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AU President Prostrates to Feminists: Date Rape Column Was a “Mistake”

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Posted on April 15 2010 4:55 pm
I am: Alex Knepper. 20 years old. Republican. Classically liberal. Atheist. Gay. Contrarian. I support: Laissez-faire capitalism. A robust foreign policy. Social tolerance. Individualism. Reason. I oppose: Statism. Collectivism. Government schools. Psychiatry. Religion -- especially Islam. I admire: Aristotle. Epictetus. John Taylor Gatto. Rudy Giuliani. Barry Goldwater. Rudy Giuliani. Friedrich Hayek. Christopher Hitchens. H.L. Mencken. Ludwig von Mises. Camille Paglia. Isabel Paterson. Ayn Rand. Robert Spencer. Thomas Szasz.

After weeks of prudent silence, American University’s president, Neil Kerwin, has finally spoken up about the date-rape controversy sparked by my recent column. Now, the last time anyone was interested in what was coming out of American University, it was because Kerwin’s predecessor was caught embezzling school funds — so perhaps, not used to all of the attention, the opportunity was too tantalizing for him to stay quiet. Trying — and failing — to assume a position of balance, Kerwin writes thus in his campus-wide spring semester memorandum:

I want to acknowledge the challenges our community faced in the wake of a provocative column in the March 31 Eagle on the topic of date rape. Our community exchanged views on this incident in a manner that reflects the value we place on civil discourse. Through dialogue, exchanges of opinion, and discussion forums, several principles were affirmed—among them, that sexual assault in all its forms and circumstances (including date rape) is a crime and a violation of AU’s Student Conduct Code; and that the First Amendment protects the right to share viewpoints, even when they may be hurtful or insensitive. Date rape victims/survivors were personally affected and many were deeply offended by the column’s words. The Eagle editors have acknowledged they could have made different editorial choices that would have avoided the harm without compromising First Amendment rights. The editors should be commended for acknowledging their mistakes, listening carefully to criticisms, and responding thoughtfully.

In a sane world, Kerwin would stay out of this matter completely and state that it’s not the job of administrators to get involved in student debates. Alas, in our postmodern world of victim-chic, he felt he had no choice but to put in a few kind words for the campus feminists. Despite his often-carefully-chosen words, this was not a neutral reaction. I have far more admiration for Keith Olbermann, who doesn’t masquerade as a neutral observer, than Neil Kerwin. Kerwin’s dishonesty here lies in the fact that he’s hiding behind a veil of neutrality. Let’s review his response, shall we?

The use of the feminist date-rape propaganda deeming women who have been subject to sexual assault “survivors” is our first tip-off that Kerwin is prostrating to the feminists. “Survivor” is a term we typically employ to those who have endured the horrors of genocide, war, or famine, and managed to come out alive. Sexual assault is not a lethal act, nor is it a life-defining event, akin to suffering in Auschwitz. Feminists would like it to be a traumatic event: like Hamas, the more of their alleged constituents that sufferer, the more that they can manipulate people’s emotions — but it’s a terrible debasement of the term survivor to apply it to those who are simply victims. (Kerwin uses the term ‘victim,’ too, but it is not enough, apparently.)

Next up in the carnival of horrors: my hurtful, insensitive language. This is the essence of liberalism, really: to become disheveled every time something offends one’s fragile little sensibilities. They’re offended, so they throw papers around, or appeal to bureaucrats or administrators to pick up the pieces of their shattered egos (and such administrators respond in kind, it seems). Is this what strong women do? Apparently, they can’t help it, in the midst of a “challenge” like my column. Indeed, when a controversial conversation is started, it’s now a challenge, according to President Kerwin. When feminists place displays all over the dining hall (!) with bogus statistics — “1 in 3 women will be raped in their lifetime” — and male-bashing messages — “Rape is a Men’s Issue” — this is apparently educational; any affront to it must be considered a “challenge” to the community’s cohesion. (Then again, since, as the feminists point out, rape is a men’s issue — since most rapists are men — does this mean that we can finally admit that suicide bombing is a Muslim issue?)

The coup de grace occurs near the end of the paragraph, when Kerwin unequivocally states that printing the column as is was a “mistake.” Perhaps if it had been more “sensitive” and less “hurtful” — that is, if it were rubber-stamped by the campus Women’s Initiative and “social justice” advocates — it wouldn’t have been such a “challenge” to the community. Daring to undercut feminist date-rape propaganda is a big no-no when the campus could receive bad publicity. Sorry, Neil: it’s not my fault that your university keeps admitting mentally unstable womyn who throw papers around when they get upset.

But don’t let anyone tell you that Kerwin doesn’t think that free speech is a cultural value of paramount importance! — He supports free speech, but… (it’s always a ‘but’ with these stalwarts!) — well, couldn’t you be a little more sensitive?

The subtext of this message, of course, is damage control: this controversy occurred during admissions season. Several feminists commented on my original column, saying that this made them less likely to attend American University. To which I respond: Good! Away with you! — Off to Berkeley, where you can practice your victim-chic in peace, unperturbed by any “challenges” to the community like those of the insensitive, hurtful misogynist Alex Knepper. After all, as Donald Rumsfeld would remind us: it’s a lot easier to take ‘em out if we can draw ‘em all to one place.

Alex Knepper can be contacted at apkkib@aol.com

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