Fordham University has launched an investigation into one of its Title IX coordinators after he screened a Prager University educational video that called into doubt the controversial “1-in-5” campus rape statistic.
Dean of Students and deputy Title IX coordinator Christopher Rodgers is under university investigation after the video he played before a sexual assault training session reportedly left a number of resident assistants in tears.
The educational video from Prager University disputes the popular, but questionable statistic that claims one in every five women who attend college in the United States is raped or sexually assaulted on campus.
The video explains that the controversial statistic was based on a study based on anonymous online resources from 5,000 women at two universities, none of whose claims were verified.
Based on their responses, the authors and not the participants defined that 1,000 of those women had been victims of some manner of “non-consensual or unwanted sexual contact,” prompting sensationalist claims of a thriving “rape culture” and “campus rape epidemic” on campuses across the United States.
Contrary to the popular statistic, more comprehensive data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that only 1 in 52.6 college women are victims of rape and sexual assault over a period of four years.
Rodgers reportedly showed the five-minute video disputing the claim after playing a documentary called “The Hunting Ground.” A statement from Rowan Hornbeck, an RA at Fordham, claims that the movie was “his example of the agenda of the political left,” adding that students left the room because of how he highlighted the documentary’s progressive left bias.
The documentary’s critics include writer Emily Yoffe and several Harvard Law School professors who challenged the accuracy of the documentary. The Harvard Crimson criticized it for misrepresenting sexual assault statistics and called into question many details represented in the film, charging that the film’s creators even included excerpts from a fake video intended as a prank.
Hornbeck said that many more RAs left the room in tears following the video, one of whom said that it was “upsetting for people who are victims of sexual assault because it blatantly said that campus assault ‘isn’t as big of a problem as it’s made out to be.’”
“Given the seriousness of the issues involved, the University has begun an investigation into the training session and Dean Rodgers’ comments therein,” a Fordham University statement from August 26 reads.
Responding do these complaints, PragerU Communications Director Jared Sichel told The College Fix Tuesday that “given the current climate on so many campuses, we’re not shocked that a calm, rational video, based entirely on logic and statistics caused a number of RA s to break down into tears, as many news reports described.”
He added that it was “disturbing” that Rodgers was being investigated for showing the video simply because it wasn’t in “lockstep with the narrative of Fordham’s administrators.”
Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.