Saturday Night Movie – The Hunting Ground

Watch The Hunting Ground here:

The Hunting Ground is a documentary film about the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States and what its creators say is a failure of college administrations to deal with it adequately. Written and directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering.

The Hunting Ground presents multiple students who allege they were sexually assaulted at their college campuses, and that college administrators either ignored them or required them to navigate a complex academic bureaucracy to have their claims addressed. The film implies that many college officials were more concerned with minimizing rape statistics for their universities than with the welfare of the students, and contains interviews with college administrators who state they were pressured into suppressing rape cases. The film chiefly criticized actions (or lack thereof) by university administrations, including Harvard, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Amherst College, and Notre Dame, but it also examines fraternities such as Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

The narrative features Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, students at the University of North Carolina, who became campus anti-rape activists after being assaulted. In response to what they saw as an inadequate response from the university, they filed a Title IX complaint against The University of North Carolina on January 16, 2013 (along with three other students), and co-founded the group End Rape on Campus.

As well as talking to women who state they were victims of both rapists and unsympathetic university officials, the filmmakers interviewed students, parents, and administrators. The Hunting Ground also includes a conversation with a former Notre Dame police officer who criticized how rape cases were handled at that institution. The officer spoke of a case where he was not allowed to question a student accused of rape, a Notre Dame football player, at any time that student was on athletic department property. The Hunting Ground also includes testimony from male victims of sexual assault. Producer Amy Ziering stated the filmmakers “felt it was important to show men and women. For men it’s often harder to speak up because there is a social stigma associated with rape. Many male victims were feeling ashamed.”

A section of the film is focused on Jameis Winston, the former star quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles football team (now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and the accusation of sexual assault against him while at Florida State. His accuser, Erica Kinsman, publicly discusses the incident for the first time.

The filmmakers also contend that most rapes are committed by a small number of repeat offenders. Director Kirby Dick stated that less than eight percent of the population is responsible for more than ninety percent of all sexual assaults. Producer Amy Ziering said that “our failure as a society to apprehend perpetrators leaves criminals at large who are savvy and experienced, and able to continue to commit these crimes with impunity.”

Description from

Lady Gaga’s original song for the film Til It Happens To You

Montana quarterback receives $245K settlement for university’s ‘unfair and biased’ rape investigation

February 17

Jordan Johnson was the star quarterback for the University of Montana. He was tall and handsome and an NFL hopeful. He had nearly led the team to a national title.

Then, suddenly, he was accused of rape.

On March 19, 2012, a Missoula television station reported that a female student had filed a restraining order against Johnson after she accused him of raping her six weeks earlier. Life quickly unraveled for Johnson. He was expelled from school, then criminally charged with rape. In February of 2013, a year after the alleged incident, he went on trial.

The accusation divided the college town, already on edge over a series of rape accusations, including several against other UM football players.

Missoula was labeled the “rape capital” of the country. Investigative reporter Jon Krakauer turned the town, and Johnson’s trial, into the centerpiece of a book on America’s college campus rape epidemic.

But then came a series of blindside hits to the narrative.

Johnson was acquitted in March of 2013. He promptly sued the university.

And on Tuesday, four years after the alleged rape took place, it was announced that the ex-quarterback would receive $245,000 over the expulsion.

“Any student accused of wrongdoing deserves a fair and impartial hearing of the facts of his or her case,” Johnson said in the statement, according to the Associated Press. “Officials at the University of Montana — people who were in positions of great power — were unfair and biased. Their misconduct made my family and me suffer unnecessarily, both emotionally and financially.”

The dramatic reversal is just one of a slew of lawsuits nationwide in which young men have accused universities of erroneously and over-zealously clamping down on sexual assault.

On Monday, two male students at the University of Texas filed lawsuits claiming the school used them as scapegoats to build a reputation for being tough on sexual assault, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Those complaints are part of a growing phenomenon. As American universities try to rein in sexual assaults on campus, more and more men are claiming — often in multi-million-dollar lawsuits — that they innocently have been caught up in the crackdown.

As of November, more than 50 pending lawsuits have been filed nationwide by men who say they were unfairly expelled from college after being accused of sexual assault, according to Inside Higher Ed.

“Almost every week, there’s at least one more suit like this,” Samantha Harris from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education told the website. “It’s a very rapidly emerging area of law. Up until this point, it’s an area that has not been super fleshed out by the courts, and earlier lawsuits have been largely unsuccessful. But that’s starting to change.”

Emma Sulkowicz, a senior visual arts student at Columbia University, carries a mattress in protest of the university’s lack of action after she reported being raped during her sophomore year on September 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

All kinds of universities have been hit with these lawsuits, from big state schools like UM or UT to the Ivy League. In October, a male student sued Brown University after he was suspended for two and a half years for unwanted sexual advances.

Perhaps the most famous such suit is against Columbia University. In what has become known as the “Carry that Weight” rape case, former undergrad Emma Sulkowicz carried her mattress around campus for much of the 2014-15 school year to protest how the university handled her sexual assault complaint against a fellow student. When her protest became global news, the student she accused was put in the spotlight. Paul Nungesser’s name appeared on fliers posted around campus, and former friends began avoiding him.

Last April, Nungesser sued the school, arguing Columbia had “damaged, if not effectively destroyed” his reputation and career prospects.

“By refusing to protect Paul Nungesser, Columbia University first became a silent bystander and then turned into an active supporter of a fellow student’s harassment campaign by institutionalizing it and then heralding it,” the complaint claimed.

Columbia has moved to dismiss the lawsuit.

The Obama administration has lent its weight to efforts to crack down on sexual assault on college campuses. In Sept. 2014, the White House announced a national campaign, called “It’s On Us,” to combat the problem, enlisting the support of major college sports leagues and celebrities to get American university students to speak out about sexual assault.

“An estimated one in five women has been sexually assaulted during her college years — one in five,” President Obama said. “Of those assaults, only 12 percent are reported, and of those reported assaults, only a fraction of the offenders are punished.”

That effort was partially undermined, however, by controversy surrounding Rolling Stone magazine’s now retracted cover story about gang rape at the University of Virginia.

A handful of recent legal success by male students suing their schools has also contributed to the complexity of efforts to crack down on rape on campus.

Last summer, a California trial court judge ruled that the University of California at San Diego had to reinstate a male student who had been suspended over a report he sexually assaulted a female student, according to Inside Higher Ed. He had accused the school of violating his due process rights by presuming his guilt ahead of a hearing, restricting his access to witnesses and evidence and informing a hearing panel of his guilt instead of letting the panel reach its own conclusion.

Since then, male students at the University of Southern California, Middleburg, Swarthmore and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga have won similar legal skirmishes.

Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson (10) runs the ball against Eastern Washington during the first half of a second-round game in the NCAAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs on Saturday, Dec 6, 2014, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)

In the Tennessee case, a judge ruled that the university’s policies were unfair because they forced an accused student to prove his innocence rather than requiring the school to prove his guilt.

Like that ruling, the University of Texas lawsuits filed this week point to the problematic gap between the criminal justice system and the scholastic version now under scrutiny.

In one of the UT suits, a recent graduate claims he only became aware in Dec. 2014 that a woman with whom he had sex more than three months earlier had accused him of sexual assault, according to the American-Statesman. Austin police investigated, but cops and local prosecutors closed their cases against the student without charging him.

The dean of students, however, recommended he be expelled. (He appealed and has since graduated.) The university had ruled that “the evidence supported a finding that (he) had sexually assaulted Ms. Roe, the opposite of the conclusion reached by the more experienced detectives of the police department,” according to the lawsuit.

In the other UT suit filed on Monday, an undergraduate claims he was also treated unfairly. When the student was accused of raping a woman after a house party in March of 2015, UT police investigated — although officers did not interview the alleged victim — and did not bring charges. A complaint from the woman’s father, however, was forwarded to the university’s dean, who recommended the male student be expelled.

“I don’t remember throwing up, or coming home, or having this random (expletive) guy in my bed,” the woman texted her friend the day after the alleged rape, according to the lawsuit. “I didn’t want this guy. At all. This guy wanted me and got me when I wasn’t conscious.”

According to the lawsuit, however, the friend said she saw the woman awake and talking while kissing this man.

The two UT suits, filed by the same lawyer, contain identical language suggesting that the school was putting its image ahead of individual students’ rights.

“The university has been placed under enormous political pressure to appear tough on those accused of sexual assault and as a result have [sic] adopted a practice of expelling males from the university without regard to the rights of the accused student of the evidence,” the lawsuits say, according to the American-Statesman. “The university has furthermore sought publicity and prestige by portraying itself as a national leader in the effort to curb on-campus sexual assaults.”

But Paul Liebman, UT’s chief compliance officer, said that the school should not be expected to follow criminal procedure.

Former University of Montana quarterback, Jordan Johnson, facing camera, is hugged by a supporter after being acquitted of rape charges during his trial Friday March 1, 2013 in Missoula, Mont. The accusations against Johnson, 20, have drawn much attention in Montana, where UM football is the top sports attraction. Jurors deliberated for less than two hours. (AP Photo/Matt Gouras)

“The police follow the Texas Criminal Code,” he told the American-Statesman. “We have the General Information Catalog. One of those policies is a prohibition against sexual assault. When someone comes to us (with an allegation of sexual assault), we look at our policy. … We’re not finding a crime; we’re just trying to figure out whether someone has violated our policy.”

The standards schools use to investigate student misconduct were also at issue in the Montana case.

Johnson, the football player, was accused of raping a friend while they watched a movie.

“Omg … I think I might have just gotten raped,” the woman texted her flatmate shortly after the alleged assault. “He kept pushing and pushing and I said no but he wouldn’t listen … I just wanna cry … Omg what do I do!”

Johnson denied wrongdoing, telling the school, and later a jury, that the sex was consensual.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education told American colleges and universities that they were required to use a standard of “preponderance of evidence” for sexual assault complaints — meaning 51 percent of credible evidence — rather than the higher threshold of “clear and convincing evidence” or, highest of all, the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Although the University of Montana had already used the “preponderance of evidence” standard against other male students accused of sexual assault, it had not updated its Student Code of Conduct. And when Jordan Johnson was accused of rape in February of 2012, his attorneys jumped on the discrepancy.

Johnson’s lawyers argued that the school’s handling of the complaint had been “undermined and tainted by serious failures of due process and fundamental fairness,” Krakauer wrote in his book on the sexual assaults at the university, “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.”

When Johnson’s appeals failed, he appealed to the state’s commissioner of higher education. It was a Hail Mary, but it worked. Commissioner Clayton Christian controversially overturned Johnson’s expulsion, sending it back to the school and calling for “clear and convincing” evidence.

After another dean took over the school in 2012, she found both Johnson and his accuser to be credible, writing that it was “a case of differing perceptions and interpretations of the events in question,” according to a letter obtained by Krakauer. “The [dean] concluded that there was not clear and convincing evidence to find that [Johnson] committed sexual misconduct.”

After a tear-filled trial, during which Johnson decided to take the stand to defend himself, a jury took less than two hours to find him not guilty.

On Tuesday, the former quarterback’s comeback was complete when a court approved his $245,000 settlement agreement with the state. The agreement listed 11 claims made by Johnson, including violations of due process and his civil rights, along with sexual discrimination, negligence and destroying evidence, according to the AP.

“I want to put this entire situation behind me and move forward with my life,” Johnson said in a statement.

Whatever happened in that Missoula bedroom, however, the issue of sexual assault isn’t going away anytime soon in America — or at the University of Montana.

After at least 80 alleged sexual assaults in the community during a three-year span, most of which were not prosecuted, the U.S. Department of Justice launched its own investigation. The DOJ signed settlement agreements with the university, the city and county prosecutors requiring changes in reporting, responding to and oversight of sexual assault cases.

Correction: The 80 alleged sexual assaults were for all of Missoula, not just the UM campus. According to university officials, there were 44 allegations of rape on campus from 2010 until 2014.

Courtesy of

It’s On Us

The White House
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release

Vice President Joe Biden Op-Ed: It’s On Us to Stop Campus Sexual Assault

The following op-ed by Vice President Joe Biden will appear in college newspapers and online outlets this week for the It’s On Us Week of Action. Schools running the op-ed include: Clemson University, Purdue University, The George Washington University, University of Northern Iowa, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, University of Pennsylvania, Western Connecticut State University, Grand Valley State University, Valparaiso University, Fresno State, and Ramapo College of New Jersey

It’s On Us to Stop Campus Sexual Assault

Vice President Joe Biden

Twenty-one years ago, I wrote the Violence Against Women Act to end the scourge of violence against women and hold perpetrators accountable. It’s been a great success, but even one attack is one too many.

So I held a number of calls with hundreds of students, administrators, advocates, and survivors and asked what we can do to make colleges safer. The overwhelming answer—get men involved.

So President Obama and I started It’s On Us—to wake-up our colleges and universities – and the country – to the epidemic of sexual violence on their campuses.

Over the past year, we’ve gotten celebrities, major companies, sports leagues, and leading broadcasters to participate in public service announcements and display logos and information, showing how everyone can help prevent these heinous crimes from ever happening.

One thing students can do is take the It’s On Us pledge. Over 250,000 students have already pledged:

  1. To intervene instead of being a bystander.
  2. To recognize that any time consent is not – or cannot – be given, it is sexual assault and it is a crime.
  3. To do everything you can to create an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable, and all survivors are supported.

The response has been overwhelming. More than 300 campuses have hosted over 1,000 It’s On Us events, and nearly 300 colleges and universities have created their own It’s On Us public service announcements, reaching millions of people online and at football and basketball games.

But this year, we want to do even more. That’s why between November 8th to November 14th, I’m traveling across the country calling for a Week of Action to get more students involved.

This week, the University of Wisconsin is hosting an It’s On Us flag football game with student athletes, members of Greek organizations, and other student groups. At Stonehill College in Massachusetts, students, faculty, and staff are wearing nametags that say how they have been affected by sexual assault: “I am a survivor,” and “I will not be a passive bystander.” Middle Tennessee State University is hosting discussions in the student center and online about consent and stopping sexual violence.

In addition to taking the pledge, consider other steps:

  • Organize drives to get more students to take the It’s On Us Pledge.
  • Ask businesses, libraries, hospitals to display an It’s On Us logo.
  • Encourage sports teams, fraternities, sororities, bands, and other student organizations to get involved.
  • Hold press conferences and roundtables with school administrators and community leaders about campus sexual assault.
  • Use social media to spread the word using #ItsonUs.

You have to demand that your Universities be held accountable. President Obama and I have made it crystal clear that schools that fail in this responsibility are in violation of Title IX and risk federal investigation and financial penalties. And each of you can make it clear that you expect nothing less.

I also encourage your colleges to partner with local rape crisis centers, local law enforcement, and women’s health centers to coordinate a robust community response and ensure that victims are supported in every way possible.

We have more to do to change the culture that asks the wrong questions, like why were you there? What were you wearing? Were you drinking?

We have to ask the right questions—What made him think that he could do what he did without my consent? Why on Earth did no one stop him instead of standing by? What can we do to make sure everyone has the courage to speak up, intervene, prevent and end sexual assault once and for all?

You know that survivors are not statistics. They’re our sisters; they’re our classmates; they’re our friends. They’re at every university, every college, in every community—large and small. For all of them, everywhere, we can and we must end sexual and dating violence on campus.

But we can’t do it without you. Visit to find out what you can do during this Week of Action and throughout the school year.

It’s on me. It’s on you. It’s on us—and it’s within our power to end sexual violence on campus once and for all.

Sunday Night Movie Double Feature – Silencing Mary and She Cried No

History exam questions are stolen from Cornwall University’s history professor’s home by Falcons football players, who nearly escape campus police. Campus paper reporter Mary keeps pushing the case. Soon after, her friend Holly Sherman gets drunk and claims to be raped at that party by star player Clay Roberts then retracts the accusation realizing she probably gave the wrong signals. Mary pushes harder, even after the college finds no proof, no case, ignoring Clay’s denial and turning blindly on the whole team, even the supporters. So, it gets personal on both sides.

A college freshman is date-raped at her brother’s frat party by a fraternity member.

Saturday Night Movie – When He’s Not a Stranger

When He’s Not a Stranger is a 1989 American Made for TV crime drama film, starring Annabeth Gish and John Terlesky about a college freshman who is sexually assaulted by a football jock. It sums up the ordeal that rape victims experience and the sexual assault on college campuses. This stark dramatization of the “acquaintance rape” dilemma was originally to be broadcast on October 17, 1989, but pushed to November 6th of that year because of coverage surrounding the earthquakes in Northern California.