Monday, July 18, 2016

New UVA sex scandal as volleyball player accuses freshman of rape - but he won't be prosecuted as he insists encounter in bathroom was consensual

The University of Virginia, the location of the infamously fabricated gang-rape story printed in Rolling Stone last year, has found itself in the spotlight again thanks to another allegation of sexual assault - but this time the events surrounding the alleged rape are all too real.

Sophomore volleyball player Haley Lind believes she was raped at a UVA house party on August 22, 2015. The unnamed freshman athlete she was with swears it was all consensual. Both have been left distraught.

And the UVA says there's just not enough evidence to do anything about it, The Washington Post reported.

The problem, the university said, is that there's no direct evidence that Lind (who agreed to be named by the Post) was unable to give consent to the athlete when they had sex in a bathroom: He said she did, and she can't remember.

And although she ended the night in such a stupor that she woke up drenched in urine, the university argues that when Lind was seen kissing the freshman earlier in the night, she had been capable of conversation and walking.

That, the university argues, means the athlete had no idea how drunk she was.

Mark Schamel, an attorney for the freshman athlete, called the 96-page investigation 'the most thorough and complete university investigation I have ever seen.'

'UVA and Charlottesville law enforcement determined that my client did absolutely nothing wrong and had affirmative consent,' he said, 'the evidence proved that.'

Lind's lawyer, James Marsh, was less pleased. 'Someone had to work very, very hard to reach a finding of no responsibility,' he said. 'I’m at a loss to explain how UVA reached this decision. It just doesn’t make sense.'

It's an unhappy ending for both students, who found themselves haunted by what ought to have been a night of carefree fun.

'Since this event I do not feel safe on (the UVA campus) and I do not feel safe for any of my friends,' Lind told The Washington Post.

'I do not think anyone truly understands the situation that I was in that night or the long-term effects this has had on my life.'

And the athlete - who maintains that he thought the sex was consensual - has also been affected. 'There were times I’d put my ball cap over my eyes and hope not to be noticed,' he said. 'I grew wary of other people, and I kind of lost some trust in the system.'

It's a tragic ending for both students, and perhaps the sad but inevitable result of a night in which the truth is lost in the clamor of alcohol and differing voices.

The incident took place at the annual Block Party on Wertland Street, in which students - especially athletes and freshmen - move festivities from house to house. It looked 'like a riot,' one student recalled.

It was in one of those houses that Lind and the unnamed athlete met at around 11pm, an hour after she had set off to the party.

Both had drunk before they met: she'd had a Smirnoff Ice, two shots of tequila and two shots of vodka before heading to the party; the athlete said he had drunk five beers and one-and-a-half cups of the house's own 'cocktail.'

Shortly after meeting, they both gulped down more liquor, squirted from a pesticide tank strapped to another athlete's back.

That was the last thing Lind remembers doing before waking up in her bed, covered in her own urine. The UVA later said the liquor was not tainted with drugs, nor was there evidence the athlete had given her a drink.

What occurred next was told in a patchwork of memories and observations pieced together by university investigators who spoke to both students, their friends, and others at the party - forming a picture that was, they said, too incomplete to act on.

The athlete says that he and Lind started kissing, and that he thought she found him attractive. He said she invited him back to her apartment - an invitation that was overheard by another student.

Other students said they witnessed the couple kissing, holding hands and caressing one another. Some said they thought she was very drunk; others said she merely appeared tipsy.

Rather than go to her place, the athlete said, she accepted his suggestion to go upstairs to a bathroom where, he said, she put a condom on him.

He claims they were interrupted twice by other students - and both times Lind told the other party to leave them alone. The second time, he said, a student climbed on the roof outside the bathroom window and looked in on them, causing him to bolt and leave Lind behind.

'Because (Lind) has no memory she is unable to offer any facts that support or refute others’ descriptions of the events,' the investigators wrote. 'We note that (the athlete) is the only person who described what occurred in the bathroom.'

A university wrestler claims that shortly afterward he entered the bathroom and found Lind naked other than her shoes, stumbling around drunkenly - so much so that she slipped on the bathtub and hit her head.

The wrestler told investigators he helped Lind, who was 'too drunk to, like, realize what was going on,' into her clothing and took her home. On the way they were seen by a cop, who said she was 'very intoxicated,' unable to walk properly and had a vacant look in her eyes.

When she woke up the next morning, she had leaves in her hair and her bed was soaked in her own urine. She couldn't remember what had happened.

'I felt like I had been violated in some way, but I didn’t know what it was,' she said, adding that seeing she had wet the bed 'scared me because I was so unconscious I could not wake myself up to get to the bathroom.'

Lind tried to put it behind her, but her performance in class and on the volleyball court began to falter as it gnawed away at her. But she didn't want to be a 'traitor' by telling on another athlete.

In mid-September, two others on the volleyball team told the coach, who - bound by UVA rules - logged the report on September 14.

Lind met with associate dean Nicole Eramo that day and expressed her concerns about being a 'traitor.' The following day the UVA informed police and the prosecutor's office. On September 25, the official investigation was launched.

On April 13, UVA investigators released a 96-page report that concluded although Lind had drunk so much she eventually blacked out, it couldn't be proven that she hadn't given consent.

The athlete, they said, could have been 'unaware of her possible incapacitation' because when he met her, she was capable of holding a conversation, walking upstairs and performing 'fine motor tasks, such as unwrapping a condom.'

Lind appealed the result, but it was denied. 'I’m not doubting myself for a second,' Lind said in December, before the investigation closed. 'He shouldn’t go on to live a normal life like he does now. He should have a consequence for it.'

This is not the only such story to occur at the UVA. In 2014 the university had the fifth largest number of reported rapes on campus, a June 7, 2016 report by WVTF said, with 35.

Brown University and the University of Connecticut topped the list with 43 cases each.

Warner 'Dave' Chapman, Charlottesville's top prosecutor, said that his office only prosecutes 'a handful' of UVA sexual assault cases each year, due to a lack of evidence and the complicating factor of alcohol.


UK: Grammar School supporters optimistic’ 18-year ban will be lifted by Theresa May's new government

Theresa May's elevation to the highest office in the land has raised hopes that her new government could open a wave of grammar schools across England as part of a dramatic overhaul of state education.

The Prime Minister has expressed support for parents who want more places in academically selective schools, and backed plans for a grammar to be expanded in her own constituency.

Under a law created by Tony Blair in 1998, no new grammar schools are allowed to open in England.

Senior Tories believe Mrs May – who attended a grammar school – will be open to reviewing that ban in her drive to help more working-class children receive a high-quality education.

Such a move would delight many Conservative MPs and educational traditionalists who were disappointed when David Cameron ruled out creating new grammar schools.

There are 163 state grammars left in England, and many are regularly at the top of academic league tables, beating even top private schools.

However, they are now hugely oversubscribed. Senior sources have indicated Mrs May’s team could review the ban as part of her focus on social mobility.

Graham Brady, the MP for Altrincham and Sale West, resigned from Mr Cameron’s front bench in 2007 in protest at his refusal to support new grammars.

On Saturday night, Mr Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, said he was “optimistic” Mrs May would end the “silly” ban. “It was absurd that Labour legislated in 1998 to ban new grammar schools, however much people may want them in a particular area,” he said. “I hope that the new Government will seek an opportunity to repeal this silly ban as soon as possible.”

As a local MP, Mrs May gave her support this year to plans for a grammar school to open a satellite campus in her Maidenhead constituency.

The Prime Minister also served as shadow education secretary 15 years ago when her policies included overturning Mr Blair’s ban on new grammars.

Her new chief of staff, Nick Timothy, is another former grammar school pupil who has previously backed selective education.

In an interview with this newspaper last year, when he was director of the New Schools Network, a group that helps to set up free schools, he said: “I don’t believe in limiting the number of good schools. "I do believe in the diversity of the system and choice for parents, and I don’t see why selection couldn’t be a part of that choice.”

Opponents of academic selection, who include many MPs on the Left, say it stigmatises children by categorising them as failures at a young age if they do not pass the 11-plus exam.


Australia: Education does not lead to violence
 Jennifer Buckingham 

A lot of people who have never been to Aurukun have opinions about its problems; some have even confidently pronounced a link between the long-term and deep-seated social dysfunction in the town and the Direct Instruction teaching program used in the Cape York Academy in Aurukun for the last five years.

I haven't been to Aurukun, so I am not going to opine on what is happening there. However, it is important to correct some of the misinformation about Direct Instruction. A number of terms are used interchangeably which have some features in common but are substantially different.

Direct Instruction (spelt with capital letters) is a set of copyrighted commercial programs developed in the USA. They consist of carefully planned and sequenced lessons and assessments that are designed to be used by teachers without deviation. Both the content and the instruction are prescribed. DI programs have been evaluated and refined for almost fifty years and are consistently found to be very effective. Many schools around Australia use DI programs such as Reading Mastery and Spelling Mastery.

The other direct instruction (spelt with lower case letters) is a research-based instructional approach that can be used by any teacher in any lesson. The key principles are: revision of previous learning; presentation of new information in small steps with immediate practice; frequent interaction with students to check for understanding; explicit modelling of skills; gradual movement to independent practice; and cumulative review and assessment to achieve long-term retention. Studies of direct instruction strategies show stronger effects than 'inquiry' or 'discovery' approaches.

Similarly, explicit instruction or explicit teaching is essentially similar to direct instruction. It is a general pedagogical approach in which lessons are structured and sequenced to give students a high degree of support and guidance initially and to minimise gaps in knowledge, progressing to independent application. Reviews of high performing schools find explicit instruction to be a common factor.

Explicit Direct Instruction is a specific curriculum and teaching program developed in Australia for use in Australian schools. It is based on the principles of direct instruction and has similarities to Direct Instruction but allows for more teacher discretion. EDI is based on sound research but has not been evaluated to the same extent as DI.

 Despite their strong research basis and an undeniable track record of success, these teaching methods and programs are frequently maligned by education academics and teachers. To reject the evidence of their efficacy is bad enough, but the idea that they lead to violence is patently ridiculous.


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