Thursday, January 25, 2018


In the post-mortem of the Larry Nassar trial, one thing that strikes me is that 14 people are said to have made one sort of report or another at MSU, but until 2016, all of those reports got bottled up in the Title IX reporting process.  As far as can be told, the reports by the victims were "balanced" by the affirmations of coaches and other peers of Nassar, a classic example of "circling the wagons". 

How to fix this?  Of course no reporting structure will be perfect, but it strikes me that the kind of abuse Nassar was committing might leave signs that would be detectable in a standard police "rape kit", especially a doctor's exam.  This case suggests that it might be time to end, or at least heavily modify, Title IX reporting requirements which allow colleges and universities to do the investigation in-house, even when the accusations are of a criminal nature.  In the Nassar case, it's arguable that the university investigation extended the abuse simply because MSU's investigation could never find physical evidence, nor could it separate the evidence from personal attachments.

Now one might say "well, this is just one case", but sadly, there are a litany of Title IX abuses where accused students have been cleared by the police, but where universities did disciplinary actions in cases of clearly consensual behavior.  So for any number of reasons, it's long past time to reform, or end, Title IX.

No comments: