October 11, 2006

"In the real world, if you don't have the balls to report [sexual assault], there's no case"

So said Rill Wollins, a member of Student Assembly's Committee on Standards Task Force, yesterday, according to The D.

Let me put that in language that is a little bit clearer:

"So you women, who were raped or otherwise physically violated, traumatized, maybe threatened or coerced into keeping silent, you just better get some big ass balls if you want to do anything about it. That's right. You should grow some men's balls before you can think about defending your delicate woman's right not to be groped or fucked or stuff without your consent."

Therefore, a provision like the one introduced yesterday by this COS Task Force, that defendants of a sexual assault charge can directly question—without an intermediary—the plaintiff, well, that's no problem. After all, accusing a man of rape or sexual assault should be a test of your testicular fortitude, and so if you don't have that manly courage, I'm sorry, you can't even have your case heard. As the alleged victim, you're really the one on trial, aren't you.

From what I've heard, leaders of SA task forces can hand-pick the task force's members. Anybody see a problem with that?

Excellent reporting by The D, btw.


  1. Anonymous11:03 AM

    I certainly agree that an intermediary is required for such questioning, however, accussed students should be able to pose reasonable fact-based questions without edit.

    Take the DFP "Jane's Story" where a Dartmouth woman alleged that she was drugged and it was later found that the anti-depressant she was on could produce similiar symptoms when mixed with alcohol. In that case, if there was an individual accussed of using GHB, he or she should be able to question whether the alleged victim was on medication that could produce the same effect. This is an example of a reasonable and fact-based line of questioning.

    My biggest problem with the college discipline process is that it works on the assumption that it's administration alone is sufficient in providing due process and that the necessary weight of evidence is somehow dependent on the seriousness of the crime. We hold Dartmouth students to a higher standard, should we hold the standard by which we judge innocence and guilt to a similiarly high standard?

  2. I don't see why an intermediary can't be the one posing those reasonable fact-based questions of yours. I cannot see the logical necessity of asking them yourself.

    Secondly, what is going to constitute a reasonable, fact-based question? I mean, will there be like an approved list of such questions that you can ask directly? Who would draw that list up?

    As for the other point, what other discipline process do you suggest we bring in to make sure we're entirely on the up and up? The American justice system? I'm glad you have such faith in its unblemished record of putting only criminals behind bars and only acquitting the innocent, but I, unfortunately, do not have quite that much confidence in its accuracy or its fairness, nor do I feel that it will help correct the very real problem of the underreportage of sexual assault.

    Look, I've already posted about this type of argument last winter:


    High standards are one thing; recommending the necessity of extra-administrative involvement (which you tiptoe around) is another. Don't conflate them.

  3. I'm sorry, but no woman should be put through further torment by her the person she is accussing. It's not something I would wish any woman to have to go through.

    Any woman who is the victim of such an act should not have to face her attacker and all questioning should be carried out by an intermediary. What are your colleges thinking of.

  4. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Yes! Clearly there are instances when justice should be dealt out in a forum without the same due process protections as the American judicial system. This is true of the college proceedings of accused rapists and government tribunals of accused terrorists.

    If the judicial system doesn't work for you, make up your own!

  5. Let's get one things straight first of all:

    The American judicial system, and its due process protections are made up, just like the college's. There is nothing natural or naturally just about them.

    You're treating the American judicial system as if it's inherently just, and the mere grafting of its due process protections onto the College will result in instant justice.

    That's ridiculous. I might as well say that unless we process all cases of plagiarism under the Napoleonic Code and its due process protections, then we don't have a fair system.

    The idea that we should model our sexual assault proceedings explicitly along the lines of the American judicial system, or else the system isn't fair is a rhetorical conceit, not a sound argument.

    After all, we do not have the same sort of punishments in effect as the American judicial system nor the means to effect them, but no one's complaining about that, are they?

    Okay, now for your invidious point comparing the treatment of accused terrorists with that of alleged rapists.

    First of all, indefinite arbitrary imprisonment is wrong independently of its illegality under the American judicial system. It is wrong because it precludes the possibility of timely redress.

    Not permitting direct questioning does not preclude the possibility of timely redress (nor does it even preclude the possibility of being adequately heard, really). You can turn around and sue your accuser in a state court. You can sue the school. Your options for redress have not by any means been eliminated.

  6. Anonymous7:21 PM

    The made-up american judicial system is better than made-up dartmouth college system with respect to serious felonies.

    The local and state enforcement agencies can better investigate these cases than college deans and S&S.

    The court system can better manage what evidence is introduced in what manner.

    A jury of peers can best decide upon the weight of that evidence.

  7. First, sexual assault is different from other serious felonies—lumping it together with them is a surefire way to create a process of prevention and discipline that is ineffective and indifferent.

    Secondly, a campus environment is very different from all other environments. Why don't we let state or federal agents do all of our liquor law enforcing on campus? Is that what you want too? Or how about replacing UGAs with narcs? You think that might be a good innovation?

    And would this jury of peers you speak of have the sort of heterogeneity that our venerable COS Task Force has—half of it Chi Gams? I'm kind of dubious that Dartmouth is large enough for a fair jury system to work.

  8. Anonymous12:31 AM

    The Dartmouth MISQUOTED that guy! Excellent reporting???? Are you kidding me??? Check the October 12th issue for their correction. That was one of the worst misquotes I've ever seen.

  9. Anonymous12:33 AM

    The Dartmouth misquoted Rollins. Check the October 12th issue for their correction. That was honestly one of the worst misquotes I've ever seen in my life--and honestly "in the real world" they'd be sued. Excellent reporting? You've got to be kidding.

  10. Anonymous12:50 AM

    GREAT POINT whoever said that the U.S. Justice system isn't inherently just! It's probably one of the worst systems on earth! Having the right to confront your accuser is just ridiculous! After all, once you're accused you're probably guilty. I don't think we really even need trials.

  11. Stephen Cesaro1:17 AM

    First things first, to whomever wrote that article, excellent reporting. You're going to make a great journalist someday, not taking the time to properly double check your quotes and defaming innocent people. Your actions reflect well on The Dartmouth.

    I know that Mr. Rollins, at the time of his alleged "quote", was speaking of the intrinsic right the accused has to face his or her accuser in court. While I do not condone his symbolic use of "balls" in speaking on the very charged topic of sexual assault, I do completely back his message.

    The fact that I do not have the right to face somebody who accuses me of sexual assault is a travesty. Whatever happened to due process? We just want to discard that part of the constitution because it might be too traumatic for some women?

    I say that's too damn bad. I certainly do sympathize with any woman who has had the terrible experience of being the victim of such an act but at the same time, I understand that men have rights too. Can you imagine what it would be like to be falsely or mistakenly accused of such a horrific crime? Having "sexual assault" on your record would essentially ruin the rest of your life. What a terrible thing to live with. And yet, if I somehow find myself accused of this I dont even have the right to face my supposed "victim?"

    Oh, and I forgot the best part - I only have to be 51% guilty to be convicted.


    The bottom line is that Rollins has his head in the right place. While I might not always agree with the way he says things, I find his message to always be intelligent.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise in this particular issue is completely ignorant, I'm sorry.

    Actually, no, I'm not.

  12. The D's "misquote" is irrelevant to the reason why I posted in the first place, which was to point out the enormous insensitivity and general indifference that Rollins displayed in the quote, whether it was about reporting or being confronted by the accused. It's not really an egregious misquote, but you can pretend it is if you want to.

    I did not say that the American justice system is one of the worst in the world; my point was that the assumption that importing American procedures wholesale into a very different juridical environment won't make the process de facto fair. That's a relatively obvious point, and seriously did not really deserve the kind of glib response it got.

    Steven Cesaro, I'm awfully glad you have the "balls" to leave a name.

    As you can see, I've responded to your and other previous arguments more fully here