Is Yale More Dangerous than Detroit?

Few universities have a more troubling record on Title IX matters than Yale. A few months after settling a lawsuit brought by former basketball captain Jack Montague—thereby avoiding trial on a variety of claims, including that the university manipulated its procedures to bring charges against Montague and then found him guilty despite a preponderance of the evidence suggesting otherwise—the university has released its sixteenth semi-annual report of sexual assault allegations among the Yale student body.

As always—if accepted at face value—the data in the report, penned by Deputy Provost for Health Affairs & Academic Integrity Stephanie Spangler, indicates an extraordinarily dangerous campus, beset (at least for female undergraduates) with a much higher violent crime rate than any of the nation’s most dangerous cities. And, as always, the specifics within the Spangler Report suggest instead a campus motivated by a frenzy to report, with few cases even brought for adjudication in Yale’s notoriously one-sided adjudication system, the University-Wide Committee.

[Fake Claims of Rape Due to Trauma Are Under Scrutiny]

Two general points about the report. First, and as she has done in previous reports, Spangler explains that her document “uses a more expansive definition of sexual assault” than that offered in state or federal law. She has never provided an explanation as to why Yale has chosen to redefine a commonly-understood term, but the broader definition allows figures that create a greater sense of crisis. Second, the latest Spangler report (repeating a change that debuted in her spring 2019 report) contains a chart of all reports at Yale since the implementation of the new Title IX regime in 2011—culminating in a remarkable 169 Title IX complaints between January 1 and June 30, 2019.

At first blush, the chart suggests a campus awash in violent crime. A closer look, however, shows that formal adjudications of Title IX cases (medium blue on the chart) have actually decreased, by a fairly substantial percentage, since the 2014 calendar year. Spangler’s report offers no explanation for this trend, or what it might say about dubious claims being submitted to the Title IX office (dark blue on the chart) by accusers who have no intention of moving forward with their claims.

Yale is the only school to provide reports like Spangler’s (thanks to a resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights). Minding the Campus has broken down each of the previous Spangler documents. Earlier Spangler reports documented odd investigations based on anonymous complaints—and sometimes with anonymous targets; the “resolution” of a complaint against a professor, with his department chair to “monitor” him, without officially informing him of the complaint, and the increasing power of the Title IX coordinator’s office—as opposed to the Yale Police or even the UWC—in handling student investigations. Over the years, Spangler has removed more and more details from her reports—the documents, for instance, no longer detail third-party reports involving anonymous alleged victims and accused students. But a couple of items from the most recent report do stand out.

[A Federal Court Takes on Title IX]

First, fewer than one-quarter of the total complaint involves sexual assault (even under Spangler’s counterintuitive, broadened definition). Fourteen percent of the complaints fall under the category of an unexplained “other” (an offense other than sexual harassment, sexual assault very broadly defined, stalking, or intimate partner violence). And while the vast majority of accused parties at Yale are male, in 43 cases (more than a quarter of the total), Spangler’s report admitted that the university didn’t know the gender of the accused party—raising questions as to how such superficial claims could make it into the report at all.

Second, despite the topline crime wave claim (169 allegations of Title IX misconduct), only five sexual assault cases were adjudicated at Yale during the first six months of 2019. Unsurprisingly, given the university’s guilt-tilting procedures, four of the five accused students were found guilty. But the punishments (three-semester suspensions in two cases, probation in the other two) suggest the actual offense was far less severe than the commonly understood definition of sexual assault. The vast majority of cases, in any event, ended with either academic or residential accommodations for the accuser but no action against the accused. In many of these cases, it appears as if the accused student wasn’t even contacted to give his side of the story; instead, the Title IX office simply provided accommodations to the accuser.

Third, perhaps reflecting a broader national trend, the age of accusers is rising. A whopping 36 complaints were filed by Yale graduate or professional students—a cohort, of course, that all would have attended college in the post-Dear Colleague letter environment and have become accustomed to the accuser-friendly Title IX environment. Nine allegations, meanwhile, were filed against Yale professors. The increased number of complaints filed by female graduate students (who are a smaller percentage of the overall Yale community than female undergraduates) suggests that Yale—defying national data—becomes more dangerous for female students as they age out of the 18-24-year-old cohort.

Finally, perhaps reflecting the legacy of the Montague case, the report now claims that “in certain unusual circumstances, such as those involving risks to the safety of individuals and/or the community, the University will bring matters to a formal hearing independently of the wishes of an individual complainant.” This language (“certain unusual circumstances”) provides much more flexibility than the pre-Montague language, which caused problems for the Yale in the lawsuit, after the university’s Title IX office, rather than the accuser, brought charges—even though the exceptions then offered by Yale didn’t apply to the facts of the Montague case.

KC Johnson

KC Johnson

KC Johnson is a history professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author, along with Stuart Taylor, of The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America's Universities.

17 thoughts on “Is Yale More Dangerous than Detroit?

  1. College students should be living on campus or at home or in a semi-controlled environment with lights out time or a curfew. Not unlike their age group military counter-parts in AIT who have more privileges than in basic training but still monitored, as they are young and some have never been away from home, don’t know how to act yet. Colleges have got away from higher learning.

  2. There is an issue here that nobody is mentioning. A University is supposed to be an institution of higher learning; not an orgy. The reason that there are so many rape claims on campus is that there is so much sex. Those girls who cry rape, may have had consensual sex on more than twenty previous occasions. But their own personal sex life is never called into question.

    This matters, because when you create an atmosphere of sexual chaos, anything can happen; and so it’s easy to file charges. Back in the day, there was hardly any rape on campus. Girls dormitories were strictly supervised; each girl had to act responsibly, and be home on time. And it was the same for the young men. So it’s really a question of the philosophy of the school administration. Nowadays, Universities offer “condom” classes and “Masochism” classes. They do everything that they can to debase the students, with predictable results.

    1. Uh oh Ron. Victim blaming never works. This is a non-starter. You’ll be lucky to get out of town fast enough to escape vengeance from the mob.

    2. “The reason that there are so many rape claims on campus is that there is so much sex. Those girls who cry rape, may have had consensual sex on more than twenty previous occasions. But their own personal sex life is never called into question.”

      DRUNKEN sex — the first thing I realized as an (honest) administrator trying to sort some of this stuff out is that everyone involved inevitably was drunk out of his/her/its mind — and that was 30 years ago, before all the drugs arrived.

      One young lady regained consciousness convinced that she’d been raped because her underwear wasn’t put on the way she would have done it. She was right about the latter — two of my (female) RAs had found her outside, face down in a snowbank, in the rain — and dragged her back into her dorm room and put dry clothes on her. In a different situation, involving a band playing on a roof — a slippery, sloping slate roof some 4+stories above a rather solid-looking concrete sidewalk — I couldn’t even get a consistent answer as to if it had been a sunny day or pouring rain. They didn’t know…

      I’ve had undergrads nonchalantly tell me that “everyone” has alcohol-induced “blackouts” multiple times a week, and this wasn’t justifying their own drinking but explaining incidents involving others — the sort of thing an adviser has to try to sort out. There was one Mt. Holyoke student whom I never saw sober, or anything even closely relating sober. Ever…

      And then there are the drugs, lots of drugs — and drugs are a bigger problem today than the alcohol. They’re easier to conceal, they’re easier to obtain, and they’re cheaper — heroin is cheaper than beer. My guess is that the rooftop band was on heroin, and heaven knows what else, and that was before fentanyl arrived. (Yes, kids are overdosing…)

      So he & she vaguely remember something about having sex — very much in a third person sense — and that’s what is involved here. See Miriam Grossman’s Unprotected for a larger discussion of how messed up these young women are.

      And I go back to the young woman who had no idea how she’d wound up in the snowbank — all of this is coming out of the fact that women that drunk are having sex with equally drunken men…

      1. “But their own personal sex life is never called into question.”

        There is a very delicate issue that can best be described as their mothers would be mortified if they saw what their daughters were wearing. The “Juicy” sweatpants, the miniskirts without underwear, and even less as they go to the shower in the coed dorms.

        Sorta wearing a towel (and nothing else) and going into a young mans room to flirt is sending a lot of messages that I don’t know these young ladies are sending. Or maybe they do — I don’t know…

        Sure rape is illegal — but so’s auto theft and they don’t leave their keys in their car with the door unlocked, do they?

        But I still say that their mothers would be mortified….

      2. Curious impotence in campus ability to exercise compliance with rules of abstention. The kids are rather thrown to the wolves. Noticing an inability in them to think clearly even when sober, the encouragement for them to be drunk and drugged out of their minds is equivalent (potentially, at least) to giving them matchbooks with which to go play in the dynamite shed. Because these antics certainly can blow up their lives.

        What many of them clearly are not ready for is not simply self-directed freedom from substance abuse – but the consequences of it. This is an incredible waste of a Yale altogether.

  3. The Higher Ed Act has not yet been reauthorized, and I hear that the dispute is over this issue. And the impeachment charade isn’t likely to facilitate compromises.

    So let’s say Trump gets re-elected and this impeachment foolishness costs the Dems in districts Trump won (e.g. Golden, D-2nd ME) their seats. And let’s say that the inevitable campus rioting doesn’t play well in Peoria, nor anywhere else outside the echo chamber of academia.

    We could see a complete re-write of the Higher Ed Act, starting with Title IX being abolished outright…

  4. Bottom line I cannot grasp why the campus has any responsibility to prosecute any felony crimes. This should be the responsibility of the local police. Letting a bunch of half loony academics who think due process is a social justice issue is just plain wrong.

    1. Because Obama in his “Dear Colleague” letter threatened schools with the loss of big bucks if they didn’t go along with this lunacy. It was a quick and easy way to get to the desired result. Doesn’t cost the school anyhting to hire more pople to run this charade- just put it on the students’ tab.

      1. Obama’s the wrong name to associate with the “Dear Colleague” letter. The letter was sent by Russlynn Ali as an official in the U.S. Dept. of Education. She matters because she’s moved on to a position as an advisor to Steve Jobs’ widow who’s using part of his fortune to create a think-tank to restructure all high schools. (https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2015/09/laurene-powell-apple-steve-jobs-philanthropy-xo.html) . Thus, we can expect to see the same misandry that Ali exhibited during her Dept. of Ed. years filtering down to high schools.

        The other person responsible is Joe Biden. At Biden’s request, Obama tasked him with dealing with these sorts of issues. That’s not surprising because, going back at least to the 1980s, Biden has been more interested in pandering to his misandrist female supporters than in creating policy that truly supports equal treatment of both sexes. The accomplishment he’s most proud of is his passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, which he promoted in spite of knowing that academic research showed that a significant percentage of domestic violence involved violent women attacking passive male victims. In the early 2000s, an acquaintance of mine was in law school at Univ. of Delaware where he took a seminar taught by Joe Biden. Biden calls himself a Constitutional scholar. He told me that Biden had admitted in class that he knew that portions of VAWA were unconstitutional when he pushed it through Congress, but he did it anyway.

        So, as for the misandrists we need to worry about who are likely to create future unjust policies, Joe Biden’s at the top of the list, with Russlynn Ali not very far behind.

      2. First, OCR has never cut off Federal funds and I doubt they ever will — the closest they ever came was in their fight with Hillsdale College and that took a decade and went all the way to the US Supreme Court before Hillsdale ended it by choosing not to accept the money.

        Second, Obama didn’t write the letter, memory is that Russlynn Ali did — here’s her bio. She’s K-12 rather than Higher Ed, but this is a typical CV of an academic administrator. That’s where these people come from — Arnie Duncan had been CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

        OCR is not operating in a vacuum — there is a lot of support for this foolishness in academia, amongst the accreditors, etc. Ali’s letter was just an excuse for a lot of people to do what they wanted to do anyway. Want to see the converse — look at how little of this Kenneth Marcus and Betsy DeVos have been able to dismantle. If OCR really had the power you think it does, Marcus could just write another “Dear Colleague” letter and end it all…

    2. At it’s most basic, it’s a common fallacy among academics to believe that knowing a lot about something makes one an expert on everything — they think that they know more about policing than the police do and hence can do a better job.

      There also are a lot of female administrators who themselves were raped — a lot — and they view every male student through that lens.

      But it’s the vanity of thinking that you are smarter than everyone else.

      1. The fact that intelligence and education do not go hand in hand becomes more clear the longer one is exposed to academia.

  5. I actually think it’s a good thing that if someone reports something, the school provides accommodations such as moving them away from the person they accused without any hearing. As long as there’s nothing on the accused record, and he or she isn’t denied any opportunity, I’d rather a school err on the side of caution there. Plus, if a school is going to go with a believe first mentality, it’s going to do little damage there. It’s when the accusation is being turned into a situation where the school will punish an accused student that real due process should kick in.

    1. No, it’s moving the other person away and that’s usually done in a “sucks to be you” manner. Kid gets exiled to far end of campus where he doesn’t know anyone, is forbidden to ever visit his current friends anymore, is kicked out of his current class(es) and has to pay a 2nd time to take it/them again next semester or year, etc.

      No, there’s a real consequence to this — and even if he doesn’t flunk out, he’s on the secret “watch list” which will turn his life into a living hell.

      It’s far more humane to expel — except then he can sue.

  6. What places like Yale are trying to do is create a sisterhood of women with the attitude of “there but for the grace of God go I” — to make them terrified of associating with men and thus ostracizing men from the academy. It’s just like with Jim Crow when Black men would be charged with trivial offenses to “keep them in their place.”

    And increasingly, everyone is starting to realize that.

    While the relatively few women who are raped will be the losers, this has never been about them. Instead, this has always been about power and profit — one need only ask “Cui bono?” and look at the hiring/promotion patterns over the past 35 years to see what’s really going on here…

    Cui bono? — To whom is all of this a benefit???

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