There is a major storm brewing in UM athletics. Here’s a good summary of the events that precipitated the troubles. It gives both sides.
According to police reports and the student’s testimony, the student, who is part of the gameday operations at TCF Bank Stadium, drank five to six shots of vodka on the night of Sept. 1 before heading out of her apartment with her roommates toward Dinkytown.
She then went with two football players to the Radius, an off-campus apartment building. Though she said her memory was spotty, she recalled Djam in a common area asking her to go up to his apartment. She would later testify that she had no intention of having sex.
She said she felt panicked when Djam walked her into his bedroom, but later testified that he never pushed her, prevented her from leaving or said anything threatening to her.
Asked during a court hearing why she didn’t leave, she said, “I felt scared, trapped, isolated with someone I felt had power over me.”
At some point, they began having sex. The police report said “she doesn’t have a recall about how the sex acts started.”
After Djam, others followed. She told police she saw a line of men waiting to take turns.
“I was removing myself from my mind and my body to help myself from the pain and experience going on,” she testified.
She estimated there were at least a dozen men. “I was shoving people off of me,” she testified. “They kept ignoring my pleas for help. Anything I said they laughed. They tried to cheer people on.”
About an hour and a half later, she said, she was allowed to leave. She called her sister, who told her to go to the hospital immediately, where she was given a rape exam, while her mother made a report to Minneapolis police. The next day, an officer sat down with the student, who described her version of what happened.
On Sept. 8, police investigators Eric Faulconer and Matthew Wente interviewed Djam. He acknowledged having sex with the woman, but was adamant that it was consensual. As proof, he played them three separate videos, totaling about 90 seconds, taken that morning.
During an 8-second clip, the woman “appears lucid, alert, somewhat playful and fully conscious; she does not appear to be objecting to anything at this time,” Wente wrote in his report. After viewing two additional videos, he wrote “the sexual contact appears entirely consensual.”
Police later interviewed four other players, who each said the sex was consensual.
We have an inebriated woman (that many vodka shots will get most women seriously drunk).
The woman says she was not interested in sex. The man says it was consensual. First point: It wasn’t. She was drunk.
This purportedly consensual encounter turned into a parade of football players lining up to have sex with the drunk woman. She says she was afraid and wasa shoving them away. He says it was consensual. Second point: outside of porn, women don’t generally agree to gang bangs. It is unrealistic to claim she agreed to that kind of unpleasant demonstration of male domination.
The next morning, she calls her sister for help, and she, her sister, and her mother go to a hospital, get a rape exam, and report the event to the police. He says she was playful and happy. These descriptions don’t line up at all well. Unless you take into account that the woman was surrounded by football players twice her size and would do anything to get away.
Remarkably, two policemen interview the accused rapist and completely accept his account that the rape was entirely consensual. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. If I were mugged by 10 big burly guys, and I reported it to the police, and they talked with the lead mugger who said, “yeah, that all happened, but it was consensual, and look, I even took a video of him playfully strolling away,” I wouldn’t expect the police to high five the guy and declare that his story checked out. But apparently I’m not obviously a slut who walks around begging for his wallet to be stolen, you know?
The police may have been ineffectual and basically colluded with the accused, but the university made a strong response, sorta. The office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action recommend that 5 of the players be outright expelled, and the others recieve one year suspensions; the university decided instead to suspend all 10 indefinitely from the football team, which isn’t much, but at least it’s something, and the woman has announced that she is satisfied.
Our privileged football players are not pleased, however, and have announced a general boycott.
After refusing to practice Thursday, Gophers players donned their maroon game jerseys and announced that they are boycotting all football activities — even their Dec. 27 bowl game, if need be — in protest of the University of Minnesota’s decision to suspend 10 teammates as a result of a September sexual assault allegation.
Those 10 suspended players stood directly behind seniors Drew Wolitarsky, Mitch Leidner and Duke Anyanwu — with the rest of the team arrayed behind them in support — as Wolitarsky read from a typed, two-page statement, laying out the players’ demands.
“The boycott will remain in effect until due process is followed and the suspensions for all 10 players involved are lifted,” Wolitarsky said.
Wolitarsky said the players want an apology from university President Eric Kaler and athletic director Mark Coyle, adding that the players “demand that these leaders are held accountable for their actions.”
But don’t hold the accused rapists accountable? That’s bizarre, to engage in a demonstration in the name of accountability by demanding that they don’t have to be held accountable for anything.
All I can say is good: no football scholarships for any of them, and if they miss some games, that’s sad for them, but has no effect at all on the primary responsibilities of the university — this is supposed to be an institute of higher education, not a football franchise, and I’d rather it be a place where our women students feel safe rather than one where big strong men get to do whatever they please. Someone needs to learn a little responsibility.
Especially since they’re complaining about getting punished very lightly for a serious offense.