Phi Beta Cons

Words (about Date Rape) Can Hurt You

The president of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania has resigned under pressure, apparently due to a YouTube video in which he stated that several rape allegations at the university had been false. While Inside Higher Ed writes about the resignation here, the details of his remarks are discussed in a November 10 article.

What did President Robert R. Jennings say?

Listening to the YouTube excerpt, I heard heartfelt, avuncular advice given to the women in the school. The event was a convocation for female students at the historically black college. There was occasional applause as he warned women about how men were likely to take sexual advantage of women and that they must be cautious.

As IHE says, Jennings “advocated for modesty.”

When it comes time for us to make that final decision, we’re going to go down the hall and marry the girl with the long dress on…That’s the one we’re going to take home to Mama because there is something about the way you carry yourself and respect yourself that commands and demands respect from us.

He also explained that false allegations—concocted to make women feel better about what they had done—could drastically damage the life of the men they accused.

IHE says that other factors, such as a lag in fund-raising, may have contributed to Jennings’ resignation. In an analogous way, Harvard’s Larry Summers was fired for a variety of reasons, but the immediate cause was a statement that offended some women.

Watch your words, gentlemen.

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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