Physical/Legal Entanglements

Despite all of the debate about sexual freedom it looks like after it’s all said and done celibacy is the best option anyways (even if only to avoid a legal nightmare). See Duke’s new sexual misconduct policy. Robert Shibley of FIRE outlines some of the implications here.

Unwitting rapists and their oblivious victims
Duke addresses real problem by creating Orwellian nightmare

At Duke, you can be a rapist without even knowing it. A new sexual-misconduct policy, enacted in the fall, takes as one of its fundamental tenets that “real or perceived power differentials between individuals may create an unintentional atmosphere of coercion.” That’s right: To be guilty of date rape at Duke, you don’t have to force someone to have sex or even have actual power over that person – you only have to be “perceived” as more powerful by a Duke tribunal.

Not concerned yet? How about this: If either party, male or female, is to any degree intoxicated during sexual activity, he or she can’t consent to sex. If you are a student and your partner (or even your spouse) is tipsy, Duke says you have committed sexual misconduct.

Last month, my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), sent an eight-page letter to Duke President Richard H. Brodhead detailing the myriad problems with Duke’s new policy. The policy was introduced with fanfare from the Duke Women’s Center, whose director justified the policy by opining that campuses like Duke harbor smarter-than-average rapists.

The policy not only departs from state law and common sense when it comes to consent but also sets up procedures for sexual-misconduct hearings that differ from the procedures for every other offense.

. . .

I guess to have extra safe sex you better have some kind of signed document for every time?

3 thoughts on “Physical/Legal Entanglements

  1. I like Duke’s policy! What is wrong with telling a man that if they have sex with a woman who is intoxicated, they may be guilty of date rape?! This policy is intended to prevent persons from deliberately helping their victims to become intoxicated so that they can take advantage of them!
    I’m graduating from college tomorrow. As a woman and a college student, I definitely appreciate this policy.
    I read and enjoy Salvo magazine, but I have to disagree with your apparent outrage at this policy.
    “If you or your partner is tipsy, you have committed sexual misconduct.”
    Obviously if one of the parties is going to report the sexual activity to Duke after the fact, then that shows there was a problem and that he or she did not truly consent!

  2. I definitely didn’t mean to say that I (or Salvo) is outraged by the attempt to protect women. Of course that is a very good thing on its own merit. However, the worrisome part is, as Robert Shibley pointed out, that “to be guilty of date rape at Duke, you don’t have to force someone to have sex or even have actual power over that person – you only have to be “perceived” as more powerful by a Duke tribunal.” I was merely pointing out what a tangled mess it all is.

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