Saturday, April 25, 2015

More on the Complications of Addressing Rape on Campus

I already mentioned this story in a comment below, but figured it might warrant a post of its own. The man very publicly accused by a fellow Columbia student of rape (via a senior thesis project in which she carries a mattress with her everywhere)  has sued the university (but not his accuser).  Flava:
“By refusing to protect Paul Nungesser,” the lawsuit says, “Columbia University first became a silent bystander and then turned into an active supporter of a fellow student’s harassment campaign by institutionalizing it and heralding it". . . .
The lawsuit alleges that Jon Kessler, the professor who is named as a defendant, not only approved the project but also “publicly endorsed her harassment and defamation” of Mr. Nungesser.
Full story (free if you haven't used up your NYT quota for the month; if so, try another browser, or private browsing).  


  1. Why would anybody want colleges to deal with a major crime without first letting the courts handle it? This turn of events is not the least bit surprising.

    1. I absolutely agree that rape charges need to be handled by the regular criminal justice system (and that college support systems need to strongly encourage victims to report such crimes, if necessary by insisting that they can take no disciplinary or protective action themselves in the absence of such a report, which may seem a bit harsh, but in-house attempts to resolve matters clearly aren't working, not to mention that they result in ludicrously inaccurate on-campus crime statistics, which may well be the point. Many jurisdictions also need police and medical personnel who are better trained to deal with rape, but that's a separate, if connected, issue, and the advantage of addressing the problem at the community level would be that all rape victims -- not just those who happen to be in college -- would get better care).

      I'm not sure that would have been a complete solution in this case, however, since the accuser could still have proposed her senior thesis project, which represents a separate conundrum.