Last week, University of Virginia student Madeleine Conger pointed me to some bizarre language the university has been employing to tip-toe around the word “rape”in its student safety e-mails. “Our Chief Student Affairs Officer, Pat Lampkin, sends us these handy safety reminders before major binge drinking holidays—-Halloween, Spring break, fraternity bid night,” Conger writes. “This time it’s Foxfield—-an annual horse race in the area that students use as a day to get devastatingly drunk in an open field. It’s also the site of some of the infamous Tucker Max’s sexual exploits.”
Let’s see how Lampkin warns UVA students of the danger of a drunken a horse race:
If you are intoxicated, your impaired judgment places you at a much greater risk for the following: injuries; sexual activity that is later regretted or deemed to have lacked consent; or a police citation. Plan not to drink or set a drink limit for yourself and stick to it.
Tell us what you really mean, UVA. Observe the entirely passive nature of this “sexual activity that is later regretted or deemed to have lacked consent.” Sexual activity can be “regretted” by someone, but only “later.” Similarly, non-consensual sexual activity isn’t something that actually occurs when the “sex” happens—-but it can be later “deemed” that way. Here, responsibility is administered evenly to both sexual partners—-the one who “regrets” it, and the one who is accused of rape because of it.
At best, it seems that Lampkin is warning students against having bad sex and inspiring false rape accusations—-an odd set of priorities for a campus security expert to focus on, no? I have an e-mail out to Lampkin, asking if what she really meant to warn students of was “rape.” I’ll update you when I hear back.
Photo via Tambako the Jaguar, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0