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Further Thoughts on Sexual Assault
Kathleen Mayer’s recent three-part series on the serious problem of sexual assault at the College (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3) has elicited a great deal of praise — and some well-thought-out criticism. A few thoughts from my corner:
Among the more doctrinaire positions that one hears on campus is the strident feminist notion that “it is my right to be drunk at 3am in a frat basement just like anyone else, and be safe.” In formal terms, there is no disputing this point: legally and morally, the position is correct. But one hears this comment often enough, in just these terms, to assume that it is passed on without thought.
My response is always an indirect one. “Do you lock your bicycle?” After a wary answer, “Yes,” my conversation partners see where I am going. Of course, we all have the legal right not to lock a bicycle when we leave it unattended, but we don’t do so. We recognize the existence of thievery in the world, and though we attempt to combat it by, among other things, paying taxes so that the judicial system can eradicate theft, taking basic precautions on a personal level is just common sense.
If my daughter took this rigid position, I’d move the conversation from one about legality, to a simple cost/benefit analysis. Sure you can stand on your legal rights, but what is the benefit from taking this position? Slight, if anything. And what is the cost? Kathleen details that pretty well.
One other query that I have had concerns the nature of women’s response on campus to the problem of assault. Have no doubt that it is a problem. The first time that an undergraduate friend — a trusted, reliable one — described the frequency of ugly events that had occurred to people in her circle of acquaintances, I was profoundly shaken. Subsequent accounts from similarly situated people have had the same effect. Why don’t women do more to combat the problem? The efforts of the Panhellenic Society to boycott fraternities that don’t sufficiently investigate accusations of assault are a start. But have they been effective? I was surprised at the controversy that they caused.
Let’s flip things around for the purpose of analysis. Imagine that a slightly built fraternity brother was plied with liquor and then sexually assaulted by a member of a gay organization, perhaps someone living in the College’s planned LBGT housing? How would the fraternity brothers of the aggrieved student respond?
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…