BuzzFeed is uncritically fascinated with “rape culture.”
Combine that with Occidental, a college where a male student can be branded
a rapist even if his partner says “yes,” and the result is an article
by Jessica Testa. Her BuzzFeed article, which reads as if it comes from the
Onion, provides an unintentional
commentary into how far from reality many campus “activists” now are.
A quick refresher: despite campus policies that are overwhelmingly
tilted against students accused of sexual assault, campus “activists” (students
and faculty) filed a Title IX claim against the college–with the help of
celebrity attorney Gloria Allred. Fawning press coverage followed, with
reporters repeatedly ignoring Occidental’s actual procedures and describing the
accusers (none of whom had even filed police reports) as “victims” or
“survivors.” The charade appeared to have
ended on March 14, when the Los
Angeles Times announced that one of its reporters on the case, Jason Felch, had been involved in an
unrevealed romantic relationship with one of the faculty complainers, and had
described minor incidents (such as inappropriate text messages) as unreported
sexual assaults The Times then fired Felch.
But anyone who thought the case had concluded doesn’t
follow higher education, where “activists” rarely, if ever, concede defeat. The
result was a lengthy article by Testa, in which the BuzzFeed reporter
uncritically passed along paranoid, borderline delusional, assertions by Occidental
faculty members involved in the Title IX fight.
Consider these items in Testa’s article:
- Felch’s former paramour (who receives
anonymity, because she seems to believe that someone is out to get her) claimed
that her faculty “workspace
was broken into” and that “pages from her journal that referenced her
relationship with Felch were laid out on her desk.” Her alleged stalker, the
paramour asserted, obtained the journal by breaking into yet another place on
campus, “a private locked library carrel” that she had revealed only to “four
trusted colleagues.” Why she had her private journal at the library, and why
she didn’t report either alleged break-in to local police, remains unclear.
Occidental professor, Caroline Heldman, likewise claimed that her office was
broken into–though she, too, doesn’t appear to have reported the incidents to
police. Heldman also included a tagline on her e-mail asserting that “Occidental
College administrators are tracking this email.” The Testa article produced no
evidence to corroborate this claim, which college administrators denied.
appears sane, however, compared to the unnamed paramour–who confided that she now
only uses a new phone, which she paid for in cash, because she feared someone
might be listening in to her conversations. Why? Her “personal iPhone had been
acting strangely: flashing every few minutes while she wrote text messages or
emails, as if the phone were taking screenshots, and running the battery down
seven or eight times a day.” Rather than consider that the phone simply was
malfunctioning, the paramour appears to believe that someone, Jason Bourne
style, was accessing her personal information. The anonymous professor conceded
that she had no actual evidence that the college was monitoring her, but “whether
or not you’re actually being surveilled, if you think you are, it’s still
destructive.” Well, yes, but it’s rather frightening to see that a college
faculty member simply assumes that Big Brother is surveilling her. Does she
believe the Occidental administration has teamed up with the NSA?
- The anonymous professor recalled that she
served as a “faculty advocate” to a student who charged, without
reporting the incident to police, that a tennis player had raped her. The
paramour claimed that “for weeks” a tennis ball was placed and then
removed from her campus mailbox. Why the professor just didn’t
remove the tennis ball herself– and how the alleged stalker could have done
something like this for weeks while evading detection in a busy campus
mailroom–Testa elects not to explore.
are teaching students–and, of course, advising the student “activists” who
filed the Title IX complaint. No wonder the complaint seemed divorced from
Testa never comes out and asserts that Occidental administrators are
responsible for any or all of these alleged incidents. But the article is
framed in such a way to leave this as the obvious impression.
It’s possible, I suppose, that a college administration
is essentially a criminal conspiracy. Or it’s possible that several Occidental
faculty members are paranoid.
Readers can decide.