In other videos on rape hysteria in education we discussed misandry by students. The time has come to more closely examine the role of faculty and administrators in creating and maintaining the culture of hostility toward male students in our education system.
At Vassar College, two male students were falsely accused of date rape. When they were found innocent, the assistant dean of students Catherine Comins argued that men who are unjustly accused can sometimes gain from the experience. Her argument is quoted in an article by Nancy Gibbs in the June 2001 online edition of TIME magazine. Comins says of the falsely accused, “They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them. I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. 'How do I see women?' 'If I didn't violate her, could I have?' 'Do I have the potential to do to her what they say I did?' Those are good questions."
Let us remember that an assistant dean of students is the administrator who either adjudicates rape accusations, or presides over a panel consisting of faculty and sometimes students who adjudicate rape accusations. If a male assistant dean of students had suggested that women who are raped can gain from the experience, and that it is not an experience he would necessarily have spared them, how long would he have been an assistant dean of students? Male professors and administrators have been forced by others in education to apologize, or have been fired, for saying much less. But when Catherine Comins made the statement that male students essentially deserve to be falsely accused of rape, there was no outrage. There was no apology. There was nothing. It was one of the many anti-male elements that the culture of higher education just passed over as if nothing unexpected had happened.
From the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), we hear this story:
[F]irst-year men at Hamilton College will be attending a mandatory presentation of "She Fears You," a program at which they will be pressed to acknowledge their personal complicity in a "rape culture" on Hamilton's campus and to change their "rape-supportive" beliefs and attitudes. First-year men were informed via e-mail that attendance was required and that they needed to bring their ID cards. "She Fears You" will be presented by Keith Edwards,"a national speaker and trainer on diversity and social justice and college men's issues [which, by the way, Keith Edwards describes himself as on his website]."
"She Fears You" is based on the theory that men need a "combined cognitive and emotional intervention" in order to change their "rape-supportive beliefs." Attendees will be told that when they “make this an environment where it is no longer acceptable in any way to objectify women or define masculinity as sexual conquest, or subordinate women's intelligence, capability, and humanity, or allow issues of racism, classism, and homophobia to go unabated, then this campus will be a better place for all of us to be.”
Don’t be misled by Keith Edward’s claim that he supports college men’s issues. As we can see, it is clear that She Fears You is not about addressing the needs of male students as a group, such as inequities concerning educational attainment:
Keith Edwards is part of what is called the pro-Feminist men’s movement. It is the men’s auxiliary wing of the Feminism, which is primarily found in academia.
First, why the title She Fears You? Are male students as a group categorically deserving of fear? Is any group categorically deserving of fear? It is also a well-documented criminological fact that people of color tend to commit violent crime, and in particular gang violence, at a higher rate than white people. Would it then be right for our universities to declare that black students as a group are categorically deserving of fear simply because they are black? What if, instead of stopping male violence against women, our universities want to stop violence black violence against white people by hosting an event titled “Whites Fear You” and forcing only black students to attend?
If you listen to the video, you will hear Edwards express regret over his humanity being taken away for being presumed a potential rapist simply for walking near women at night. But should his humanity be taken away simply because he is male? Is it the responsibility of every male student to prove that they are not rapists? Or - to use role reversal - is it the responsibility of any given black person to prove that he or she is a “good black person” unlike all those “other black people?”
This is the email from Hamilton College’s Dean of Students Nancy Thompson regarding the event:
Class of 2014
Men are required to attend
She Fears You
A presentation by
Keith Edwards, founder of Men Ending Rape
Monday, September 27
Monday, September 27
Please be sure to bring your Hill Card
Please be sure to bring your Hill Card
More than two weeks have passed since Keith Edwards delivered his "She Fears You" presentation at Hamilton College, yet Hamilton has still not responded to FIRE's letter requesting that attendance be made voluntary. Nor has Hamilton made any public statement about the event. (The event also wasn't filmed, so non-attendees will never know exactly what Edwards said that night.)
We may never know whether Hamilton is too embarrassed to explain whether it really believes there is a "rape culture" on campus, or whether Hamilton is so arrogant as to choose not to engage its critics. But thanks to Managing Editor for Commentary (and former FIRE intern) J.P. Freire in the Washington Examiner, we now have a better idea of Edwards', shall we say, difficult to reconcile views on freedom of speech and conscience.
We appreciate the fact that Edwards took J.P.'s call. Edwards freely revealed that he usually charges $2,000 for a "She Fears You" lecture, but depending upon demand for a longer visit, that price could rise to $5,000 or even $10,000.
How many of these lectures has Edwards given? On his website he gives a list of 60 colleges and universities. Since the list ends in 2010, it is also possible that list might not be updated, and that there may be more. In academia, where you make a living from promoting ideas, you can make misandry into a career. As we recall from the blog post/video on the Duke lacrosse false rape case, when the group of 88 professors publicly signed a statement that presumed the three male students guilty simply because they were male, professor KC Johnson told the story of a women's studies professor who claimed that she entered higher education because it gave her the opportunity to "explore the idea that women were superior and that a new world could be built on that superiority."
Beyond asking what the presentation “She Fears You” says about Keith Edwards as an individual, more importantly, what does it say about the culture of the colleges and universities who not only gave it their stamp of approval, but paid thousands of dollars for this kind of presentation? If they are buying what he is selling, is the problem just Keith Edwards? And this is one thing that we will repeatedly come back to, because it is so central to understanding and addressing the systemic neglect and abuse of male students: the problem is not individuals like Keith Edwards, or Catherine Comins, or Kathy Rudy, or the rest of the individuals we will address in this series; the problem is the academic culture that creates and supports them. And so long as we focus exclusively on individual cases and fail to acknowledge that culture, we are missing the bigger picture.
Keith Edwards is right about one thing: the widespread dehumanization of men and boys is indeed a direct product of rape hysteria in our education system. [PLAY:] “My humanity is damn important to me and I don’t know how to do that.” Where we disagree is that Edwards believes in not only giving in to his own dehumanization, but also teaching men and boys to do the same, while I believe that the correct way is to assert your humanity by dissenting with the perspective that men and boys are deserving of fear simply because they are male.
If this kind of presentation were directed toward any other group, our current institutional champions of “diversity,” an ideological tribe of which Edwards is a part, would have responded very differently. Instead of taking the message at face value and asking “what is wrong with black people, or Hispanics, and so forth, our universities would be asking the correct question: “what is wrong with the culture of our educational institutions that we promote events fostering prejudice and bigotry against our own students based upon their membership in a particular genetic birth group? But they do not ask these questions, which they would ask with any other group, because in the culture of higher education, the system of moral checks and balances has broken down.
In a facially lower-key presentation titled "Asking for it," professor Harry Brod of the University of Northern Iowa states that (concerning consent in sexual matters) "just because there's no 'no' does not mean there is a 'yes.'"
So according to Professor Brod, a woman who wants to have sex can nod her head, she can wink, lick her lips, smile, grab a man’s penis and pull him into her, he can be completely drunk and do nothing and she could be completely sober and make all the initiating moves, but if she doesn’t specifically say “yes,” he’s a rapist. This is not the legal definition of sexual assault. This is an ideological and political definition, under which I and many of my male friends are also rape victims.
His rationale is a lesson from his driver's ed instructor from over forty years ago: that consent is like the right-of-way that someone else gives you, and that you are not entitled to by default.
Beyond the obvious problematic element that men and women are not cars and a woman’s vagina is not a four-way intersection, there are other problems with his analogy – even if we accept it as self-evident. For example, when drivers give others the right of way, they do not rely on the other driver hearing their words, but by employing a variety of gestures, many of which are non-verbal, such as flashing their lights or using hand gestures – which is exactly what many people do when they consent to sex, but do not necessarily say yes. Another problematic factor is that when drivers approach intersections, many times they do not ask for or give the right of way at all, but instead take turns based upon whether the signal is green or red – another form of nonverbal communication.
While a disciple of Pro-Feminist ideology, Harry Brod is actually a professor of philosophy and religion. When it comes to ideologues among the faculty, it’s always interesting to see student feedback. So I checked up on him atRatemyprofessors.com. Here’s what two students had to say:
His class was based on personal agenda on his perception of men. Myself and others felt he attacked men for being men, the class has little to do with masculinity as a whole. He was most responsive to the women in the class speaking on men's issues solely from a fem. perspective. Almost made men feel bad for being men. Very pompous and not kind to men.
And another student commented, “Hates himself for being male, and loves radical feminism… Can I please have at least one teacher who doesn't have an agenda? Come on!”
The hysteria concerning sexual assault on campus has reached such a fever pitch that male students are now punished for promoting sexual violence for participating in minor sexual humor that does not even involve women at all. Another reportby the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education tells us:
In April 2012, members of the men's crew team wore T-shirts at Tufts' Spring Fling featuring a silhouette of a rowing team on a boat and the phrase "check out our cox" (referring to a boat's coxswain [which is “a sailor who has charge of a ship's boat and its crew and who usually steers”]). According to multiple accounts, several members were suspended from the team after a bias incident report was submitted due to the shirt's content, two senior captains were removed from their positions, and team members had to write apology letters. The accounts reported a dean exerting disciplinary pressure on the team, stating that the shirts promoted rape and aggression toward women. Additionally, a confidential source reported to FIRE that Tufts' rowing director ordered his assistants to choose a punishment, which he and the dean's office would then approve.
The details of this report can be confirmed by reading Tufts Daily, the university’s student newspaper.
So a shirt reading “check out our cox” promotes rape and aggression? It’s times like these that I don’t have to make an argument. Our education system writes the argument for me. Unfortunately, however, we are not halfway done discussing rape hysteria by faculty and administrators. We will discuss more in the future.