Nanny State (University)?

From the headlines of today’s Clarion-Ledger: Ole Miss is being sued for suspending a male student for having sex while under the influence of alcohol. His partner was not suspended. One could argue that universities have a vested interest in making sure that students behave appropriately while on campus. However, if the reported tryst took place off campus, and affirmative (though perhaps alcohol-impaired) consent was established, did the university exceed its authority in suspending the male student? Should the female have been suspended, too?

Perhaps more important, at what point do the intimate relationships between students become the business of universities?

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31 Responses to Nanny State (University)?

  1. Brianna Leigh Ladnier says:

    I ask that everyone read the following excerpt on the article before commenting:
    “The victim’s pseudonym is Bethany Roe in the lawsuit.

    Doe said the two had consensual sex that night and at no time did she tell him to stop touching her or provide any indication that she didn’t want to continue with sexual activity.

    He said Roe had told him they needed to be quick because her friends were coming to pick her up. Her said that when her friends came, he and the woman kissed goodnight. He said after she left, he fell asleep on the couch.

    At approximately 11:30 that night, a friend of the woman contacted authorities to report that she had been taken to Doe’s apartment against her will and was sexually assaulted. He said law enforcement awakened him to inquire about the incident.

    The female student didn’t call police herself, but law enforcement showed up at her dorm room after she had gone to bed because of the call they received. She went to the hospital for an examination. The lawsuit said the woman told her treating physician that she was hooking up with Doe when her friends arrived and she didn’t believe she was sexually assaulted by him.

    Further, the lawsuit said the female student advised that Doe didn’t try to stop her from leaving the apartment at any time and never used any force on her.

    Although she didn’t file a complaint, a university representative arrived at the hospital and an investigation was launched.

    Doe said he was originally expelled from the university, but that was changed to being suspended until 2020.”

    Neither party could consent. Being intoxicated means a person’s judgement is impaired. Both parties had sex with the other without obtaining their consent prior. They both made a huge mistake by having nonconsentual sex. Neither party should be punished more than the other. If one party is punished, both should be. If one party is not punished, both should be not punished. You have to chose whether to punish both or none. Promoting an idea of female victimization without proper addressal of the male counterpart is perpetuating a horrific gender stereotype and inequality. Both genders can be raped. Both genders can be sexually harrassed. Just because women are more frequently harrassed does not in ANY WAY invalidate a man.

  2. Kaelon McNeece says:

    This entire situation arose from the decision of the woman’s friend to take it upon herself to contact authorities. While there isn’t anything wrong in trying to represent a friend that she thought had been sexually assaulted, the woman in the relationship admitted to both not wanting the man to stop nor experiencing any force from him to continue in their sexual activity. Therefore, if the university decides to intervene in their own personal affairs despite the fact that none of the sex was, albeit drunken, nonconsensual. The intimate relationships of students are to only become the business of universities if illegal activity takes place that can harm the university, either by reputation or responsibility for the actions. Even so, if a university decides to get involved in the intimate details of a students life in the attempt to save their reputation, they may run the risk of destroying it even further.

  3. Jaylen Hopson says:

    Allow me to preface my comment with this: no party involved is innocent. “Andrew Doe”, “Bethany Roe”, “Bethany Roe’s friends”, and the university itself have all done something very wrong. In order of severity, The female in question committed the moral injustice of acting like a bystander. She could have testified in her partner’s trial that he was no rapist and that she was no victim, meaning that there should be no suspension or expulsion. The male in question is the closest to a victim in this situation, but he is also guilty of giving in to his temptations at the wrong place and time. Consumption of alcohol and consummation with someone else who had partaken in it were his only crimes. These are lack of morals at best, not nearly enough grounds to be removed from enrollment. The friends of “Ms. Roe” are arguably the best and worst friends. They acted out of what they believed was best for her, but they ignored what she said to said. In some cases, abuse victims are hesitant to admit the truth, so their actions can be partly justified, but this means that they slandered “Mr. Doe” with no proof at all. The school itself is the main perpetrator. In addition to the gender bias, there is a possible abuse of power at the administrative level. After reviewing Ole Miss’s policies, they have acted in accordance to their rules on alcohol-impaired consent on one side, but as both parties were partaking in it, both must be treated equally. Also, since “Ms. Doe” did not file a complaint, they did not have sufficient reason to investigate and act on this large of a scale. To be fair, this is a peculiar situation for all involved, but better decisions could and should have been made by them all as well.

  4. Gene Kloss says:

    Ole Miss got involved in this when it was none of their concern. I respect the person for speaking up when she felt that her friend was in a very bad situation, but this is looking like it was really not any of her business. I feel like she should’ve spoken to her friend more before talking to authorities about something she was not a direct part of. I think the school reacted fairly to the charges with initially expelling him, but this doesn’t benefit anyone when the charges are fabricated. I’m glad to see people taking a stand against sexual misconduct charges, but in this case, people seem to have jumped the gun on punishment.
    Ole Miss should not have any involvement in people’s personal lives unless it negatively impacts other students enrolled in their academic program and/or it happened on campus. Andrew Doe not only did what he did off campus, but he also, according to both him and his partner, did nothing to harm anyone. If this case ends in the jury deciding it was sexual misconduct, then the punishments should remain, as they’re just for his actions. If this ends in Doe being innocent, he should get compensation and Ole Miss should agree to step out of students’ relationships unless a fair trial convicts them of a crime. At that point, the school’s punishment will basically not mean much aside from the public opinion of them, as the student would be punished with jail time that would exceed a suspension and, if they decided to, for some reason, not expel the student, they more than likely wouldn’t accept him back for sexual misconduct charges.

  5. Faith Ivy says:

    The first thing is Ole Miss should not gotten involved. The intimate relationships of students is not their concern.
    The second thing is if one person is punished, so should the other. It is not right that the male student was suspended and the female student was not.
    Her friend should not have called the police. It is good that she was trying to help her friend get out of a bad situation, but it was kind of none of her business. In the article it says both parties gave consent, but they could not give consent because they were intoxicated. Their judgement was misguided and they should not have put themselves in that situation. Even though their judgement was impaired, that still does not mean Ole Miss should have been involved.

  6. August Andre says:

    I believe that Ole Miss overstepped entirely in this specific scenario. Although I believe there is a fuzzy line when it comes to consent while intoxicated (due to not being in a proper mindset), both parties clearly established that there was no evidence of rape or sexual assault. I understand Ole Miss’ want to remove rape culture from campus, but this is not one of those cases. This is a case where two adults were intimate with each other. Due to the fact that there was no crime or evidence of such Ole Miss acted inappropriately and without proper justification.

  7. Kendra Bradley says:

    Maybe I am misunderstanding the situation, but this does not make sense to me at all. I do understand that they want students to be on the best behavior, but what does someone having sex under the influence have to do with it specifically? If the partner was drunk as well, it makes no sense that she was not disciplined. If she wasn’t, then she should be the only one disciplined if at all due to the lack of ability to give consent in the impaired state. If she was the drunk one and he was sober, I would understand, but that does not seem to be the case. This is quite ridiculous.

  8. Lane Hughes says:

    This is a very odd circumstance, and yet it does have some questions that could be answered. Was the Student under drinking age? Did both parties consent to the act? Was alcohol involved before the act? If any of these questions were answered incorrectly, then yes, the student could have been charged. However, unless there was a state or federal sentencing, or the act happened on campus, the University should not have had a part in the punishment of the male. After reading the article, I have seen that the arrest was founded from a complaint from a third party, which could have had something to do with why the male was punished but not the female. Either way, the University probably wouldn’t have had anything to do with it if it weren’t for that third party complaint.

  9. Reagan Conner says:

    After reading the article, I think I have a thorough understanding of the situation. I do still have a few questions though. There must be a reason that the girl’s friend felt the need to call authorities and made the statement she did. Is it because she truly believed her friend was taken advantage of, or the drunk girl made a comment of that sort in the car, or the friend has a previous opinion of the guy that made a situation like this believable? Perhaps the drunk girl made a comment (maybe even in a joking manner) in the car that led the friend to believe she did not fully consent. All questions aside, taking the situation in the context that the article put it, Ole Miss overstepped their boundaries. The male in the situation was intoxicated as well as the female; had he not been intoxicated, the situation would be different. The act took place off campus, both were intoxicated, and both recall consenting. A situation like this would never arise in which the female was being punished. It is often that people think only women can be raped. Had the male’s friend reported to the authorities that he felt his friend had been a victim of rape, it would likely have resulted in a slap on the wrist for the girl. Neither party deserved punishment, but if it was inevitable then both parties should have been punished.

  10. Tija Johnson says:

    I commend university’s on trying to protect their students. However, in this situation I feel that the university overstepped their boundaries. Being that he was suspended for such a substantial amount of time, I would personally take this case as far as I could. The article stated that both the male and female said it was consensual(well more or less/neither had a problem with it), so why is this even a case? Thanks to the friend who called for looking out for Roe but she has cost Doe some of his life. The basis on which he was suspended is irrational to me. If he has to be suspended, then she should too. It takes two to tango. In this case the university should’ve kept out of the situation.

    I do feel like because he is male it is easier to try to assume he did something to her that she didn’t want, but what if the roles were flipped? Would the legal system go after the woman as much as the man? Smh. I definitely can see how it’s a case of gender discrimination.

  11. Dev Jaiswal says:

    I believe Ole Miss overstepped their boundaries and made an irrational decision. In addition, I think it is important to the case to find out what was really said by the drunk girl in the car ride that prompted her friend to call the authorities. No one should have been punished because both parties recalled consenting (albeit while intoxicated) and the event took place off-campus in a situation where no harm could have come to the university’s reputation. No one should have been punished, but if someone had to be punished, both the male and the female should have been punished.

  12. Michelle L. says:

    Other students have stated drunken sex is nonconsensual as their decision making skills were impaired. I do not think this means that they somehow raped each other. Both indicated afterward in the article that there was no notion of sexual assault going through their minds. Ole Miss probably was thinking they did not want a sex-offender on campus which is a decent enough reason for expulsion (or suspension), but the gender discrimination part lies in how Andrew Doe was labeled the offender rather than Bethany Roe. But if Ole Miss only had information from the phone call from Roe’s friend implicating Doe, then Ole Miss would think it appropriate to expell only Doe rather than Roe or both.
    Ole Miss lept to conclusions on the issue, but there exists a culture of blaming sexual predation on men. In the eyes of the university, having incomplete information, it would look very bad to have a potential sex-offender on campus. Roe’s friend might just go shouting in the streets how terrible Ole Miss is for letting a sexual predator roam free and ravage drunk girls.
    The problem of sexual assault allegations going unpunished is long-standing, both men and women. The Cosby case, other high profile cases, and the #MeToo movement have led to rape and sexual assualt allegations being taken more seriously than ever. The issue of false allegations might just grow even worse. Andrew Doe’s decision to fight against the issue exercises America’s legal system to hopefully bring about a better, more just society.

  13. Luong Huynh says:

    The article only presents the testimony of one party. Assuming that the man in question gave us the truth then I do agree that the Dean of Students office at Ole Miss is going too far. The female students did not file a report against the male, so I just don’t see why the school is penalizing Doe. From what Doe said, they engaged in consensual sex despite being intoxicated. If the school punished him on the ground that consents should be given prior to intoxication then the school must imply that all couples agree to copulation before they start their date night, which, sometimes, involve wine.
    Although the school did act in their best interest to protect the university reputation from having an “alleged sex offender” on campus, someone is clearly jumping to conclusions here. My questions remain on how the investigation was conducted and what actions were taken before punishing the man. This case has implications of the gender-biased problem because if the male was the one filing the complaints then the university would have investigated the female. However, the university probably would have taken more extensive actions to investigate the case before penalizing the female students.
    Should the university investigate the case even though it’s reported through a third party? Yes. Should the man be punished? No.

  14. Samantha Anderson says:

    This is extremely sexist and stereotypical bias against the male student. Just because she was under the influence of alcohol does not make it nonconsensual. Just because he was under the influence of alcohol does not make it nonconsensual. If both partners were consenting and no one was taken advantage of because of the influence of alcohol, then the sex was consensual. The university had no right to suspend the student, and at the least, they should have suspended the female as well. The girl herself made no indication that it was nonconsensual, only her friend, which makes this case even more ridiculous. This situation shines light on what a negative or aggressive light men are instantly placed in when it comes to the domestic or sexual problems. There needs to be less assumption in some sexual assault causes and more evidence.

  15. Loveish Sarolia says:

    Although I believe Ole Miss has the correct intentions in mind, they may have taken the wrong course of action. The students did not recall having nonconsensual sex and the reporter was, in fact, a third party who was not present at the time of the intercourse. If the male student was punished, the female should as well to avoid gender inequality. The lawsuit may seem rash but considering the inequality faced by the student and the original expulsion, it seems more justified and I hope that in the future Ole Miss will consider this before partaking in gender bias again.

  16. Sawyer Neal says:

    The first question is whether this is a legal encounter. The first thing that I must consider before making the decision is the age of the male student. If he was under the legal drinking age, then I would consider the suspension called for. However, age is never mentioned in the article, which leads me to believe that he is of legal age to drink. The next thing that we consider is if both parties gave consent, which the article says that both did. If they both gave consent and were above the required age to drink, this is perfectly legal.

    The second question is whether Ole Miss had the right to suspend the student. Because the encounter is legal, I would argue that the university does not have that right. While I do support Ole Miss’s attempts to keep illegal activity outside of the student body, they intruded on the privacy of both the male and female students by suspending the male.

  17. Indu N. says:

    I definitely believe that the university really overstepped its boundaries. Not only was it consensual on both sides, the woman even stated that she gave him his consent. This goes on to show that women aren’t the only members of society who can be subject to gender discrimination. The university should only be involved if any illegal conduct was in fact performed, where in this situation, it wasn’t.

    If anything, the university should consider the ages of the students in terms of whether they are of age to drink, but other than that, the intimate relations between students should not be brought under scrutiny unless it is illegal.

  18. Khytavia Fleming says:

    I feel as if Ole Miss. is sticking their nose and authority where it does not belong. If neither of two claimed raped, then why make a big deal when there is not a dilemma. Although it has not been reported, this is not the first time college students have had sex under the influence of alcohol and it will not be the last. I believe Ole Miss just needs to keep a watchful eye without stepping in and collect their tuition, in situations like these.

  19. Jacob Neal says:

    The first problem with all of this is that the man is actually less at fault here if I am understanding this correctly. In the story, the man is inebriated and has lost his common sense, not able to make decisions like whether or not to have sex with someone. I do believe that the university does have the right to suspend for actions outside the school if he is doing something illegal. However if he is the correct age, and everything is within the legal parameters. there is no reason to deny him the right to an education that can affect his entire future.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The University of Mississippi is taking a notable gesture to demonstrate the initiative their willing to take for their students and to try and establish that they care about their students, however I disagree with them getting the male arrested. Sex is a strong topic, especially if both individuals were drunk and especially if the event occurred off campus. For the University of Mississippi to arrest the male rather than female, they’re victim-blaming and feeding into this dosage of men always being in the wrong especially in cases of rape. I also believe if the event occurred off campus, then it was not the University’s place to take action if consent was given and the female or male did not file rape or a complaint. I disagree with the way that the University handled this situation and I believe that the male should be released and any charges to be dropped especially with no deeper investigation and no facts to present.

  21. Arin Kelly says:

    Just because the students were intoxicated, it does not mean that consent was not given. And even on the argument that the alcohol impaired their judgement and negated the consent, that would be true on both parties. The male and female students were both drunk and both had sex with the other. I feel that no matter what argument is given, Ole Miss 100% overstepped their authority. If this was a problem of consent or not, that is something the authorities should have handled, not a college’s moral high ground. Neither student should have been suspended, but if Ole Miss felt punishment was necessary, then both students should have been punished.

    This situation was a instance of gender discrimination. Girl yells rape and everyone immediately jumps to defend her. Rape is a very large accusation and it happens to girls every single day. It is a horrible experience and I am not discounting it, but just because the girl had some drinks does not mean she was raped. It is wrong of Ole Miss to say that this was an act of sexual misconduct based on the facts provided.

  22. eh says:

    Alright, to be completely honest, I am pretty confused about why the male student was suspended in the first place. According to Clarion-Ledger, Doe was disciplined for having sex with a female while she was under the influence of alcohol, but she wasn’t disciplined for having sex with him when he was under the influence as well. At least according to the male student, they had “consensual sex, and at no time did she tell him to stop.” In fact, the article even states that “she doesn’t believe that she was sexually assaulted by him,” and she even told him that the encounter had to be fast because her friends were coming to pick her up.

    I apologize for reinstating the rather the rather awkward aspects of this lawsuit, but from the many details presented from both parties, this situation seems very consensual, which just fuels my confusion about why the male student is suspended from the University until 2020. I think that if this was a case of rape, which it definitely does not seem like it is, then he should definitely be facing all these charges, and he should even be expelled.

    However, it is important here that both students were technically under the influence of alcohol, so it is also likely that the female student could have been disciplined for having sex with the male student as well, but only the male student was targeted. I understand that in the majority of sexual assault cases, the female is the victim, but a college should definitely not just assume that the male should be accused in situations like this, as it only exacerbates the whole toxic masculinity concept. Males can be victims too, but in this case, the University really does not have any reason to be concerned with this situation because:

    It was consensual, as both parties admitted so.
    Even if it was not consensual, Ole Miss did not really handle the situation in the best way because the university just automatically assumed that the male was the rapist in this situation, when the situation should have been investigated further before quickly administering charges.

    Case in point: Rape is absolutely horrifying, but this definitely does not seem like a rape case.

  23. Ihatepolitics says:

    Ole miss over stepped their boundries. They might have been intoxicated,but they actual both gave consent. The friend who reported it also over stepped their boundaries. I get that she was trying to protect her friend ,but her friend was consenting. She and her male partner where both intoxicated ,and both consenting. The male should have not been disciplined by his school. He was not in the wrong ,and should be allowed to go back and study.

  24. Theresa Ho says:

    If both students were off campus, the university isn’t responsible for them. They can do whatever they want off campus and the student shouldn’t have been suspended in the first place because it is clear that the girl gave him consent. She even said it herself that she did not think that she was forced to have sex with him. I don’t think the university need to have any business with intimate relationships between students. I don’t think any of the students needed to be suspended or at least for 2 years. I think that that is a bit too much considering that this whole thing is unfair to begin with. Being under the influence of alcohol does not mean you automatically can not give any consent. This whole case, in my opinion, is absurd.

  25. Annanesya James says:

    Since nothing the two intoxicated lovers did affected anything on campus, Ole Miss certainly over stepped their boundaries. So did the friend who reported the affair. There are clearly countless students who do the same thing, the only difference is that these two were reported. Some people should just really keep their mouths shut. But even so the male student got suspended, his partner should have also gotten suspended. They both committed the same infracture, and consent was given therefore the two are at fault.

  26. Sophia says:

    I believe that this suspension is unnecessary so long as both parties were consenting and above the legal drinking age. Were the suspended man’s partner non-consenting, he should be suspended. Were either party below the legal drinking age, they should be suspended for breaking the law. However, as neither of these occurred, there is no need for this suspension to have occurred.

  27. Millie Perdue says:

    What I take from the case is that Ole Miss overstepped boundaries by getting involved in off-campus matters. From what I understand, both students gave consent and do not regret anything after the event, even if there was alcohol involved in the event, the school had no place in the case unless it became a court case. Also, the fact that only one of the students is being punished is biased and absurd. Females are not the only gender that can be raped. Females are not the only ones that can be pressured into sex. By doing this Ole Miss looks like they are promoting female victimization instead of equality. I can’t say how much I detest gender stereotypes and bias in any situation but especially academics.

  28. Erin says:

    Ole Miss got involved when they had no reason to. If both parties were of legal drinking age and gave their consent, there should be no problem. I think intimate relationships should never be the business of universities. Ole Miss was wrong in suspending the boy when neither parties said the situation was rape.

  29. Sabrina Solomon says:

    So, I think that the university should not get involved until some type of threat to either their student or their school is at hand. If both parties consented, even if they are impaired, then all is well. If they felt the need to suspend this student, the other member of this equation should be suspended, too. However, this is Ole Miss we are talking about. I see countless snapchats and instagrams of friends that attend school there. Most, if not all of them, include some type of drinking/partying. Only on occasion does the school have anything to do with the enforcement of their regulations. I find it completely ridiculous that Ole Miss decides when to look good and “take care” of their student body and when they don’t. I feel like all they want is the press.

  30. Jacob Lee says:

    Universities exist ultimately to provide an education to those who desire to receive one. It is true, also, that these universities have a reputation to uphold so that they can attract students and exist among all of the others. Cases like this, however, should have no contest regarding who is in the right and who is in the wrong. Yes, the university may have a reputation to uphold, but this is too much. It 2018, college students drink and have sex, it’s just a fact. It would be another story if it consent had not been given. Whether these students were on campus or not, a punishment to the caliber is uncalled for and neither student should be suspended.

  31. Chanclinique Hairston says:

    I dont feel that grown people should have to get permission or be punished for having sex. Especially if the incident happened off campus. If caught by the policies in a restricted area than the law should be put into place but for both parties. If the sex was consentual one party shouldn’t be punished considering the fact that it takes two people to have sex.

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