Rude.

    “If you cant find a woman, find a clean old man”…

    The people pushing this are evil people, they aren’t misguided, good intentioned or a little confused. They should be just told, at every opportunity “you are an evil person, doing evil for your own pleasure”.

    But (going out on a limb here) thanks to the state taking private “sins” such as smoking and drinking and turning them into a form of stigma, inviting people to scorn individuals not hurting others, this was a logical continuing point. Soon we will be able to monitor your private communications for deviance as well, terrorism today, old Benny Hill episodes tomorrow. Never underestimate the pathology of those who think your existence is wrong and an affront to them.

  • veryretired

    Not sure why you think that, Nigel, but it was really me, for what that’s worth.

  • Actually, I think it really depends on which college you attend. The typical East-West Coast institution, along with the occasional hell-pit like UT-Austin, is prone to this crap. Much less so in the case of unis in conservative small towns.

    Where I went to school (up to 2013) in north Texas, it was in a conservative area *which could be deduced by the prominence of Christian societies. (In the Ivy League, Christian societies are regarded by the faculty with the same attitude as the Students’ Nazi Society; not so in conservative colleges like ours.)

    Likewise, the students were FAR more conservative than the faculty. The Student Socialist Society existed, but had about fifty members (in a campus of 36,000 students). Forget the hook-up culture, too: the girls were modest and quite old-fashioned about all this.

    I don’t know if our small-town school is at all representative, but I have to tell you, I feel better about my fellow students (especially the ladies) than I do about the faculty and administration. It’s bad out there, but not quite as bad as people think.

  • Nicholas (Natural Genius) Gray

    Well, Texas is weird! All those gun-owners- are guns compulsory, or just complimentary? And lots of employment and minimal taxes! Are they trying to make the rest of the USA look bad? And couldn’t they sell off the Northern block, so the rest of the state has neater lines?

  • llamas
    October 1, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    It is already happening. In colleges where the M/F numbers start approaching 2:1 men are given affirmative action points to keep the ratios from getting too far out of balance. This is supposed to be a “secret”. Well not very:


  • Note: I avoided all that by hanging around colleges but not going to school. I preferred to learn on my own. Work in aerospace was the result. And lots of “experiences” with women.

    I recommend it to all my male friends. It is safer that way.

    BTW even in regular policing rape is the most falsely accused crime. Estimates put it at some where in the 40% to 50% range.


    Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes that there is. A command officer in the Denver Police sex assaults unit recently told me he placed the false rape numbers at approximately 45 percent. Objective studies have confirmed this. See Purdue Professor Kanin’s nine-year study published in 1994 concluding that over 40 percent of rape allegations were demonstrably false.

  • llamas

    M. Simon – I don’t disagree with your general direction, but I have my doubts the numbers. Even Professor Kanin’s study is not quite so clear-cut when you delve into the details.

    Having been an LEO, although not on this particular beat, I have known a couple of investigators in the Metro Detroit area who worked in this area.

    The general sense I get from them is that reports of CSC2 and 3 (the more-modern names for what we historically think of as ‘rape’) break down as follows:

    25% are likely true bills – the actual crime (as defined in the statutes) occurred, and there is enough evidence (probably) to prosecute.
    25% are likely completely false – no intimate contact of any kind between the accused and the accuser. A collection of girlfriend/boyfriend issues, mad parents, and the generally-insane populate this space.

    And then there’s the 50% in the middle, that fall on a continuum that spans smoothly from the first 25% to the last 25%. In virtually-all these cases, there was some sort of intimate contact between the accuser and the accused.

    In many cases, the crime defined in the statutes likely did occur – not a hope in hell of proving it.

    In many cases, the crime defined in the statutes likely did not occur.

    These are the ‘he-said, she-said’ cases. And they are all Completely Un-Prosecutable.

    Doesn’t stop the accuser, her family and a whole posse of victim’s-rights advocates from yelling to the rooftops that the police are not doing their jobs, they don’t care about rape victims, and so on and so on.

    Mind you, those are just the cases that are reported. Let’s not even get into the reporting-rate issues.

    One friend of mine averred that any complaint of CSC2 or 3 made on any Saturday or Sunday morning by an accuser less that 18yo, and any complaint made by any accuser under 18yo at any time when accompanied by one or both parents, is more than 90%-likely to be entirely false. But, oh, the overtime!

    I wish that past and much-missed LEO commenter Sunfish were here – I’ll bet he has a lot of real-world insight.

    Now – What these people want to do is two-fold:

    They want to make all of the ‘he-said, she-said’ cases – 75% of reported cases – into ‘whatever-she-said’ cases.

    And then they want to massively-expand the definitions, to drag in a whole bunch of behaviors that have nothing to do with intimate contact.

    According to these definitions provided in the University of Michigan guidelines, supplemented by definitions from the Michigan statutes where appropriate, we find the ridiculous situation where my ex-wife, who I have not seen or spoken to for almost 30 years, has been committing ‘sexual violence’ against me the entire time (had we attended UofM together, which we did not). Really. I’m not making it up.

    This does not seem to me to be a sound basis for law or public policy.



  • @veryretired: thank you for the clarification.

    The comment originated from my being surprised at both the policy and phrasing of the comment, having carefully noted your comments over many years. Apologies for not being more open to any change (or not, as the case may be) in what you think and write.

    Best regards

  • CaptDMO

    “And who benefits from this?”
    Anyone glad to see “certain” men barred from legal firearm ownership, OR voting, OR working.
    (Felony laws)
    SEE: The Crucible (bunch of lying young girls ducking the consequences of their own behavior)
    Also SEE: “Olianna”,THEN see: “The Secret Knowledge” both by David Mamet.

  • Much of the scholarly literature estimates that the actual rate is more like a tenth of that one-in-five rate, 2.16 percent, or 21.6 per 1,000 to use the conventional formulation. But that number is problematic, too, as are most of the numbers related to sexual assault, as the National Institute of Justice, the DoJ’s research arm, documents. For example, two surveys conducted practically in tandem produced victimization rates of 0.16 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively – i.e., the latter estimate was eleven times the former. The NIJ blames defective wording on survey questions.

    This is a matter of concern because a comparison between the NIJ’s estimates of college-campus rape and the estimates of rape in the general population compiled by the DoJ’s National Crime Victimization Survey implies that the rate of rape among college students is more than ten times that of the general population.

    More Here – but the summary is that sexual assaults are 1/3rd of what they were 20-years ago, but based upon the ‘1-in-5’ claim, on campus sexual assaults would be 10-times that of the general population.

    The Rape Epidemic Is a Fiction

    So I’m going to pull out all of the stops and say, that this is just bullshit propaganda from activists trying to pass lies off as facts.