A few weeks ago, I published a column about the pathetic state of Title IX as well as the pathetic state of its present interpretation at my little university, UNC by the Sea. Those who read my previous column recall that I criticized university officials for wrongly instructing faculty that they were compelled to report the names of rape victims who had shared their stories with professors in confidence - or names attached to rape stories that had somehow come to the attention of the professor. Some of my specific complaints included the following:
1. No student can speak to a professor in confidence about an allegation of rape or sexual harassment. The professor must report the incident to his supervisor who must then forward the information to the Dean.
2. Warning students that they cannot talk to a professor about a rape or sexual harassment will not protect the alleged victim because the above rule also applies to hearsay. If the professor hears the story second-hand, or even third-hand, he must report it to his supervisor who will report it to the Dean.
3. Even rape and harassment claims that a professor suspects or knows to be false must be reported by the professor.
4. Even off-campus incidents must be reported.
5. Incidents involving perpetrators from outside the university community must be reported to the university.
6. There is no specific statute of limitations associated with such reports.
7. All of these requirements apply to classroom discussions touching on rape and sexual harassment.
Those who read that column also noticed that I mentioned a story about a UNCW student who was once gang raped and who later confided in me. Among those reading the column were UNCW administrators who are paid six-digit salaries to monitor my opinion pieces. They called requesting information about the gang rape. I refused to answer until they put their questions in writing.
Something very interesting happened when they wrote. UNCW officials indicated that they were only going to demand that I give them more information (read: rat out the rape victim and betray her confidence) under one of two conditions: 1. If the rape happened on UNCW property, or 2. If the rape was perpetrated by members of the UNCW community, regardless of where it took place.
In other words, when forced to put it in writing, the administration articulated a different rule than the one that is being orally transmitted in meetings and in informal discussions with administrators. Specifically, they relaxed #4 and #5 from the list above. Ask an administrator and they will say "report everyone and everything." Ask them to put it in writing and they narrow the scope of inquiry.
So why are there two different sets of instructions? Is it just because UNCW has incompetent legal counsel? No. Incompetent as they are, there are two very sinister reasons for the discrepancies.
1. The administration wants a written record that they are engaged in a good faith effort to report sexual assaults and sexual harassment incidents. So they write reasonable emails - especially to professors who know that the oral instructions to faculty are legally erroneous.
2. The administration wants to convey false information to the majority of the faculty so they can continue to encourage over reporting. The reason is that they want to perpetrate the myth of a campus rape epidemic so they can engineer a "solution"- preferably with the help of federal funding. And unfortunately it is paying off. Just last week, UNCW received a $300,000 grant from the White House to help address the rape epidemic that isn't happening on our campus.
Nonetheless, I refuse to back down on my insistence that the university go on the record and admit that administrators have been falsely instructing professors that they must report rape claims that come to them second or third hand, even if they believe the stories are false. Reasonable people realize that such requirements have the potential to seriously harm innocent people. The policy must be changed.
Fortunately, I'm getting some help from like-minded readers of my column. One such reader recently wrote and told me he heard that leaders of a black sorority were summoned to a Dean's office in order to investigate a claim of off-campus hazing. Once there, UNCW administrators gang raped them and wrote racial epithets on their bodies using human excrement.
I know the story is just hearsay. And I emphatically believe it to be untrue. But I've heard I have an obligation to report such stories even if they are hearsay and even if I don't believe they are true.
Sadly, the administrators who get paid to read my columns will now be forced to investigate their fellow administrators. Either that or reconsider their patently idiotic reporting policies.