In early May the University of Oregon dismissed three basketball players from its team amidst a fire storm of controversy over a sexual encounter which took place at an off-campus party on 8 March 2014. The encounter was detailed in a police investigation report which was leaked to the media, and charges of favoritism to college athletes soon carried the headlines in news reports.
A campus activist group, “University of Oregon Coalition to End Sexual Violence” mounted protests to pressure the administration to respond decisively to what its members characterized as gang rape. The local newspaper, The Register Guard, applied political pressure to the University of Oregon to make “examples” of the three alleged assailants, Damyean Dotson, Brandon Austin and Dominic Artis. News articles quickly appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, the New York Times and ABC News. Much of the coverage speculated about the possibility of a cover-up in order to allow the three players to have participated in college basketball’s celebrated March Madness tournament.UO’s athletic director Rob Mullens and coach Dana Altman were soon fearing for their jobs. On 9 May they held a press conference to denounce the three students. President Gottfredson told the media:
“The type of behavior in the police report, released this week, is utterly unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I understand and empathize with the outrage people feel. As a father I was appalled at what I read. As president of this university I am angry and disappointed over this profoundly disturbing incident.”
Gottfredson went on to describe the complainant as “the survivor” and asserted that student privacy laws prevented him from disclosing information about students. Yet he announced the suspension of the three male students and that they were dismissed from the team. “They will not be playing basketball at Oregon again.”Just what could spur such controversy, worthy of national attention? The short story is less interesting. But let me relate it in distilled form: It turns out that the actual events shrink to an understandable form as long as Artis-Dotson-Austin-Police-Report without imputing one’s own sexual preferences into the rights of others.
A female student named Amanda Jasmine went to a party in a house off campus. Before going to the party she consumed some peach flavored alcoholic beverage. Witnesses later said they did not believe her to be drunk.
Amanda Jasmine flirted with three basketball players and the four of them went into a bathroom and engaged in sex acts with each other. Another woman entered the bathroom and sought to join in. Her interest was rebuffed and after a break the four returned to the bathroom where she performed oral sex on the three players (see KVAL video of Kelsey Alston).
Soon she left the party with them in a cab and went to the apartment of Dominic Artis. There they engaged in group sex and afterward Artis invited the woman to spend the night and she accepted. The others left. In the morning two students had sex with each other before the woman took a cab home.
Later that day (the day after the party) Amanda Jasmine went to the apartment of a friend of the players. She spoke with him about her experience and eventually the two of them had sex.***
This synopsis of events could have been deduced by university administrators who read the police report. They could have and should have concluded that four students had engaged in group sex. No university policy prohibits group sex, and the sex lives of students is not the business of university administrators. Now to add the complicating factors. It was the father of Amanda Jasmine who called UO police on 10 March, two days after the party. They left phone messages for Jasmine but she did not return the calls. On 14 March she contacted the Eugene police who then went to interview her for the first time. A different officer interviewed her again later to sort out what the first report termed “inconsistencies.”
The inconsistencies resulted in a decision by the Lane County district attorney’s office to not file charges. In an interview a local TV news reporter persistently needled district attorney Alex Gardner and suggested that the three male students should “get their day in court” in order to prove their innocence (see KVAL video “sexual activity isn’t necessarily criminal”)
Much to the disappointment of sexual assault prevention activists, the D.A. did not find evidence of sexual assault. Amanda Jasmine had opportunities to resist or escape and she did not. She elected to spend the night with Artis, and texted him the next morning that she’d made it home safely via taxi cab. She told police that, “We were all drunk and it got a little bit out of hand.”
A witness told police that Jasmine appeared to be flirting with one of the male students after she’d given him oral sex in the bathroom at the party. Jasmine told police that she allowed the three men to sexually touch her. “I think I just gave up. I let them do whatever they wanted. I just wanted it to be over and to go to sleep.” When the New York Times ran its first story on 6 May, reporter Joshua Hunt deceptively reduced that statement to, “I think I just gave up.”
Also absent from the NY Times story is Amanda Jasmine’s statement to police, “I want them to get a slap on the wrist.”
After the police report was leaked to the Register Guard newspaper, protests generated outrage and outrage generated more protest.
Protesters on campus held signs declaring:
“I live in a rape culture”
“Passes on the court, free pass from the courts”
“UO: Expel Rapists”
There was no evidence that a rape had been committed, yet the administration began to encourage outraged protesters in various ways.
President Gottfredson told the UO faculty senate on 14 May:
“President Obama has identified sexual assault at colleges and universities as a significant threat to our campuses, our communities, and our country. The White House Task Force reports that nationally, one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. One in five. This is shocking to many people. It is appalling. But I promise you, this figure does not shock the good people on our campus, and others across the nation, who work in student health centers, campus counseling centers, and Dean of Students offices. Those who work every day to protect students and to provide them with support services, advocacy, and education regarding sexual violence are all too familiar with this statistic.”
The ‘one in five’ statistic has been refuted by several researchers, notably Christine Hoff Sommers. The inflated ratio is achieved by placing unwanted attention into the same definitional category (sexual assault) as rape.
Psychology professor Jennifer Freyd was interviewed on Oregon Public Broadcasting and boasted that she’d just attended President Obama’s announcement of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
Freyd has capitalized on the opportunity the alarm has generated. That she herself has fed the controversy by repeatedly stating false statistics on the rate of sexual abuse may not escape the scrutiny of the ethics panel of the American Psychological Association. Ethical standard number 5 states:
“Psychologists do not knowingly make public statements that are false, deceptive or fraudulent concerning their research, practice or other work activities or those of persons or organizations with which they are affiliated.”
Other ethical standards prohibit human rights violations, and misuse of the psychologist’s work.
Freyd’s professional activities have focused on what she calls “institutional betrayal.” Her questionnaire to detect institutional betrayal is designed to measure whether an institution responds adequately to sexual assault.
Question 13 of one version of the questionnaire asks, “If you told anyone about your experience/s, how did they react?” The three players, had they been asked this question would have been quick to answer:
‘The police interviewed two of us and we told them what happened. And they listened to recordings of phone conversations we had with the woman who engaged in group sex with us. They declined to file charges, even after the D.A. reviewed the evidence.’
Could there be a deeper betrayal than ruining the lives of the three young men? Rape accusations are forever. A Google search of the term “UO rape” produces thousands of instant hits. Those can’t be erased.
Now to answer the question: yes, there is a deeper betrayal. The following paragraph is from ABC news:
“Speaking to reporters on Friday afternoon, coach Dana Altman said the decision to dismiss the athletes from the team was ultimately made in the “best interest” of the players, the team and the university because of the intense scrutiny they faced. The players were no longer on campus.”
So you see, their lives were ruined for their own good.
How is it possible to turn reality so completely on its head? It was years in the making, of course, built on hubris, tradition–and money, the mother’s milk of corruption. Now faculty members want a full accounting of how this incident could have happened. Which is to say, they want to cover up what has really happened.
Carol Stabile is the director of the Center for the Study of Women in Society at UO. She spoke as a member of the faculty senate on 14 May:
“We need an investigation that is fully independent of the influence of big sports or the Greek system,” Stabile said. “We need an investigation that asks the hard questions about system breakdowns in our policies, procedures and campus climate. And then we need to look the answer in the face, publicly and bravely. Anything less just isn’t going to cut it.”
The hard question which has no chance of getting asked on the UO campus is this: Why do we refuse to consider that the woman, Amanda Jasmine, lied?
There is more than sufficient evidence that she wanted to be with the players, wanted to have sex with them, and then misled police and university officials about what actually happened.
Professor Freyd zealously promotes a need for “campus climate” surveys, her own specialty, and Gottfredson dutifully beats the same drum, claiming that it will address sexual assault on campus. But who needs a weather report then you’re drowning in a deluge?
The climate is impunity for female students who make false allegations. There is no survey to discover the amount of fear male students have about becoming the target of false allegations. It can happen as a result of simply asking a classmate for a date, and it can happen after consensual sexual activity between a male and female student.
At a few universities male students have begun to assert their rights to due process by filing civil suits against university administrators.
In April a suit was filed by engineering student Drew Sterrett against University of Michigan. Sterrett’s suit alleges that he was denied due process rights after that university suspended him for sexual misconduct following an investigation that grossly violated his rights to due process. Sterrett charges that the encounter was consensual, and that the investigators suppressed evidence of consent. Remarkably, his dorm mate was in the top bunk while the two below engaged each other with enthusiasm. (Sterrett v U. Michigan)
Earlier this month a male Columbia University student filed a complaint in federal court in New York. “John Doe” was suspended for sexual assault based on a preponderance of evidence, the standard promoted by President Obama. Five months after a single sexual experience in a dorm bathroom, for which “Jane Doe” first retrieved a condom, the female student decided to report the experience as non-consensual. No police report was ever filed, and Jane Doe never sought medical attention. Therefore the only evidence was her verbal representation.
John Doe’s attorney told a reporter from Legal Insurrection, “Particularly of note is the fact that even the complainant believed the sanction to be too severe and personally appealed the decision.” The suit cites lack of procedural safeguards to be the basis of presumed guilt.
The culture of impunity on campuses has become a cancer so aggressive that absurdity is allowed free rein. For example, at the 14 May University of Oregon faculty senate meeting Dr. Freyd read from a letter she wrote two years ago “portending a sexual assault problem at UO,” wrote the Oregon Daily Emerald reporter.
We should be alarmed, right? Here is a credentialed faculty member who warned of something two years ago which has now resulted in great personal harm to a student because the warning was not heeded.Reciting her letter, Freyd read: “Currently, the University of Oregon fails to comply with its obligations under Title IX regarding sexual harassment and its discriminatory impact on students. We cannot wait until a Penn State-type incident occurs until we take these issues seriously.”
In the alarmist tornado over Eugene, gloating has become a substitute for academic integrity. The Penn State case happened because real sex offenses were committed against minor children who had no ability to consent. There was a cover-up which destroyed the credibility of the athletic department and perhaps the university in general.
To compare the UO situation to Penn State is profoundly stupid and inappropriate. But to brag to the faculty senate that you warned the administration (Gottfredson was present at the meeting and had addressed the senate) reflects nothing less than a depraved political agenda. Freyd’s payoff appears as demand number three in the Coalition to End Sexual Violence’s list of demands to Gottfredson : more funding for “climate research.”
The university president has hinted that he will meet the demand, which is to fund more surveys designed and administered by Freyd and her students. Of course, no climate survey is going to prevent students from having consensual sex; neither will any survey prohibit a student from lying about her participation in sexual activity.
Personally, for a long time I have been aware of the trend on campus toward unequal justice. When this incident broke into the headlines I decided to follow it in detail. The hypocrisies flowing out of the university became so great that I filed a complaint of Title IX violation with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
The complaint can be viewed on my Facebook page, along with supporting evidence and some comments which illustrate how political correctness has mowed down support for Constitutional rights. Naturally I’m being called “rape apologist.”
Federal intervention is needed at University of Oregon because the University of Oregon has inverted the presumption of innocence into a presumption of guilt. Male students are presumed guilty, even when there is evidence demonstrating that the accuser is not telling the truth. The office of student affairs, responsible for enforcing Title IX, is a violator of Title IX and so cannot be trusted to enforce it. That’s the real cover-up.
The complaint argues that to falsely accuse of sexual misconduct is itself sexual misconduct. Male students who would shout “Whore!” at a female student would be disciplined for contributing to a hostile environment. But female students who publicly declare innocent male students to be rapists, well, they get grants and publicity, and the general endorsement from the university administration.
It’s hard to keep count of the number of times Gottfredson has verbally endorsed Obama’s sexual assault task force. He repeats the mythical “1 in 5″ with such passion he appears to be self-flagellating in a ritual enacted in the suffering hope of retaining his job, which really does appear to be at risk. A faculty member’s website posts daily entreaties for Gottfredon’s firing or forced resignation.
Indeed, the president of the university shows no ability or interest in putting a stop to the gang which I’ve begun to call the new McCarthyites. It is a fitting pejorative for people who destroy others with character smears designed to cast themselves as defenders of virtue and morality. Like McCarthyism, there is a political objective. President Obama is pandering to a student voting block which Hillary Clinton will rely on heavily when she runs for President of the U.S. The University of Oregon is a vast bevy of Democratic voters, especially every four years. The critical key is to motivate voter turn-out.
I am not personally acquainted with any of the three (now former) basketball players. That does not matter, as the attack on them is an attack on the rights to presumption of innocence and privacy. For example, if the university president had called a press conference to denounce a softball team member as a disgusting lesbian, I would join the protest to protect her rights to access higher education, and I’d join the loudest of demands for firing the president. But that is only a hypothetical incident. Reality rarely drops itself into your lap as a warm, fuzzy gift.
Kelsey Alston on KATU dissenting witness
Eugene Police Report pdf
Kevin Hornbuckle’s Title IX Complaint
UO Coalition to End Sexual Vilolence
UO promo Freyd takes part in White House announcement.
UO Coalition to End Sexual Violence presents demands
UO Pres. Gottfredson’s statement to faculty senate 14 May
“Sexual activity isn’t necessarily criminal”
NY Times story 6 May by Joshua Hunt
Sexual Assault: What are the real numbers? (Christina Sommers/AEI)
University of Oregon’s Timeline of Events