When the Associated Press Collegiate Sexual Assault Standings were published earlier this week, at least one person was not surprised to see San Diego State holding steady at number one: Chad Manhand, chief sexual assault analyst for ESPN.com. But he knows the pick was not without controversy.
"Of course, there are going to be some grumblings from the East Coast. November's University of Virginia rape story was more spectacular than anything this year at SDSU, no doubt about it. For one thing, it was featured in Rolling Stone, a national print publication. For another, it was a gang-rape: six dudes plus a beer bottle. Nasty in the extreme. For still another, it sounds like it was some kind of rite of initiation for Phi Kappa Psi, the frat where it [allegedly] happened. When rape becomes traditional, that's some intense shit. It's no surprise it grabbed headlines nationwide, and it's understandable why people expected UVA to be ranked #1 in light of it.
"But the AP poll has to take multiple factors into account; it can't just go with what school's got the most notoriety at a given moment. That's more of a television news thing. And if you look at these rape stories with a dispassionate eye, you'll find that SDSU is just rapier than UVA. Consider: the UVA story is fresh, but the rape at the heart of the narrative happened two years ago. San Diego State has had seven sexual assaults this semester. And those are just the ones that made the police blotter. And lots of schools can point to a generalized rape culture, but no other university in the country can lay claim to a Take Back the Night counterprotest where dudes waved dildos at the anti-assault protestors. It takes brass balls to wave a rubber dong at angry ladyparts. Add it all up, and the choice is clear: SDSU is numero uno."
But if SDSU President Eliot Hirshman has anything to say about it, the school's reign of rape will soon come to an end. For Hirshman, it's not enough that the school's InterFraternity Council suspended frat parties and social functions following the counterprotest. "UVA suspended its frats, too," he explains. "But UVA is only number two. We're the champions, and champions dig deep and go the extra mile."
See the SDQT Gallery for four of Hirshman's rape reduction proposals.