Sunday, June 18, 2017

That "rape epidemic" on campus again

Former college co-ed, 19, who falsely accused two football players of rape at a party to get sympathy from a prospective boyfriend faces TWO YEARS in jail in plea deal

A former Connecticut college student charged with lying about being raped by two Sacred Heart University football players has been offered a plea deal that could see her jailed for two years.

Nikki Yovino, of South Setauket, New York, was described as looking visibly shaken in Bridgeport Superior Court on Thursday when her defense attorney told her about the prosecutors' offer.

In February, then-18-year-old Yovino was charged with falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating evidence.

Police alleged Yovino made up the rape story last October to gain the sympathy of a prospective boyfriend because she worried he would lose romantic interest in her when it became known she had sex with two football players in a bathroom during an off-campus party.

The players told police they had consensual sex with Yovino and were eventually cleared in the case.

Facing a disciplinary hearing stemming from Yovino's allegations, the football players chose to drop out of Scared Heart to avoid a potential expulsion, reported the Connecticut Post.

During Thursday's hearing, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Craig Nowak told the judge he was offering Yovino a plea deal under which she will spend two years behind bars, followed by three years’ probation.

Judge Earl Richards called the offer 'a good one considering the serious allegations' before scheduling the next hearing for June 26.

Attorney Agustin Sevillano, who has been representing the football players, told The Post it has been 'a nightmare for them'.

Yovino told police in October that she attended a football club party at Lakeside Drive in Bridgeport where she was allegedly pulled into a restroom by the two men who took turns raping her.

'I don’t want to be in here, I don’t want to do anything. My friends are waiting for me outside, let me go outside,' police said she told them.

The two athletes maintained they did, in fact, have sex with Yovino, but said the act was consensual.

Other students who were at the party later confirmed to police that Yovino was seen following the two men into the bathroom willingly.

Another witness said he overheard Yovino telling the men she wanted to have sex with them, according to an affidavit.

When pressed by police about the inconsistences in her story, Yovino allegedly confessed, saying she had made up the rape allegations.

The affidavit stated: 'She admitted that she made up the allegation of sexual assault against (the football players) because it was the first thing that came to mind and she didn’t want to lose (another male student) as a friend and potential boyfriend.

'She stated that she believed when (the other male student) heard the allegation it would make him angry and sympathetic to her.'

Nikki Yovino has been out on $50,000 bond since February.


UK: The real sexism on campus

Another day, another patronising campus initiative. This time, Oxford University has announced it will allow history students to sit one of their five exams at home, in a bid to close the gap between the 37 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women obtaining first-class degrees.

This plan has been decried as sexist. And rightly so. The idea that women’s grades will be boosted by letting them sit some exams at home is deeply insulting. But it is only one of many patronising ideas that have been cooked up in recent years to make women feel more comfortable on campus.

From women-only Safe Spaces to consent classes to enforcing gender-neutral language, various campus initiatives promote the idea that female students are in need of constant support. Oxford is only taking this trend to its logical conclusion – softening up standards to accommodate supposedly feeble women.

In any case, there is no need to obsess over the small percentage difference between men and women’s achievements at university. Girls outperform boys at GCSE and A-Level. More women than men now go to university. And while women lag behind in some subjects, they’re way ahead in others. If you’re bright enough to be studying history at one of the world’s most renowned universities, you have already achieved something great.

The idea that women need extra help to obtain first-class degrees is positively Victorian. Women have never had it so good in terms of education, and we should be celebrating that.


Australia: There are better ways to teach phonics
Leading Adelaide educator Jenny Allen believes that while a renewed focus on phonics is welcome, the way in which schools teach reading needs to be reformed.

The federal government’s plan to introduce literacy tests for all Australian pupils in Year 1 will not improve children’s reading skills unless accompanied by a more systematic approach to the use of phonics, according to one of Adelaide’s most experienced educators.

Jenny Allen, who is Director of REM+ Tuition in Tranmere and has taught hundreds of children and students with dyslexia to read, believes that the tests will not lift the standard of reading of children in Year 1 unless the resulting data is used to transform the way phonics is taught in schools.

“Phonics programmes in schools go too fast for many children, and there isn’t sufficient assessment along the way,” said Jenny Allen, “and this means that children who get behind end up being overwhelmed and fail to progress. Too often school reading boxes ignore phonics hierarchy, which means that young children are being asked to read words like ‘swimming’ before they’re confident at reading ‘cat’.

“Although the government’s plan for a nationwide Year 1 literacy assessment is a step in the right direction, this needs to be backed up by a complete change to the current approach of schools to teaching phonics.”

The plan to introduce assessments of children’s literacy and numeracy skills in Year 1 was announced in January by Education Minister Simon Birmingham, and the tests are expected to be accompanied by a renewed emphasis on teaching phonics. However, this will only prove beneficial if the current approach undergoes a significant overhaul.

“The way children are being taught to read in schools is not effective,” said Jenny Allen, “and changes to the system are needed if these new assessments are to be meaningful and produce positive outcomes.

“What will be done to help the students whose performance is judged to be below the required standard? When children are found not to be able to decode basic phonetic words in Year 1, what measures will be put in place to assess their working memory, for instance, or their auditory processing ability?

“Unless teaching takes into account that a young person’s brain needs to be taught to read, and that it doesn’t happen simply by osmosis, we will continue to find that too many Year 1 students don't have basic phonetic decoding skills. However, the current approach to teaching phonics does not allow them sufficient time or the appropriate support to catch up, and so it is hard to see how tests alone will change this.”

Jenny Allen runs specialist programmes for pre-school and dyslexic children, and has successfully used phonics to teach children in Adelaide how to read for more than sixteen years.

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