Georgetown to College Republicans: do me a kindness and edit the Christina Hoff Sommers lecture

posted at 8:41 pm on April 30, 2015 by Matt Vespa

If there’s one thing that’s true, Christine Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute invites all the trigger warnings when she comes to speak at college campuses. Oh, and she’s the harbinger of microaggressions. It’s not a problem if you don’t understand these terms; they don’t exist in the minds of serious people. In short, they’re a set of protocols by progressives to shut the debate down because heaven forbid we challenge the preconceived notions about politics to those delicate snowflakes on the left.

Last week, Ms. Sommers (in some schools, the term “Ms.” is offensive) gave a lecture at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. last week.

The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute helped organize the event at Georgetown, and Sommers gave her lecture that lasted a little over an hour. Yet, the school administration is asking the College Republicans to edit the video of the lecture by removing footage of some of the students who raised questions at the event (via Ashe Schow):

Lauren Gagliardi, the school’s assistant director for the center for student engagement, emailed two members of the College Republicans to request they edit the video to remove students who did not agree to be videotaped.

In the email, provided to the Washington Examiner, Gagliardi tells the students that the “edited version needs to be released without students who did not give permission to be taped.” She also says that if the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, which sponsored the event, is “unwilling or unresponsive to the request, Georgetown will need to step in.”

The video that has Gagliardi so upset features feminist activists holding up signs accusing Hoff Sommers of being an anti-feminist or deny rape.

Laurel Conrad, the lecture director for the Clare Booth Luce Policy Center, wrote in Legal Insurrection that “it stretches credulity that Georgetown and its students would not understand that the lecture was a public event. The video camera was in plain view, and audience members themselves appear to be taking video and photos. It could not shock any student that he or she was on camera.” She also noted why she understands why Georgetown is taking this position; it’s a public relations nightmare.

Schow included a statement from Clare Booth Luce Policy Center’s founder and president–Michelle Easton­–who noted that once the video was uploaded on YouTube, it’s impossible to edit.

Students held trigger warnings and directions of a “safe space” in case any attendees of Sommer’s speech caused them to feel uncomfortable. Again, is this real life?

Also, I would respect college liberals more if they would just come out and straight-up say they do not respect free speech on their respective campuses. The whole “we support free speech, but only what we view as legitimate speech” isn’t a standard. It’s not even a serious position. Nevertheless, The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper, and their editorial team is just fed up with people articulating a different point of view [emphasis mine]:

The Georgetown University College Republicans hosted Christina Hoff Sommers, an author and philosophy professor known for her criticism of contemporary feminism and her disavowal of a so-called “rape myth,” last week.

By giving Sommers a platform, GUCR has knowingly endorsed a harmful conversation on the serious topic of sexual assault.

Giving voice to someone who argues that statistics on sexual assault exaggerate the problem and condemns reputable studies for engaging in “statistical hijinks” serves only to trigger obstructive dialogue and impede the progress of the university’s commitment to providing increased resources to survivors.

It is necessary and valuable to promote the free expression of a plurality of views, but this back-and-forth about whether or not certain statistics are valid is not the conversation that students should be having. Students should engage in a dialogue that focuses on establishing a safe space for survivors while at the same time tackling the root causes of sexual assault.

Inevitably, the discussion initiated by Sommers distracts from a focus on solutions. At its worst, such discourse encourages rape denialism.

This ploy to divert attention and resources from solutions and survivors has no place anywhere — especially not at Georgetown, where students are fortunate enough to participate in a community that emphasizes care for the whole person. Denying the lived experiences of survivors stands in sharp contradiction to this value.

Conversations that focus on whether or not the problem is “overstated,” rather than on how the problem can be solved, are an insult to Georgetown’s survivors and a recipe for inaction.

Rape culture is a system that thrives on silence. Students cannot allow Georgetown’s sexual assault discourse to be subdued by those who would downplay the problem at hand.

Wait, we promote free expression, BUT a debate about the validity of statistics is not “valid.” Then, you don’t support free speech. It’s the same situation with anti-gun liberals, who say they’re for the Second Amendment and respect the rights of hunters (I doubt the PA State Game Lands, which didn’t exist, were a point of contention at the 1787 Constitutional convention), and then go on to support policies that chip away at gun rights. Granted, the statements by the Hoya are rather explicit in showing that they have no clue what freedom of speech entails. Yes, you have to tolerate some insane opinion. Yes, that’s a testament to how serious you take the Bill of Rights–and yes, you can choose not to go. This is college; I’m sure there are a multitude of other activities–college liberal-approved–that are occurring when these events occur.

Last December, Slate’s Emily Yoffe had a phenomenally researched piece about rape statistics–and how they might not be as clear cut when given a second look. She also noted that the rush to prevent the spread of this “putative” epidemic on college campuses–and protect women from harm–has led to men’s rights being infringed by “misguided policies.” Gasp! Does Yoffe deserve a trigger warning too for writing something that is most certainly not a conservative publication?

Via Slate:

One campus rape is one too many. But the severe new policies championed by the White House, the Department of Education, and members of Congress are responding to the idea that colleges are in the grips of an epidemic—and the studies suggesting this epidemic don’t hold up to scrutiny. Bad policy is being made on the back of problematic research, and will continue to be unless we bring some healthy skepticism to the hard work of putting a number on the prevalence of campus rape.

It is exceedingly difficult to get a numerical handle on a crime that is usually committed in private and the victims of which—all the studies agree—frequently decline to report. A further complication is that because researchers are asking about intimate subjects, there is no consensus on the best way to phrase sensitive questions in order to get the most accurate answers. A 2008 National Institute of Justice paper on campus sexual assault explained some of the challenges: “Unfortunately, researchers have been unable to determine the precise incidence of sexual assault on American campuses because the incidence found depends on how the questions are worded and the context of the survey.” Take the National Crime Victimization Survey, the nationally representative sample conducted by the federal government to find rates of reported and unreported crime. For the years 1995 to 2011, as the University of Colorado Denver’s Rennison explained to me, it found that an estimated 0.8 percent of noncollege females age 18-24 revealed that they were victims of threatened, attempted, or completed rape/sexual assault. Of the college females that age during that same time period, approximately 0.6 percent reported they experienced such attempted or completed crime.

That finding diverges wildly from the notion that one in five college women will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate.

The Sexual Victimization of College Women, a 2000 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, is the basis for another widely cited statistic, even grimmer than the finding of CSA: that one in four college women will be raped.

But the authors go on to make several assumptions that ratchet up the risk. The study was carried out during the spring and asked women to describe any assaults experienced during that academic year. The researchers decided to double the numbers they received from their subjects, in order to extrapolate their findings over an entire calendar year, even as they acknowledged that this was “problematic,” as students rarely attend school for 12 months. That calculation brought the incidence figure to nearly 5 percent. Although college is designed to be a four-year experience, the authors note that it takes students “an average” of five years, so they then multiplied their newly-arrived-at 5 percent of student victims by five years, and thus they conclude: “The percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions might climb to between one-fifth and one-quarter.”

In a footnote, the authors acknowledge that asserting that one-quarter of college students “might” be raped is not based on actual evidence: “These projections are suggestive. To assess accurately the victimization risk for women throughout a college career, longitudinal research following a cohort of female students across time is needed.” The one-fifth to one-quarter assertion would mean that young American college women are raped at a rate similar to women in Congo, where rape has been used as a weapon of war.

Now, we can debate these findings–and we should.  Even Yoffe’s colleagues at Slate said it was a great write-up on how the 1/5 and 1/4 statistics are “shaky.” Yet, the Hoya editorial board seems to think otherwise. It’s troubling when Onion satire begins to mirror real life.

As for the video being edited, it should not be edited. Yes, Sommers had her detractors in the room, but nothing especially obnoxious occurred.

Exit question: Isn’t Washington D.C. a single party consent state for video recording? If that’s the case, then Georgetown really can’t “step in” regarding the editing of a public event.


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Comments

Last December, Slate’s Emily Yoffe had a phenomenally research piece about rape statistics

Noah….that you?

CW on April 30, 2015 at 8:49 PM

how to say anti- free speech fainting couch left wing regressive in college diaper?

AprilApple on April 30, 2015 at 8:49 PM

These delicate snowflakes are going to melt when they hit the real world.

rbj on April 30, 2015 at 8:50 PM

Georgetown to College Republicans: do me a kindness and edit the Christina Hoff Sommers lecture

College Republicans to Georgetown: Did you know that the middle finger is the leader on the instant-messaging market?

Rix on April 30, 2015 at 8:55 PM

Modified from Ace’s Hillary! post today, if fits the Hoya (and the rest of these Campus Rape! folks) to a tee:

Step One: Claim a horrific statistic that proves there is a huge problem.

Step Two: You look into this alleged statistic, and you find that it doesn’t apply — they’re misinterpreting it (almost certainly deliberately).

Step Three: You tell them: Your claim is not supported by this set of statistics, because you are deliberately misinterpreting them to claim this huge problem.

Step Four: Now they bat innocent eyes at you and ask: “Why are you focusing on mere technicalities when there are such important issues to be dealt with?!”

Buck Farky on April 30, 2015 at 8:58 PM

The women have no legal standing. Public forum for purposes of educating.

John the Libertarian on April 30, 2015 at 8:59 PM

…phucktards!

JugEarsButtHurt on April 30, 2015 at 9:01 PM

Georgetown is a joke and it can hardly be considered Catholic.

bw222 on April 30, 2015 at 9:03 PM

Notably absent from any of the articles is any mention of that Georgetown is purportedly a Catholic University.

The ideals and principles that have characterized Jesuit education for over 450 years are central to Georgetown’s mission and character. Drawing from this tradition, Georgetown fosters an environment where students can develop their unique gifts and insights through reflection, service and intellectual inquiry. Students are challenged to engage in the world and become men and women in the service of others, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community. These values are at the core of Georgetown’s identity, binding members of the community across diverse backgrounds, faiths, cultures and traditions.

I guess they consider feminists to be among the most “vulnerable and disadvantaged” because they certainly don’t see them as strong enough to “engage in the world”.

Fenris on April 30, 2015 at 9:06 PM

If my daughter wanted to attend a liberal college like this I would say fine..but you get no help from me.

celt on April 30, 2015 at 9:12 PM

Georgetown is about as Catholic as Bill Clinton (class of ’68) and his college bachelor pad.

RBMN on April 30, 2015 at 9:13 PM

There’s an issue you get to before “consent” re: recording . . .

Does anyone at the event have a reasonable expectation of privacy such that consent to recording is even necessary?

Florida (where I’m at) requires consent by all parties to the conversation if participants have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Go to a football game (for example), you have no expectation of privacy, so your image can be shown on TV by CBS, etc. without your permission.

Go to a Town Commission meeting (for example), and you get the same result – such meetings are required to be public by Florida law, and there’s no expectation of privacy at a public event.

People who attend an event sponsored by a private entity which event is, nevertheless, open to the public have no expectation of privacy regarding the event.

IMO, their consent is not required – if they showed up and behaved like buffoons, well, they put themselves on display at a public event before people they didn’t know . . . tough luck, snowflakes.

BD57 on April 30, 2015 at 9:18 PM

Every time a liberal speaks I want to head for my own safe space, also known as the local gun store.

Bishop on April 30, 2015 at 9:22 PM

Trigger warning.

No.

talkingpoints on April 30, 2015 at 9:36 PM

http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/district-columbia-recording-law

DC is one party recording consent.

talkingpoints on April 30, 2015 at 9:38 PM

Lauren Gagliardi, the school’s assistant director for the center for student engagement, emailed two members of the College Republicans to request they edit the video to remove students who did not agree to be videotaped.

In the email, provided to the Washington Examiner, Gagliardi tells the students that the “edited version needs to be released without students who did not give permission to be taped.”

Ashe Schow @washingtonexaminer.com on April 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm

.
Translation :

Our liberal students embarrassed the HANG outta’ us.

listens2glenn on April 30, 2015 at 9:53 PM

Liberals want censorship?

Not surprising. The Brown Shirts felt the same way.

GarandFan on April 30, 2015 at 9:59 PM

Who should be the GOP nominee in 2016?

tlynch001 on April 30, 2015 at 10:16 PM

Schow included a statement from Clare Booth Luce Policy Center’s founder and president–Michelle Easton­–who noted that once the video was uploaded on YouTube, it’s impossible to edit.

Thank Allah for YouTube. I’m sure the control freak Lefties will try to control it, too.

farsighted on April 30, 2015 at 10:30 PM

Also, I would respect college liberals more…

If I had any respect for the pinkos to begin with. Something is more than nothing.

farsighted on April 30, 2015 at 10:32 PM

Is the problem their image? No biggie. Just cut to turds falling from a goat’s butt with the subtitle: COLLEGE LIBERAL FEMINIST, but keep the sound.

StubbleSpark on April 30, 2015 at 10:44 PM

It’s troubling when Onion satire begins to mirror real life.

Um, more like real life starting to mirror The Onion — everyday there is at least one story if not more that looks like it came directly out of the satire rags.

PS Not only did Matt have some particularly egregious grammatical problems, so did the people writing the articles he quoted.

Are blogging and grammar incompatible for some reason?

AesopFan on April 30, 2015 at 11:11 PM

It’s troubling when Onion satire 1984 begins to mirror real life.

There you go.

farsighted on April 30, 2015 at 11:24 PM

Lauren Gagliardi, the school’s assistant director for the center for student engagement

Somehow, if I were a student receiving such an email, I would likely have a laughing fit. Is this even a paid position?

Not an assistant administrator or assistant dean, but assistant director for some silly center? For hugs ‘n’ stuff, or what?

Dear Lauren,

Got your email. Are you freaking kidding me? Let’s talk about it over coffee and see if we can get something straight between us.

Power to the people, right on, etc.,

Me

Adjoran on May 1, 2015 at 2:05 AM

What this incident really shows is how the lack of true IDEOLOGICAL diversity among university faculties leads to a poisonous cesspool of student groupthink.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on May 1, 2015 at 3:49 AM

We all know what to do with fascists.

Younggod on May 1, 2015 at 6:48 AM

Isn’t Washington D.C. a single party consent state for video recording? If that’s the case, then Georgetown really can’t “step in” regarding the editing of a public event.

Laws only matter when they can be used to punish enemies.

Gatsu on May 1, 2015 at 7:45 AM

“Bad policy is being made on the back of problematic research”. Jeeze, that sounds like just about every leftist cause: global warming, gay “rights”, economics, you name it.

Count to 10 on May 1, 2015 at 7:59 AM

Last week, Ms. Sommers (in some schools, the term “Ms.” is offensive)

LOL

call her Professor or Dr. then :)

the drill sgt on May 1, 2015 at 8:06 AM

The Hoya editorial reads like it was written by a freshman. I kinda feel embarrassed for these kids. Wait until they leave college and are in the real world where they are laughed at. Talk about a triggering event.

Ellis on May 1, 2015 at 8:22 AM

Georgetown asked that the video of the Christina Hoff Sommers lecture be raped

J_Crater on May 1, 2015 at 8:42 AM

‘Cause fascism triggers me. I need a safe zone.

Axeman on May 1, 2015 at 9:39 AM

Also, I would respect college liberals more if they would just come out and straight-up say they do not respect free speech on their respective campuses. The whole “we support free speech, but only what we view as legitimate speech” isn’t a standard.

Actually, I respect them for giving us that much. Sounds like straight up exclusion and censorship of “ideas they don’t like”.

Really the beat/hippie literature is full of their own refutation on how “legitimacy” is just compiled statement dis-preference, and represents a bias of the dominant culture.

The thing is that liberal tradition relies on calling the exhibition of wordless nudies and sex acts “speech”. So they’ve been more than generous with including things in “speech”–things that should be just allowed based on the principle of freedom of speech (even expanded to “expression” and even by Tribpe as “experience”–thus “speech” covers the drug use and the ability to “experience” the world “on our own terms” [not direct quotes]).

You’re arguing a losing battle to say that we want to be as expansive as possible (as equivacatory as possible) with “speech”–but not things that somebody actually says.

But I don’t find thinking a strong point for libs.

Axeman on May 1, 2015 at 9:55 AM

The DOJ study reminds me of the kind of ‘science’ and ‘statistics’ the National Socialists used to support their doctrines and policies of eugenics and claiming genetic inferiority of persons of Jewish ancestry.

If one is too busy trying to use any means to support certain theories and positions regardless of the integrity of the means, it is not surprising that the means to the end can become despicable.

“Figures don’t lie, but sometimes liars figure.”

s1im on May 1, 2015 at 10:03 AM

Um, more like real life starting to mirror The Onion — everyday there is at least one story if not more that looks like it came directly out of the satire rags.

PS Not only did Matt have some particularly egregious grammatical problems, so did the people writing the articles he quoted.

Are blogging and grammar incompatible for some reason?

AesopFan on April 30, 2015 at 11:11 PM

The SSM arguments started a whole lot of stupid. Now the Trans/Purple-Penguin arguments are kicking it up a notch.

Axeman on May 1, 2015 at 10:17 AM

I normally never advocate disingenuousness, but conservatives need to start photo-bombing and then complaining that they didn’t give consent to be photographed.

They’ll probably argue that shoving yourself into a photo is an illustration of intent and consent. Then you can counter that people who hold up signs aren’t asking not to be noticed either. “Hey, look at my sign!! I’m really mad!! I want you to feel shame at my Almighty indictment of my sign and cringe!! But you can’t take notice of me.”

We should call people who who run “safe zones” “safeties”. I don’t know about you, but the picture of a college lib calling “Safety! Safety!” like a kid on an elementary playground (at least in the midwest) cracks me up.

Axeman on May 1, 2015 at 10:23 AM

The seed for this is the feminist “community organizing” slogan from the 1960s,

What is personal is political“.

Like the Cloward–Piven strategy’s intent to overload the welfare system, this idea was intended to overload the legal system with grievances.

With relatively light resistance from the Center and Right, the Left has had great success.

KyserS on May 1, 2015 at 11:14 AM

Should there be a trigger warning published before that HOYA editorial, to protect the people harmed by false accusations?

Ask that, and watch the heads spin.

bmmg39 on May 1, 2015 at 11:43 AM

Isn’t Washington D.C. a single party consent state for video recording? If that’s the case, then Georgetown really can’t “step in” regarding the editing of a public event. – Matt Vespa

One question Matt – how many states are in the union?

earlgrey on May 1, 2015 at 12:21 PM

Sorry Matt, I thought of another question. Do you have a degree in journalism? I’m thinking you do.

earlgrey on May 1, 2015 at 12:26 PM

I wonder if Georgetown has looked into the “rape culture” and endemic misogyny of rap music? Is that also prohibited on campus? Why not? Would it be racist to raise the subject?

Parents! Stop sending your children to these high-priced liberal toilets.

virgo on May 2, 2015 at 10:44 AM