Earlier this week, students at American University vandalized copies of The Eagle, its main student newspaper, over a column by student Alex Knepper in which he calls date rape “an incoherent concept.” Anonymous students littered hallways with Eagle copies taken out of their stands and hung a sign that read “NO ROOM FOR RAPE APOLOGISTS.”
In the column, Knepper explains that feminists are sucking all the passion out of sex by pushing for “a bedroom scene in which two amorphous, gender-neutral blobs ask each other ‘Is this OK with you?’ before daring to move their lips any lower on the other’s body.” He continues:
“For my pro-sex views, I am variously called a misogynist, a rape apologist and — my personal favorite — a “pro-date rape protofascist.”
Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.
“Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex — especially anonymous sex — can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!”
Knepper also expounded on how feminists want to ban “gendered thrills” like cross-dressing. In the comments section below his column, Knepper wrote that the article had gone through five rounds of edits to remove “remove remarks deemed too inflammatory” before it went to print.
AU student K. Travis Ballie, a feminist and LGBT activist, told Amanda Hess of the Washington City Paper section The Sexist that the vandalism, which included copies flung at the door of the AU Eagle‘s office, is unsurprising given similar Eagle pieces that had appeared and inflamed campus tempers recently.
“The Eagle has repeatedly refused for months to show adequate sensitivity, compassion, and common decency to the well-being of rape survivors on campus and is complicit in promoting a rape culture where survivors are blamed for the crimes of sexual assault perpetrators,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Hess also spoke to Knepper, who told her that he stands by his column. “There is no room for rape apologists on campus. If I see any, I’ll be sure to rebuke them,” he wrote to her in an e-mail.
Knepper’s column ran just as University officials are considering refining their sexual assault policy to include more specific language and differentiate between different forms of sexual assault on a student’s disciplinary record.
On Wednesday, Eagle editors wrote that they were not sorry for publishing controversial opinions, but felt that they “should have demanded that Knepper’s column be written in a tone befitting such a serious issue.” American University’s Vice President for Campus Life Gail Short Hanson and Provost Scott Bass also responded to the uproar with a letter that condemned rape while at the same time affirmed its commitment to freedom of expression. In a
Knepper’s column won’t shock you if you’re familiar with the quality of a typical piece in the Eagle. If you’re not, a 2008 story WCP ran about college newspapers in the District provides the proper amount of context:
“Hatred of a college paper usually drips from the sour grapes of bitter activists upset by the latest op-ed. But the Eagle arouses a unique, more wholesome kind of hatred. Among its critics are most former employees and several detached observers with no discernible ax to grind. Also faculty. One writing professor joked that his colleagues spend their end-of-semester party opening a random issue and doing shots for each grammatical error.
Says a critic: “Nearly every article they produce, on subjects of whatever topic, have the same ‘man on the street’ quote from the same group of five or 10 people, who are obviously just friends of the reporters and have no connection whatever to the event.” In some cases the paper even quotes its own opinion columnists as sources.
Lack of reporting initiative and editorial efficiency at the paper have led to a reputation for bureacratic inefficiency. Rival papers either condemn the Eagle or ignore it.”
So there you have it. If Knepper’s words have you seething, take comfort in the fact that the paper which chose to run it in its current incarnation really, really sucks.
Via The Sexist