Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In loco parentis

Colleges used to be expected to act in loco parentis, that is "in place of the parent" with respect to the students on that campus, most of them away from direct parental supervision for the first time. Most of that went away in the '60s at about the same time the age of majority came down (along with the drinking age). In "Neo-Victorianism on Campus" Heather MacDonald contends that similar adult supervision is returning in the form of elaborate codes of sexual behavior. And, she argues, that is not a bad thing.
.... To be sure, the new campus sex regime puts boys in danger of trumped-up assault charges heard before kangaroo courts. But the solution is not more complex procedural protections cobbled over a sordid culture, the solution is to reject that culture entirely. Just as girls can avoid the risk of what the feminists call “rape” by not getting drunk and getting into bed with a guy whom they barely know, boys, too, can radically reduce the risk of a rape accusation by themselves not getting drunk and having sex with a girl whom they barely know. Mothers worried that their college-bound sons will be hauled before a biased campus sex tribunal by a vindictive female should tell them: “Wait. Find a girlfriend and smother her with affection and respect. Write her love letters in the middle of the night. Escort her home after a date and then go home yourself.” If one-sided litigation risk results in boys taking a vow of celibacy until graduation, there is simply no loss whatsoever to society and only gain to individual character. Such efforts at self-control were made before, and can be made again.

Unlike the overregulation of natural gas production, say, which results in less of a valuable commodity, there is no cost to an overregulation-induced decrease in campus sex. Society has no interest in preserving the collegiate bacchanal. .... [more]