This divided Minnesota Legislature hardly agreed to anything in the past two years. Not even tax cuts.
One thing that did get broad, deep support from both sides of the aisle was a series of changes to handling campus rape at the school's higher education institutions, public and private. From this coming semester on, all students will have to undergo training sessions on preventing rape on campus.
The policy also allows for anonymous reporting of sex crimes on all Minnesota campuses, with schools obligated to give people a way to secretly communicate that they'd been assaulted. Perhaps most importantly, colleges and universities will have to maintain the number of rape reports they receive in a given year, and of those, how many led to some kind of punishment against the student-perpetrator.
Are these policies any good? Who knows? They haven't been implemented yet.
And yet, a guy 1,000 miles away from Minnesota and 50 years removed from his college days has some stuff to say about all this. And what he says is, "Pssshaw!"
John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University, tells College Fix (a righty political blog site for campus issues) the Minnesota law is a "feel-good" change. Banzhaf, for context, has long been outspoken against so-called "affirmative consent" policies on college campuses. He's also, of late, defended the constitutionality of Donald Trump's "no-Muslims" immigration plan, and pushed for the disbarrment of the prosecutor investigating Freddie Gray's death in Baltimore.
Banzhaf's complete shrugging-off of the new Minnesota policy suggests it won't lead to any reduction in the incident numbers of rape. Which, in fact, Banzhaf isn't all that sure about, either.
[Banzhaf] said the Minnesota legislation mandating an anonymous reporting system was created in response to “the same thing which is prompting so many other lawmakers to come up with things like the yes-means-yes laws,” also known as affirmative-consent laws.They perceive “a major epidemic or crisis of date rape on college campuses … but even the experts aren’t sure whether or not there is” such a crisis, Banzhaf said.
How much rape has to go on before something rises to "crisis" levels? Banzhaf doesn't say. More than he's pretty sure is going on now, apparently.
Any amount of rape on campus is bad enough; it's a lot worse when you consider that, in an anonymous survey, 80 percent of college rape victims told the Bureau of Justice that they hadn't reported their assaults. (That's a higher percentage than the corresponding figures for 18-to-24 year-old nonstudents, 67 percent of whom didn't report.)
Banzhaf suggests colleges finally get around to the real issue with campus rape: girls getting themselves drunk, thus making them more rape-able to the college man who can't help himself. The authorities will never go for that kind of anti-rape education, Banzhaf says, "because women who get drunk and then get raped might feel guilty."
Gee, John. Wonder what kind of asshole would go so low as to make a rape victim feel guilty.
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