Reader: When reading this, please understand we acknowledge there are actual sexual conduct violations happening on college campuses every year. This article deals with those situations where the definition of “consensual” becomes hazy after a night of drinking, partying and unplanned sex.
Too many times, over the years, we have been contacted by students or their families regarding allegations of sexual misconduct on or around Ohio State and other Ohio college campuses.
The most common factor in these stories seems to be a chance encounter, physical chemistry mixed with a bit of alcohol and followed by consensual sex.
The problems arise shortly after coitus or the next morning when one of the two parties either leaves right away or is not there when the other party wakes up. When one party leaves the other, there may be some hurt feelings, misunderstandings or even more common, feelings of spite that arise.
Random sex is a very common event on any college campus. What was true 20, 30, 40, even 50 years ago, is still true today. Kids go to school, not only to gain knowledge of subjects they are interested in, but also to learn about themselves; to become adults; and in some cases, just to “get laid”.
When it comes to random sex on campus, there are two rules in the game: 1) Do NOT have sex with someone who has been drinking or engaging in drug use; and 2) Remorse is NOT rape.
The first rule is pretty self-explanatory, though young people’s hormones do get the better of them and sex happens.
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The second rule is a bit more complicated, though still pretty simple. Let’s walk through a scenario we ran into this past school year: A college freshman, Bradley, was hanging out in his dorm room. One of the female residents on his floor came to his room and asked to hang out with him and one of his roommates. They had seen this girl before, but neither knew her very well. Being polite, they allowed her to stay. The dorm room door was open and floor rules were followed except one: neither Bradley nor the girl were of drinking age and both were drinking that night.
One thing led to another and the two had sex. After coitus, Bradley, having an early class the next morning, asked the girl to leave his room so he could sleep. She left the room without a protest or problem.
The next day, after his classes, Bradley returned to his room. There, he found a note from his RA asking him for a meeting. At this meeting, he was informed he would need to move out of his present dorm as the girl filed a complaint alleging the sex they had engaged in was not consensual. A report had been made to the campus police, as well, alleging rape.
Without hearing his side of the story, the university staff decided to move him out “as a precautionary measure”.
We were contacted the same day. We met with Bradley, heard his story and got on board. We interviewed roommates, floor residents, anyone we could find who could shed some light onto the evening’s events.
Student Conduct got involved. A hearing was set and Bradley had to fight for his collegiate life.
As it turned out, the girl was angry at Bradley for not allowing her to spend the night and “cheapening” the sexual experience. As it turned out, the girl had a boyfriend “back home” and felt guilty about stepping outside that relationship.
Bradley won his Student Conduct hearing, but was still forced to move during a Finals week, impacting his grades. Was this punishment worth the sex?
Common university “consensual sex guidelines” are so unrealistic, there should be no one having sex on campus. Closer to the truth, most sexual encounters, though consensual between adults, would be deemed violations based upon the wording of the university guidelines.
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“Do NOT have sex with a person who has consumed alcohol or engaged in drug use” and “Remorse is NOT rape” are very simple, yet solid rules to live by, but we also know the human condition of 18-22 year old college kids and until university officials clarify the current ambiguousness in their “sexual conduct guidelines” we know our phones will not stop ringing with other kids on the line facing serious charges.