Brodie Farquhar: Columnist distorts facts about college sexual assaults – Colorado News

Brodie Farquhar: Columnist distorts facts about college sexual assaults – Colorado News

Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist for the New York Times, is at it again – distorting or ignoring the facts and context surrounding difficult subjects.

This time, Stephens is lauding Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her action last week to revise Title IX guidelines on campus sexual assault, developed by the Obama Administration. DeVos believes that due process for the accused sexual assailants has been curtailed too far.

Stephens said it is a laudable goal to fight campus sexual assaults but says evidence of the crime is sketchy and good data is hard to come by. He adds that in 2015, “89 percent of colleges and universities reported zero incidents of rape.”

Stephens doesn’t follow up on this last factoid, asking how that’s even possible in an environment where young men and women are out on their own for the first time and dating is awash with alcohol.

Fortunately, some responsible journalists at Mother Jones looked into the issue of reported sexual assaults and found that the number is grossly under-reported. Working with survey data developed by the Association of American Universities, Mother Jones found a vast discrepancy between AAU survey answers by 150,000 students at 27 major universities, and official statistics gathered by those institutions under the Jeanne Clery Act of 1990.

According to Mother Jones, “271 Ohio State University students said in the AAU survey that they reported a rape in the 2014-15 academic year, but the school’s Clery Act filings said only 22 students reported a rape during the 2014 calendar year. At Michigan State University, the numbers were 256 to 15; at the University of Michigan, 256 to 21.”

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