Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 1:38 pm | Partly Cloudy 61º


Michelle Malkin: The Northwestern University Rape Outbreak That Wasn’t

Campus feminists whipped up a Category-5 frenzy over sexual assault allegations at a Northwestern University fraternity in February.

But last week, the school's Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin was forced to muster up her best impression of "Saturday Night Live's" classic foot-in-mouther, Emily Litella.

Neeeeever miiiiind.

Picture Telles-Irvin squinting and grimacing sheepishly as she wrote an update on her breathless bulletin "that four female students attending an event at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house were possibly given a date-rape drug, and two of these students believed they were sexually assaulted."

Before I reveal the substance of her update, let me note that shrieking protests ensued after that initial alert. Tears flowed. Demands escalated. Northwestern's student government association called for SAE's suspension.

The Chicago Tribune's headline on the brouhaha screamed "crisis." The Chicago Sun-Times' headline blared that "nerves are raw." Local TV stations spread panic over "date rape drugs." On behalf of the university, Telles-Irvin condemned "any such conduct in the strongest possible terms."

The school offered support for "survivors."

But the hysteria was all based on anonymous phone calls.

There were no actual victims, no witnesses and no physical evidence or electronic evidence or any other kind of evidence that any such an event involving any such women ingesting any such drugs or suffering any such sexual assaults ever occurred.

It was left to Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis, author of the new book, "Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus," to publicly caution against premature witch hunts. (Kipnis was the target herself of a social justice mob inquisition after penning an irreverent essay assailing oppressive campus sexual behavior codes, Title IX litigation run amok and "infantilized" student snowflakes.)

"If we've learned anything from the unraveling of Rolling Stone's now-retracted story about an alleged rape and cover-up at a University of Virginia frat a couple of years ago, it's that we need to slow down the rush to judgment until we're in possession of sufficient verifiable information to form solid conclusions," Kipnis warned eight weeks ago.

"If we fail to do that, we're guilty of what the commission that later investigated the Rolling Stone story excoriated as 'confirmation bias' — that is, forming conclusions in advance of the facts to justify our biases," she added. "I certainly hope we get updates as the investigation continues," she concluded, "but leaping to action — especially in the absence of verified (or perhaps even verifiable) complaints -- is at best a failure of due process, and at worst vigilantism."

Indeed, as K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr. document in "The Campus Rape Frenzy," the federal government and virtually all colleges and universities have "mounted a systematic attack on bedrock American principles including the presumption of innocence, access to exculpatory evidence, the right to cross-examine one's accuser, and due process" in the name of eradicating "rape culture."

Unfortunately, Kipnis is in the minuscule minority of the sane and responsible at Northwestern.

When one brave student senator, who is an SAE fraternity member, stood up for the "rights of the accused" during debate over a resolution to condemn the "pervasive culture of sexual misconduct" on campus, he was chastised for his "privilege" and castigated for "victim-blaming."

And now for the denouement.

After a "prompt and thorough" investigation, Patricia Telles-Irvin revealed last week, "(n)o disciplinary action or further investigative action related to the reports of sexual misconduct will be taken at this time."

Did investigators ever track down the anonymous callers who leveled the allegations that smeared the fraternity's rep and convicted its members in the court of public opinion? Will false accusers ever be held accountable?

We'll never know. The case of the Northwestern rape outbreak that never happened is closed. Poof!

Now, instead of admitting the whole thing was a hoax, Northwestern is scouring the targeted fraternity for "other potential violations" of campus codes to justify putting them through hell in the first place. Victimized again.

Why any mom would pay to send their son into this anti-male maelstrom is beyond me.

I'd ask famous Hollywood lefty Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose son plays basketball at Northwestern (and is an SAE member, I'm told), what she thinks of toxic "rape culture" zealots targeting innocent men on campus.

But she's apparently too busy modeling her militant feminist pussyhat on Instagram to take notice.

Michelle Malkin is a senior editor at Conservative Review. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >