Speaking as someone from the UK what staggers me is the loco-parentis attitude of the university rules.
In the UK, you go to university at 18 and are a full adult at 18. The age of legal drinking is 18.
Broadly speaking, if you are in good standing with the law, I doubt you would be kicked out of a UK university for something as obviously within the realms of legal action as sexual assault.
Perhaps things are different in the states because you're not really fully an adult until 21 in some regards (i.e. Alcohol)
I'm a little Confused whether we are talking about the law of the land or the law of the university in some of these posts.
My view is that if the law of the land has not found someone guilty of sexual assault, but the college says they are, and acts on the basis that they are (i.e. Expulsion from the college) then the accused has reasonable grounds to sue the college for defamation of character or libel.
This goes into it a bit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/uloop/underage-drinking-laws-on_b_3396974.html
What I find most troubling about all of this is that these laws, in an attempt to make women safe (because they are most often applied with the woman being the victim and the man being the perpetrator, as discussed earlier) have taken away a huge degree of their power. While men are still held responsible for their actions (at least in practice, if you look at the number of cases of men versus women being expelled), women are effectively being told that when they drink, they are incapable of making rational decisions. It doesn't feel all too different to me from saying that when women are on their period they are irrational and thus shouldn't be trusted.
This standard *should* be applied to men as well if it is applied at all, but in practice it does not seem to be (at least in the majority of cases). As a woman who does occasionally enjoy a drink or two, I loathe the idea that I am somehow considered incapable of making decisions for myself. I chose to drink, ergo, as when I drive if I am drunk, I am responsible for actions that I engage in consensually...even if those actions are something I am embarrassed about having committed when I wake up.
I think that we all agree that if a woman is blacked out or cannot write/speak, she is not capable of giving consent. I think that is a fairly clear line. I also think it is fairly clear that a sober man preying on a drunk woman is predatory behavior. I do think, however, that two drunk students engaging in sex where they texted back and forth to effectively agree that they were going to do so shouldn't be considered sexual assault; rather, it should be considered a sloppy mistake that they quietly try to forget about.
This is solely my opinion, but I think the girl should be ashamed of herself; she made a mistake that I believe she consented to and then regretted, and I do not think the boy raped her or forced her (and if she was not capable of giving consent, neither was he). I personally believe that she has done serious damage to this boy's life in an attempt to salvage a scrap of her reputation and that in filing this as assault, she is devaluing the claims of women who are genuinely assaulted on campus. Obviously the last part of that statement may seem somewhat inflammatory, so I'd like to try to explain: in my personal experience, and from what I have read, the more women who file consensual-but-regrettable sex as sexual assault makes students/administrators/onlookers less likely to believe women when they say that they were raped when they were genuinely incapable of giving consent.
The only issue that I have with anything here is that you can have a blackout and still remain conscious.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackout_%28drug-related_amnesia%29
When you say blacked out, do you mean unconscious or do you just mean when you've had so much to drink that you're still moving around but won't remember anything the next day? If the latter, I'd consider it exceptionally difficult for someone to judge that particular transitional period.
Since I have you here as someone who enjoys alcohol, I was curious: how would you feel about some sort of legal waiver signed while sober that says that you can still give consent while intoxicated, or something like that? It's an idea I've been playing with while reading over this stuff, although I don't know how feasible it would be.
I think there are actually many ways or dimensions where all sorts of people are oppressed (some might prefer manipulated), men included. And I do think they are generally worth discussing thoughtfully.
However, when you boil it all down to suggesting that men are being scrutinized too much or asked to behave too much and oh it's so traumatizing, but instead no one should be (or you say without having apparently checked much, even no one is ever!) legally culpable for any crime utilizing alcohol short of knockout doses... And a host of mostly unexplained conclusions you presume 'everyone here must agree' which I vehemently disagree with... When you say all this in the face of a culture, particularly around college campuses, that often glamorizes getting women drunk expressly to circumvent questions of consent and often to impair functioning along the way and the wider society still often blames it on the woman anyway?
Then, I don't think you are talking about pursuing general equality, I think you are imagining a single zero-sum axis where many of the current responses to sexual assault get read first as favoring women 'over' men. And I do not believe that oppression is all that simple, or that your generalizations here from this particular case were well thought.
But hopefully meanwhile, more interesting parts have moved on? Maybe.
Let me clarify that I absolutely don't believe that the rules should be different between people of any gender.
If people say that men should be more responsible about their drinking and that it's rape if he sleeps with someone who's drunk, it should be the same for women.
If people say that women should be able to go out, party, drink and have sex without consequences, it should be the same for men.
I apologize that I didn't expressly state it before. To be honest, I considered it so obvious as to not require expression.
As far as that everyone must agree, hardly. Right now I see three camps of thought: those who say punish both, those who say punish neither, and those who say punish the initiator.
I vehemently disagree with the idea of punishing the initiator if we say that whoever invites someone to their place is the initiator. I disagree wholly with the idea that a person inviting someone to their place is an absolute and tacit invitation for sex, and I listed an earlier example as to why such an idea is inherently problematic. People are free to disagree, and Cycle has said as much (though he's reconsidering as last I saw).
The other idea for initiating that I've seen tossed out, not here but on other websites, is whoever gets on top. With missionary position, the man gets on top of the woman, and with cowgirl position, the woman gets on top of the man. I'm not comfortable with this one either, but others are free to disagree.
If I see something that seems wrong to me, I usually try to bring up an example where it doesn't work, and sometimes people have a very good reason why it works even in that example that I hadn't even considered. Lately, though, I've been confusing people's points, so I was trying to ask specific questions to make sure I understood their points.
This is apparently a common thing in debates. People would state the points of their opponents and allow the opponent to agree or disagree, because it gets rid of the "you're just saying" X" straw man type deal that has become common of late. This seems to be upsetting more people than it helps, though, so I'll just try to go back to directly posting and letting them correct me if I misunderstood.
Just because I want to debate a point doesn't mean others are forced to agree with me by any stretch. I am perfectly aware that other people have more experiences or knowledge with various things than I do and that I can learn from them.
No, that's not what I am saying. What I am saying is, if you want to apply a law (or rule), then you need to apply all of it.
AndyZ said he wanted to stick to "legal" for this discussion.
There are substantive and there are procedural laws (and rules). A substantive law would be: X is assault. A procedural law would be: to prosecute someone for assault, you must start with Y action.
Occidental's rules contain procedural and substantive components. Both have to be followed, if we want to follow the rules. So, sticking to legal, we need a complaint to expel Jane.
I don't think I was entirely clear here (maybe I was, maybe not) so I figured I'd go into detail.
I do consider an individual's organizational rules and procedures to be more "legal" than "moral." However, I'm also good with the concept that we can argue whether or not there can be such laws.
Someone can certainly believe that cases involving sexual assault should not require a complaint in order to be prosecuted, in the same way that some people believe that we should punish both, neither or based on initiation.
By contrast, when I say "moral" in the comparison between moral and legal, that's when we talk about character values and things like that. If someone wants to say that they're bad people for having sex out of wedlock, for example, or anything where the word "fornicator" or the phrase "going to Hell" would come up.
As an egregious example, there's a law in Russia banning transpeople from driving
. We can have the people of various religions go on and on about how they believe certain things, but it becomes pointless. Ultimately, it's an idiotic law and should be abolished.
Whether or not we believe that John and Jane should have been fooling around is very different from whether they committed a crime and/or been expelled, in the same way that we can argue whether adultery is wrong and whether swingers and/or people who cheat on their spouses without the spouses' consent should be sent to jail.
In short, questioning how we apply laws, rules and the like is okay. Questioning whether people who have sex while drunk are doing the right thing is far more nebulous.
After all, Occidental is only one college out there, so better to set a standard of what we believe should be followed instead of checking each and every one for how well it works against itself.