Alleged Sexual Assault: “UW…acted with deliberate indifference”

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This will be big news tomorrow, and going into the future. From a report released on the website of the Center of Public Integrity:

It took nine months in 2005 and 2006 for the University of Wisconsin at Madison to contemplate, then reject filing disciplinary charges against a crew team member accused of rape.

Enough time for the accused student to start his fourth year at the university, compete in another rowing season, and glide into another spring as a celebrated college athlete.

Enough time, too, for an enraged encounter with his accuser, Laura Dunn, at a fraternity party. “He started threatening me,” said Dunn. “When he hit the wall, he used his whole forearm, and just slammed within inches of my head.”

The story:

Laura Dunn was a member of the crew team, too, during her freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. She left the next year after the alleged rape by two teammates, she said, made the already-slender athlete lose weight and sleep. But even as her crew career fell apart, she didn’t report anything to campus authorities for more than a year.

The Universities response:

The university said a police investigation and the alleged victim’s objections to one of her investigating officers accounted for the delay. The criminal investigation, too, ended without charges against the accused student, who said Dunn willingly participated in sexual activity.

The early assessment:

“UW … acted with deliberate indifference,” wrote former Security On Campus, Inc. legal advocate Alice Purple. “The harassment that Ms. Dunn was forced to undergo was so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it deprived her of educational benefits by forcing her to quit the crew team and causing her grades to fall.”

I just wanted to get this up for now. More commentary to come tomorrow.

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13 Responses to “Alleged Sexual Assault: “UW…acted with deliberate indifference””

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Double standards for scholarship athletes? Unwillingness to tackle sexual assault because it’s just too hard? Well I never!

  2. Steve Horn Says:

    Nice find. This has been quite the scandalous semester so far!

  3. Just a concerned citizen Says:

    Where’s the proof?

  4. Emma R. Says:

    One more thing – a comment from that blog’s post:

    “As usual with feminism, we have a minority of loudmouthed radicals trying to change the rules away from what most women relate to. I can guarantee you that most women don’t find a sexual encounter sexy where the man has to ask for affirmative consent prior to any act of “escalation”, as is now being peddled on college campuses.”

    WOW.

  5. Emma R. Says:

    OK sorry, LAST ONE – too good not to post:

    “Any sort of foreplay, including being kissed on the lips, is a consent to have sex. Why would a woman begin something she’s not prepared to finish? That is an abuse of a man. You would only very rarely have a misunderstanding with, for example, a female Uni student in Moscow. If I were to ask a girl to come over to my place to drink some wine or something(and this is true if she asked you to her place) she would know that this means having sex otherwise she would just use some excuse and decline your invitation.Even inexperienced girls who may still be virgins understand the Rules. But apparently a few simple rules cannot be knocked in the heads of the majority of US female Uni students. Rules of conduct that most people accept are important because they eliminate the possibility of misunderstandings. I guess that these US female students believe that they can make up new rules everyday or on a whim.”

    Damn, guess I never got the memo about the Rules.

  6. Pierce Harlan Says:

    Hey, Emma, thanks for the plug for my site, and for the offhand misandry. At least you are up front with your bigotry.Too bad you didn’t actually read my post (you people can read, can’t you?) before you assumed it was wrong. Tell me one thing in my post that was wrong. Not that you ASSUME was wrong, but was actually wrong, and let’s see if you can back it up with verifiable fact.

    For people like you, politicized ideology trumps facts. I mean, heaven forbid we should let the truth interfere with your woman-as-perpetual-victim metanarrative.

    By the way, Ms. Misandrist, we do not believe that any sort of foreplay is consent. I dare you to plausibly challenge a single thing in that post you cite.

    There should be an ordince forbidding you from coming within 200 feet of any male.

    • Hey Pierre Says:

      So I’m at the bar with some bros using the system to pick up some bitch, and her friend is cockblocking me because my wingman is too busy watching the game. If I can get the friend to leave that’s totally consent, right?

    • I'm not giving my name to a machine Says:

      LOLOL r u serial?

  7. Ordinary Jill Says:

    I’m not going to comment on the issue of determining consent, which is very complex. I’m concerned with the issue of due process. The university should not be expected to use different standards than our criminal justice system. If the victim was unwilling to pursue criminal charges because one of the investigating officers was rude to her, the university’s hands are tied. Remember the Duke La Crosse case? The university suspended the entire team before the criminal investigation was completed. When the accused players were acquitted, the university was sued. Why didn’t Ms. Dunn seek a restraining order after the incident at the fratermity party? Yes, it can be emotionally difficult for a sexual assault victim to speak up to the authorities and to satisfy the burden of proof. However, we cannot make life easier for the victims at the expense of due process. I believe that made-up accusations of sexual assault are very rare. On the other hand, there are cases of mistaken identity. For that reason, I do not believe that the university should impose sanctions based on accusations where there are no criminal charges.

    • Jack Says:

      I agree Jill. I don’t know if you’ve seen my posts on the issue before, but it’s somewhat of an ongoing controversy at UW –- whether the university can hold students accountable for actions off-campus and if so, will the due process requirements be less stringent than required by other entities, such as the city or state.

  8. lust for life » NPR, Center for Public Integrity ignored details in Laura Dunn alleged rape case Says:

    […] 4, 2004, by two members of the men’s crew team. The case, which was picked up by a number of blogs, is said to show how campus judicial systems fail sexual assault […]

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