In an earlier life, I was a cog in a very large American corporation. As many of you know, much management time is spent in training sessions that address a multitude of potential risks for the company…very few more dangerous than sexual harassment. One point was hammered into us over and over….Once a charge of sexual harassment is made, even in confidence, in private, with the most fervent instructions not to proceed, it is incumbent on the manager to make an official report, inform HR, etc. It wasn’t an option then, and I doubt it has become one since. In fact, one HR representative made it abundantly clear: “If you don’t report it, you’ll get fired.”
So why is it that on the typical American college campus, deans and provosts and heads of departments routinely withhold information about sexual assault, which is by most measures worse than harassment, from the very people who are charged with its investigation; the police? In fact, they not only withhold information, they often don’t even report it. Sexual assault is a felony. A serious felony. It’s not TPing the dean’s residence. It’s not stealing laptops. Yet those are routinely reported to local police.
Imagine an equivalent crime being committed on campus: attempted murder. That’s a Class B felony in my state, and it carries a sentence of five years. Rape can carry a sentence of 10-20 years, so I am being generous when I suggest their equivalence.
How would the NY Times react if an attempted murder on the Columbia University campus was investigated by a school disciplinary committee instead of the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney? Or if that entitled, lying idiot Emma Sulkowicz (better known as “Mattress Girl”) had been mugged and beaten in the library by a fellow student, and the investigation was conducted by an assistant professor of 16th Century Low Country Lesbian Poetry and the associate dean of of Gender-Based Misconduct?
They would be pilloried by the press, and rightly so. Parents would be up in arms, and there would be protests against the lax attitude of the administration with respect to campus safety. It is time to hold college administrators accountable for their cavalier disregard of the basic tenets of American law and public safety. When crimes are committed, call the cops. And if that crime is the obstruction of an investigation of a violent crime, then those responsible should be arrested and tried for that crime.
I so want to see a few college administrators and professors frog marched out of some silly faculty meeting on diversity, in handcuffs, thrown into the back of a smelly police car and booked for obstruction of justice. It would serve to concentrate the minds of the rest of those supercilious asses across American campuses whose preening about their homegrown justice systems belies the reality that their investigations and sentences are un-American, probably illegal, and certainly unethical and immoral.