Thursday, August 16, 2007

Professors Who Abandon And Endanger Youth Should Be Held Accountable But ...

... only if they are endangering youths accused of rape. That's the position supported by the statement made by former law school Dean, Joseph Bellacosa about the so-called Duke 88. (via Concurring Opinions)

[A]lthough the group [Duke professors] can't technically be charged with crimes - though abandoning your young and endangering youth sure do come close to real definable crimes - there are ways these professors can be held accountable.

Where is the concern for the endangering of college women who are victims of real definable crimes?


From this man's statement, we wouldn't know that a single woman was raped by a college man and we certainly wouldn't know from his statement that women are ever raped and murdered by college men and that college leadership can decide to conceal crimes like these.

We also wouldn't know that a single professor has ever committed a sex crime -- or any crime -- against a student. The Duke 88 are apparently the greatest threat there is to the safety of college students.

His publicly stated position increases this danger to young women since supporting anyone who reports being raped by a student means coming perilously close, according to his standards, to committing real definable crimes.

If these actions do come close to real definable crimes, then it is his duty to clarify which criminal statutes they almost violated. If he cannot do so then his statement must be seen as nothing more than hyperbole and possible slander.

He blames Duke University for settling a lawsuit in a way that protected these professors but doesn't blame everyone else who agreed to this settlement. Does he think some of those involved couldn't read the legal agreement and were therefore victimized by the university? If the civil settlement was corrupt then all those involved are equally culpable.

But that doesn't fit the tidy little world view he is creating. He seems to find it convenient to overlook basic facts to make his political point.

If "enflaming a premature and prejudicial atmosphere" is wrong when the students are men accused of rape, then we must hold all professors (and law school deans) to this same high standard when they write or talk about any students who report rape or anyone who reports being raped by a student unless and until that person has been convicted of perjury or filing a false police report.

Premature enflaming is premature enflaming no matter who it is directed at.

As Bellacosa told us, "they should not be allowed to get away with their prejudgment - a brazen violation of the presumption of innocence" or is that for boys only?

Bellacosa isn't calling for anything resembling true justice. This is a call for ongoing harassment of people who have committed no crime and this is a call with the explicit intent to damage these people's careers.

This is also an implied warning to all college professors -- abandon all those who report being raped or else.


Imagine the reaction this man would have if this same call to action were issued against all professers who have ever supported a student accused of rape who was later found guilty at trial or who admitted his guilt and against all professors who have ever attacked someone who reported a rape but who was not convicted of perjury or filing a false police report and against all professors who collaborated in the media spectacle surrounding any rape case.

Imagine if someone wrote this about these professors:

The courses and classrooms of these [...] professors should be emptied. The university's academic leaders should consider assigning them to teach only elective courses. No students should be forced to sit through mandatory courses with professors who evidently believe more in their ideologies than in their human charges.

How would Bellacosa react if his own words and his standards were used against professors he doesn't personally oppose or against professors he actively supports?

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:47 PM   0 comments links to this post


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