Schools Probably Shouldn’t Be The Ones To Investigate Sexual Assault
Just last week, Steven Galloway, the professor who lost his job because of sexual misconduct allegations, received $167,000 in punitive damages as a result of his firing back in 2016.
However, even though he won, it didn’t feel like a victory, considering his life is in shambles.
The investigation revealed that he had a two-year affair with a woman in his program. It’s a fact he didn’t choose to disclose until later in the trial.
Interestingly, the woman claims he assaulted her once before they started dating. But, what’s strange about the case is why a woman would have a two-year relationship with someone when he supposedly assaulted her. More on that in a minute.
Her allegations, as well as the less serious ones made by other women, led to the investigation that ended up being more problematic than conciliatory.
A Confusing Investigation Conducted By People Not Trained In That Field
And because the investigators conducted both the inquiry and trial so poorly, he received the sum of money that he did.
However, despite receiving $167,000, his career is still ruined, and any chance of writing again as a celebrated author is pretty much over, especially in academia.
Since his firing, he talked about becoming a bricklayer.
And when Gary Mason sat down with him to talk about the case, he wasn’t doing well.
According to Mason, a woman made three big allegations against him. He supposedly sexually assaulted the complainant of the case on two different occasions and raped her on another.
There Were Other Less Serious Complaints
There were many other complaints against him. Mostly that he would repeatedly make inappropriate comments and jokes of a “sexual nature.”
In addition to “creating a sexualized atmosphere” when he met up with his students for drinks in a bar.
From the outside perspective, most would believe that, whether or not Steven was subjected to an unfair trial, he was, obviously, still in the wrong. However, UBC’s code of conduct permits relationships between professors and students.
Mary Ellen Boyd, who used to work as a Supreme Court justice, and a widely respected one at that, was the one to look into all of the accusations.
Boyd dismissed nearly all of the allegations against him, probably on grounds that they were circumstantial, but she did get him into trouble for not revealing to his superiors that he was in a relationship with a student in the program.
Sexual Assault On College Campuses Adjudicated By Non-Professionals
Either way, this sort of thing is becoming increasingly common. It seems to be the case that universities and colleges just aren’t equipped for sexual assault investigations. Which makes sense, considering they are educational institutions and not police departments.
For the most part, they also have a vested interest in getting rid of the accused as quickly as possible. Regardless if there is a lot of evidence against them or not.
Universities and colleges can’t handle the backlash – or the loss of reputation – that comes with being the sort of school which doesn’t punish harassers.
Especially, because women are overrepresented in colleges and university campuses. And no father wants to send his daughter to a university where she won’t have a means of defending herself against a would-be rapist.
It’s Still A Heinous Crime
Either way, sexual assault is a heinous crime and it’s up to the police to deal with them and not educational institutions.
A retired judge doesn’t have the same power to conduct interviews like the way the police do either.
Police Have A History Of Not Taking Sexual Assaults Seriously
Unfortunately, the police complicate the issue, both in the United States and in Canada. Because they have a hard time taking allegations of rape and assault seriously.
It’s precisely why women often don’t complain to the police about suffering assault or rape. They fear no one will believe them.
But at the moment, the police are the best institution we have to investigate sex crimes. And universities simply aren’t equipped to be handling sex crimes on a bi-weekly basis.
A Possible Solution
Maybe a solution to the problem would be to a create a different form of social workers. Or a segment of the police, meant specifically to investigate sexual assault crimes and harassment.
Police commissioners have been saying the same thing for ages, like what was noted in this article. Different agencies would handle some disputes much better than the police.
The police can’t be dealing with mental health breakdowns, drug abuse instances, domestic violence disputes, and family problems. While at the same time, investigating more serious crimes like assault, murder, and robberies.
And regarding Steven Galloway’s case, it seems to be a bit irresponsible to have a retired Supreme Court judge determine whether the allegations are with or without merit.
Moreover, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for universities to establish a code of conduct among students and professors.
Codes Of Conduct And Institutional Parameters
Students typically state that Mr. Galloway got what he deserved because one shouldn’t have affairs with their students.
However, as noted above, the University of BC does allow professors and students to have affairs, they just have to disclose it to their superiors.
Other universities have banned this sort of thing altogether, like Stanford and Harvard University.
All of the university officials and students together have clamored for Mr. Calloway’s firing yet they haven’t looked at the policies of the university which permitted that sort of behavior.
On The Implication That It’s An “Abuse Of Power”
Previously, the lawyer speaking on behalf of the woman who claimed that he assaulted her, said in a statement, “his reference to the ‘tragedy’ of the events does not explicitly consider the devastating impacts of abuse of power on women affected.”
This is the sort of statement that bothers a lot of men. Mostly because, it contradicts against two things, feminist rhetoric, and the experiences of men, in general.
What’s meant by “feminist rhetoric,” is the fact that women are empowered to make their own decisions.
And the other: Men in positions of power attract women, solely because of that power. So, it’s strange how, when a woman comes on to a man in that position of power, it’s suddenly his fault for taking advantage of it, and his fault alone.
An “Egregious Abuse Of Power”
Monica Lewinsky, for example, wrote a letter for Vanity Fair where she accused Bill Clinton of abusing his power. She stated, “while it wasn’t sexual assault, it was an egregious abuse of power.”
In that same article, Lewinsky writes that she entertained the notion that the idea of “consent might well be rendered moot” because of the “power imbalances.”
Which is strange, because do women not have their own agency and ability to make decisions? It’s almost as if a man’s social status is so powerful that a woman’s ability to make a smart judgment is rendered completely useless.
The Senate impeached Bill Clinton for what he did and the public shamed Monica Lewinsky.
But to this day, Bill is still taking heat for a consensual relationship between him and a woman. Even though, they were both consenting adults who willingly had that relationship.
And Monica knew he was a married man. Why is it suddenly only Bill Clinton’s fault?
At the end of the day, Monica knew that Bill was a married man. And she knew their relationship was inappropriate, so she is just as guilty as Bill was.
Additionally, how does a woman, like the one in Galloway’s case, have a relationship with him for two years? How could we possibly look at that case as an incident of sexual assault and rape, when she willingly had a relationship for such a long time?
Agency And The Abuse Of Power
It’s strange that when it comes to instances of sexual assault and relationships between men and women, we suddenly look at women as if they don’t have their own agency.
In every other circumstance, women make their own decisions and have the ability to make judgments and decisions based on their situation at hand.
But, as soon as a man is involved, and a man of higher status and influence, then suddenly it’s an “abuse of power” when the woman consented to the relationship in the first place.
Moreover, like it was briefly mentioned before, women are universally attracted to men who are higher in the status hierarchy then they are. They like a man who is older, wiser, smarter, has more money, and more influence than them.
So, of course, in many cases where there is an issue between a man and a woman in a relationship, there may often be “an imbalance of power,” because that is the precise reason the woman is attracted to him in the first place.
If there wasn’t an imbalance of power, the relationship never would’ve existed.
While there is no such thing as a “perfect victim,” it doesn’t make a lot of sense to many people that a woman, who a man assaulted, would then go on to have a relationship with that same man for two years.
In Galloway’s case, did she continue to date him because she feared that her grades would suffer if she stopped?
It’s hard to say exactly when there are so little details on the case in the media. Nevertheless, it would be better to leave the investigations and inquiries to the departments who can handle such affairs.
- sexual assault on college campuses: TheNation.com