College President Gives Insanely Sexist Speech

by Kat George

Misogyny is alive and well! For male apologists and anti-feminists who think gender bias is a phantasm, here's living, breathing proof that sexism exists and that it's deeply institutionalized. As is racism, but unfortunately there's slightly less debate about whether that exists because, I mean, come on. And sometimes, not as rarely as one might hope, we get to see both. Example: Lincoln University Pres. Robert R. Jennings got up in a room full of students in September of this year and went on an offensively sexist and racist tirade, based largely on victim blaming. Oh, and I should mention that the lecture was for "women only". The video begins with him stating "men treat you — treat women — the way women allow us to treat them.” Ugh. So we're off to a good start.

The next line in the 4-minute speech is "[Men] will use [women] up, if you allow us to use you up." He goes on to trot out the tired virgin vs. whore dichotomy, describing the sort of women mean marry as respectable. He suggests that all black men cheat on women. And guess why he says men do these sort of things? Because women allow it. They ASK for it. But the most spew worthy part of this whole thing is when he goes on a rant about three cases of rape on campus, the reporting of which threatened to destroy the lives of the rapists. Because there's no greater horror in this world than a male rapist having to deal with the consequences of his actions. Jennings says:

"[We] had on this campus last semester three cases of young women, who after having done whatever they did with the young men, and then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They then went to Public Safety and said, “He raped me.” So then we have to do an investigation. We have to start pulling back the layers and asking all kinds of questions. And when we start trying to collect the data and ask the questions — and why do we do that? Because we know that possibly somebody’s life is getting ready to change for the rest of their life. Because there’s no more serious accusation. I don’t care how close they are to finishing the degree, their whole life changes overnight. Because they’re going to get a record. And that record is then going to follow them the rest of their life. They’re going to be expelled from the university. It’s going to be very difficult for them to get into anybody else’s university, because they have to explain at the receiving institution, why they were expelled from the institution they were expelled from."

You know whose life is going to change forever? The rape survivor. And unlike the rapist, she was given NOT CHOICE in her rape. It kinda feels like we shouldn't have to keep explaining these painfully basic dynamics. The point of the justice system is to decide whether or not someone did a crime and then punish them accordingly for it. The Good Professor's statements perpetuate the notion that male integrity is more important than female autonomy. It's an insipid idea in American society that co-opts a "boys will be boys" mentality and uses it to not only objectify female experience but to perpetuate the idea of the woman as male property. Last time I checked, "boys will be boys" is something you say when dudes cross swords while peeing, or belly flop into pools. Rape is not a "boys will be boys" action. Rape is a crime. Bad luck for your career, education, etc. if you did a crime, minimizing the victim's experience because she is a woman and suffered a sexual crime is so antiquated I can barely wrap my head around the fact that this clown is allowed to be the president of a college.

Many Lincoln parents and university officials are allegedly, and rightly, pissed off, calling Jennings' speech "frightening". Rev. James Thomas, whose son is a Junior at Lincoln, said "There had to have been at least one young lady in that room who had been the victim of sexual assault who had not reported it and there was nothing that was said by the president that would have given any comfort.” I'm glad that people are as enraged by this as I am. Obviously we know there are backwards, sexist views out there, but allowing them to be broadcast in educational facilities is just sickening. Jennings hasn't apologized during the backlash, only saying “No one would ever discourage a young woman on this campus from reporting a sexual assault, in fact, I emphasize to them how serious that allegation is and that the university takes it very seriously and so does the federal government and so does the court,” which seems to continue the threatening, silencing, victim-blaming narrative of the speech.

You can watch the entire abomination below. Someone please fire this guy.

Image: Getty Images