Unfortunately, not all articles in the Record are heart-warming. Here is one about a recent alledged rape on campus. It begins:

A female student recently came forward with the allegation that she was date raped following a College social event. The student has registered a complaint with the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) and discussed the situation with the Dean’s Office.

She alleges she was at a party with a long-time friend and was forced to have non-consensual sex with him later that night in his room.

I first read this story a few nights ago, but hadn’t posted because I wasn’t sure what to say. From a use-of-language point of view, I prefer to refer to this as an alleged “rape”, not an alleged “date rape”. Rape is a crime and the fact that the assailant was known to the victim is irrelevant from the point of view of the criminal code (written as a non-lawyer). I think that the term “date rape” might be better reserved for situations (like this) in which the individuals were out together in a social setting, went home together, had sex and then one of them, virtually always the woman, later claims that the sex was non-consensual.

In other words, under this usage, the female student’s claim alone is enough to confirm the charge. A woman who says that she has been date raped has been date raped, by definition. Of course, this is merely a question of language. To the extent that the police are involved, the usual proceedures (presumption of innocence, due process and so on) would apply.

For the purposes of the College, however, other options are available. If I were Morty Schapiro, I would be sorely tempted to, more or less, tell male Williams students the following:

1) If someone wants to have sex with you, feel free to have as much sex as you and your partner like. No in loco parentis here.

2) If you are unsure if someone wants to have sex with you ask her (or him). If they are in no position to give a considered answer, then assume that the answer is No. If you are in no position to evaluate her consent (or lack thereof), then assume that the answer is No.

3) If there is any doubt in your mind, assume that the answer is No.

4) If you have sex with someone who later asserts that the sex was “non-consensual”, then you will be forced to take a year off from the college. There will be no appeals, no trials, no delays. She makes the accusation. You pack your bags. However, since there will be no formal proceedings, there will be no permanent mark on your college record. Her accusation is enough to confirm that you have not acted as a gentleman should act is enough evidence to confirm the offense. With luck, after a year of reflection, you will know better how to conduct yourself in our community.

5) Note that this penalty does not preclude the College (or the police or your victim) from seeking further and more serious punishments. But, such punishments (including an official requirement to withdraw — which would appear on your permanent record — and even expulsion) would involve the much more formal processes already in place.

There are no doubt many reason why such a plan is impractical. But, knowing that my daughters might someday attend Williams, I would hope for a community in which male students are more gentlemanly than they currently seem to be.

A more recent article is here.

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