After serving as a cheerleader for disgraced district attorney Mike Nifong during the Duke lacrosse case, the New York Times even more aggressively championed Barack Obama’s crusade to erode due process for college students accused of sexual assault. It was probably naïve, therefore, to expect a fair review from the Times when Stuart Taylor and I published our book on the topic, The Campus Rape Frenzy. The review, written by Times contributing opinion editor Jill Filipovic, confirms the paper’s inability to address the issue fairly. In a few hundred words, Filipovic made at least three factual errors in describing the book, and she misleads the reader regarding several crucial points.
Our book sourced tens of thousands of pages of legal filings, documents from campus disciplinary policies, and previously secret “training” materials given to investigative panelists in campus sexual-assault cases, in order to describe a system in which students accused of sexual assault are effectively presumed guilty and then denied the tools necessary to prove their innocence. Filipovic nonetheless faults a book based on this extensive material for failing to adhere to a “standard” of telling both sides of the story.
“The authors,” she notes, “choose a handful of egregious examples to make the case that campus sexual assault isn’t all that common and that the bigger problem is innocent young men railroaded by promiscuous women who get drunk and regret their choices, or flat-out lie at the behest of conniving campus feminists.”
The four-dozen cases we explored constitute more than a handful. While Filipovic characterizes them as “egregious”—an accurate description—her implication that they were atypical of the usual campus disciplinary process, and improperly chosen in order to support a tendentious argument, is false. In the event, what does it say about our current campus justice system that accused students can be found guilty, even where they assemble clear evidence of their innocence?
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