Sexual misconduct allegations at Cambridge blocked by a single academic

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Fullofsurprises
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Anyone taking forward allegations of sexual misconduct at Cambridge has been thwarted by one academic, the Char of the Discipline Committee, who has ruled that these are not covered under their harassment rules. At present, such students will have no recourse within the university to raise an investigation.
https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/17737

New rules will come in from 1 October, but they will not permit complaints about events before that date.

It's alarming and very strange that students now have nowhere to go at Cambridge University to report sexual misconduct and will not be able to raise past incidents in the future, all based on the decision of one academic. I have not been able to establish which of the four Chairs of Discipline at the university made this decision from a preliminary web search.

It would appear that the university's preference when it comes to rape allegations is to ensure that they cannot be raised. :sad:
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limetang
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Shocking, students will have to go to the police now instead of a university run kangaroo court.
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by limetang)
Shocking, students will have to go to the police now instead of a university run kangaroo court.
I would encourage any student at Cambridge who has been sexually attacked to do so. They should also (if they can stand it) seek publicity from the news media for their case. The university clearly wants to avoid discussion of this subject and do some intensive sweeping under the carpet.
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limetang
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Having read the article I can't really speak as to WHY the university doesn't want to deal with it. Personally I'm fairly simplistic on this, universities AREN'T equipped to investigate and punish crimes, that's not their job. They should comply with investigations, they should comply with police requests for the accused and alleged victim not to have contact with each other etc. But they shouldn't have any extra responsibility here than that. It's quite right to say it's too serious for them to deal with.
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Notoriety
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Under the statute definition, harassment refers to a "course of conduct" which must occur on at fewest two occasions. The law applies to the tort and crime of harassment and needn't apply to uni disciplinary procedures, but there seems to be some strong authority for supposing that there must be more than one incident.

If this is accepted, then removing a condom midway through sex would not be "harassment" and the Chair was correct to refuse to consider it under the regulations.

Edit: It should be noted that under the Cambridge regs, a single event can give rise to "harassment". http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/2...section19.html

6. (a) No member of the University shall engage in the harassment of:

 (i) a member, officer, or employee of the University or a College; or

 (ii) any other person where the harassment takes place either within the Precincts of the University or in the course of a University or College activity.

(b) Harassment shall include single or repeated incidents involving unwanted and unwarranted conduct towards another person which is reasonably likely to have the effect of (i) violating that other’s dignity or (ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for that other.
There is also a separate procedure for complaints of sexual harassment or misconduct, but for this to be engaged there must be an offence against the discipline of the University (meaning that the acts amount to harassment under the regulations quoted). http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/2...section27.html
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Good bloke
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
They should also (if they can stand it) seek publicity from the news media for their case.
Doing that would jeopardise any trial and leave the person doing it open to contempt of court proceedings. You will, I'm sure, remember applauding the results of that in the recent case against a well-known right wing political figure.

I cannot understand why anyone would seek to report a crime to anyone other than the police. If you do not have supporting evidence that would stand up in court then the presumption of innocence is all-important.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by limetang)
Having read the article I can't really speak as to WHY the university doesn't want to deal with it. Personally I'm fairly simplistic on this, universities AREN'T equipped to investigate and punish crimes, that's not their job. They should comply with investigations, they should comply with police requests for the accused and alleged victim not to have contact with each other etc. But they shouldn't have any extra responsibility here than that. It's quite right to say it's too serious for them to deal with.
Quite!
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the bear
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Anyone taking forward allegations of sexual misconduct at Cambridge has been thwarted by one academic, the Char of the Discipline Committee
i guess they keep things tidy ?
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Trapmoneybenny
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)

It would appear that the university's preference when it comes to rape allegations is to ensure that they cannot be raised. :sad:
Mmmm...because heaven forbid, an alleged victim ACTUALLY report the crime to the police and not some kangaroo court in a university. If you don't report a case to the one institution specially designed to deal with such issues, you ought to realise at the very least nothing is gonna be done about it. I fail to see how Cambridge are meant to deal with this? You attend the college/university to receive an education, they aren't supposed to police your nightly activities. How on earth are they supposed to verify he did what you accused him of doing? The alleged perpetrator can simply deny it and that would be that. Hearsay....


Stop creating such stupid threads
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by Trapmoneybenny)
Mmmm...because heaven forbid, an alleged victim ACTUALLY report the crime to the police and not some kangaroo court in a university. If you don't report a case to the one institution specially designed to deal with such issues, you ought to realise at the very least nothing is gonna be done about it. I fail to see how Cambridge are meant to deal with this? You attend the college/university to receive an education, they aren't supposed to police your nightly activities. How on earth are they supposed to verify he did what you accused him of doing? The alleged perpetrator can simply deny it and that would be that. Hearsay....


Stop creating such stupid threads
Don't be offensive, it's far from being a stupid thread, it's a national news story.
https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...anded-unlawful

Universities should be working to create an atmosphere where female students in particular can be free from rape and other types of sexual molestation and harassment, which is far from the case at present. At the very least, they could have a disciplinary process for the male students who consider themselves free to behave in these ways. This kind of decision encourages them in that belief.
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by limetang)
Having read the article I can't really speak as to WHY the university doesn't want to deal with it. Personally I'm fairly simplistic on this, universities AREN'T equipped to investigate and punish crimes, that's not their job. They should comply with investigations, they should comply with police requests for the accused and alleged victim not to have contact with each other etc. But they shouldn't have any extra responsibility here than that. It's quite right to say it's too serious for them to deal with.
Universities have always had and will continue to have disciplinary rules and procedures against those who misbehave, quite separate from and in addition to, any other legal processes. It's reasonable to expect those might include action against students who commit acts of sexual harassment or other types of sexual misbehaviour. Given that even things like walking on the quad grass or other similarly minor issues come under such processes, it begs the question of why Cambridge apparently considers that it should not take sexual misconduct allegations seriously, or not pay attention to those that have already been reported.

Of course, their motive is not fear of being out of their depth in complex legal matters, it is the usual one of wanting to pretend that such things don't happen in their colleges.
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limetang
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I would say two things here

1) University's DO need rules that are in addition to the law of the land and they do need some means of enforcing them. It's not a crime to cheat on an exam (for example) but university's rightly need to be able to apply sanctions to pupils who do that. Students behaviour in university buildings, in tutorials, lectures etc. needs to be monitored and there need to be sanctions applied for students who break those rules. If you were to call your lecturer a **** mid lecture, that wouldn't be a crime but rightly the university needs to be able to apply sanctions to students who do that.

On point 1) I don't think anybody disagrees with the need per say for university's to have their own disciplinary procedures. There's a clear point that simply having students obey the law isn't enough.

2) I don't believe it IS reasonable for university's to punish their students for crimes and I CERTAINLY don't believe it is reasonable for university's to run investigations into crimes (a panel of academics of random disciplines is hardly who you want running a criminal investigation, that's not their specialism) My view might be more extreme than most but it is my view that crimes should only be investigated and punished by the justice system. Reason fro this is that the whole point of the courts, prisons etc. is that we defer to them the power to determine guilt and punish crime. We don't have the right to add our own additional punishments on top. If somebody is tried and convicted of rape and is sentenced to jail, I do not have the right to punch that person because I think he deserves some extra punishment from me. Likewise I don't believe university's should be in the business of applying sanctions for crimes, that to me seems to be an injustice.

Finally, how on EARTH do you know what their motive is for doing this?
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Anyone taking forward allegations of sexual misconduct at Cambridge has been thwarted by one academic, the Char of the Discipline Committee, who has ruled that these are not covered under their harassment rules. At present, such students will have no recourse within the university to raise an investigation.
https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/17737

New rules will come in from 1 October, but they will not permit complaints about events before that date.

It's alarming and very strange that students now have nowhere to go at Cambridge University to report sexual misconduct and will not be able to raise past incidents in the future, all based on the decision of one academic. I have not been able to establish which of the four Chairs of Discipline at the university made this decision from a preliminary web search.

It would appear that the university's preference when it comes to rape allegations is to ensure that they cannot be raised. :sad:
No offence, but this is silly. Any man or woman who has been raped or sexually assaulted should go straight to the Police. Why do victims feel they should go to the Universities? The University is an academic institution and not a criminal/prosecution service.
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
I would encourage any student at Cambridge who has been sexually attacked to do so. They should also (if they can stand it) seek publicity from the news media for their case. The university clearly wants to avoid discussion of this subject and do some intensive sweeping under the carpet.
Why bring in the media? You want mob justice?
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Trapmoneybenny
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Don't be offensive, it's far from being a stupid thread, it's a national news story.
https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...anded-unlawful

Universities should be working to create an atmosphere where female students in particular can be free from rape and other types of sexual molestation and harassment, which is far from the case at present. At the very least, they could have a disciplinary process for the male students who consider themselves free to behave in these ways. This kind of decision encourages them in that belief.
what?
Its like you don't get it, at all. How do you know what the girl said is true? Has it been proven? Or have you been deluded by twitter threads to think "innocent until proven guilty" isn't a thing in this country? I read the article the "faye" person doesn't make much sense,she on her own decided against actually reporting to the police because i qoute;
“very much aware that a jury would find it almost impossible to convict a young white man, with good career prospects”. Be that as it may, you still, decided not to report to the damn police. You then took your allegation to the university and expected them to excommunicate the accused only because you said so.

Secondly, last time i checked, Cambridge university rarely had to deal with cases like this on a regular basis. In fact they go above and beyond (beyond common sense, i might add) to cater to women and educate both sexes on sexual assaults and misconduct. They are very much correct in withholding judgement from a case like this, because what the heck are they supposed to do?

Or do these girls/women need chaperones, provided by their universities now in rooms where they have their one-night stands? Don't think that would be very "liberating".
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
No offence, but this is silly. Any man or woman who has been raped or sexually assaulted should go straight to the Police. Why do victims feel they should go to the Universities? The University is an academic institution and not a criminal/prosecution service.
Because even if a woman who has been raped does go to the police, she still needs to complete her degree and it is highly likely (and even more likely without recourse to adequate internal disciplinary procedures) that the rapist(s) will still be sitting next to her every day in class/exams/social facilities.

This is what has happened at Warwick, where the repeated failure of the university to act has caused a nightmarish situation for the women students who complained about the male students targeting them with the most vile misogynistic hate attacks.
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Notoriety
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The much more alarming issue is that the rules at Cambridge will be changed going forward, so that the civil standard of "balance of probabilities" will be used rather than "beyond reasonable doubt". It means that an accused person could be thrown out of university, and be fined and whatever else, when it would not be possible for him to be found guilty in a criminal court.
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Because even if a woman who has been raped does go to the police, she still needs to complete her degree and it is highly likely (and even more likely without recourse to adequate internal disciplinary procedures) that the rapist(s) will still be sitting next to her every day in class/exams/social facilities.

This is what has happened at Warwick, where the repeated failure of the university to act has caused a nightmarish situation for the women students who complained about the male students targeting them with the most vile misogynistic hate attacks.
I know about the Warwick situation and I admit that it was wrong and lack of judgement on the part of the University. However, my issue lies with the assumption that universities should somehow take the role of law enforcement.

If a woman/man accuses another person of assault or rape, it is just an accusation until it is proven. We should not descend to a world where accusations can destroy lives without them been proven to be true or not.

To me, all victims should go straight to the police and not their University. Both parties have to live their lives whilst the police investigates the accusation. A guilty verdict then means that the University has to do what they can to remove the convict.

I think people, esp young women, seem to be looking for justice in places other than law enforcement.
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Notoriety)
The much more alarming issue is that the rules at Cambridge will be changed going forward, so that the civil standard of "balance of probabilities" will be used rather than "beyond reasonable doubt". It means that an accused person could be thrown out of university, and be fined and whatever else, when it would not be possible for him to be found guilty in a criminal court.
It is ridiculous. This happens a lot in the US and now being slowly introduced in the UK.
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limetang
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And what about the rights of the accused here? He has the right to a fair trial, he has the right to the presumption of innocence. He should have the right to protection against a largely unaccountable tribunal, acting under its own rules from unfairly punishing him.

It seems silly to point out, but an accusation is not proof of guilt. The accusation needs to be tested and tested properly. And I don't know how many more times I can say this but, the university isn't equipped to properly investigate rape. There's a vastly increased chance of them cocking up the investigation (because they're not police) and an equally high chance of them cocking up the kangaroo trial.

Or to put it simply. If you grant (as I do) that victims of crimes have the right to have the claim "he raped me" heard and taken seriously, you must also grant that those accused of these crimes have the right to have the claim "no I didn't" taken seriously (actually it should be taken even more seriously - that's the presumption of innocence).
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