Friday, April 3, 2015

Boo Hoos at BU

David Carr celebrated at BU by friends and admirers

I'm not saying it was CIA, but his death was sure driven off the radar. 

Another suspicious suicide:

"Campus mourns BU grad student; May have fallen off bridge onto river, officials say" by Matt Rocheleau, Globe Correspondent  February 23, 2015

Boston University is mourning the death of a graduate student whose body was found over the weekend on the frozen Charles River beneath the BU Bridge, campus officials and authorities said.

Daryl Carr, 30, was studying for a doctorate in sociology and was working as a teaching fellow, the university said Monday on its news website, BU Today.

Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, told the Globe that shortly after midnight on Saturday investigators found Carr’s body on ice atop the Charles River about 60 feet from the riverbank.

There were no footprints in the area, which suggested that Carr had fallen from the bridge above, Wark said. He said the evidence at the scene does not suggest foul play and the case is not being treated as a homicide.

A passerby spotted Carr’s body and alerted authorities.

Carr’s mother, Brenda, described her son as “a loving and kind and gentle man.”

“He was very gifted and very humble, always thinking about things and analyzing things,” she told BU Today.

Carr was scheduled to finish his doctorate studies in 2017.

He had earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Roger Williams University in 2007. According to BU officials, he then spent two years teaching English in Jordan as a Peace Corps volunteer. Two years ago, he earned a master’s in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin. 

I'm suspecting now he was a spy or CIA asset. So what did he see that he shouldn't have?

Carr wanted to better understand social problems in the Middle East so he could find ways to help the region’s struggle for social justice, according to BU sociology professor Julian Go, who was Carr’s adviser.

“He met this task with determination and commitment, and always impressed me with his sincere scholarly curiosity and his ability to master complicated theories and methods,” Go told BU Today. “He was a true pleasure to have in class and to work with. He always brought unique insights to the table, whether in the seminar room, the department hallways, or at the BU Pub.

“But perhaps more importantly, he also brought his kindness, generosity, and humor,” added Go. “His smile was infectious. We will miss him.”


Two Carrs killed? 

Must be the frats:

"BU suspends fraternity for demeaning women, sponsoring ‘blackout party’" by Matt Rocheleau, Globe Correspondent  February 26, 2015

Boston University announced Thursday it had suspended a fraternity for its alleged involvement in promoting a party using misogynistic and sexually suggestive photos and videos.

The Kappa Sigma fraternity also allegedly used the university’s name in marketing the event without authorization.

The “blackout” party, which was scheduled for Dec. 10 at Royale nightclub in downtown Boston but eventually canceled, was cosponsored by the fraternity and an outside event planning group called Blackout University, officials said.

Online promotional materials for the party included a link to a website with pictures and video of “a culture of abusive behavior that openly celebrates verbal sexual coercion, belittling women, grabbing, groping, forced kissing, and the badgering of women for sex,” John Battaglino, assistant dean of students, wrote to the fraternity’s leadership in a Feb. 6 letter.

Dean of students Kenneth Elmore said when BU learned of how the party was being marketed, administrators contacted the fraternity, prompting the student group to remove the promotional content.

The nightclub told university news website BU Today that the party never took place.

Nationally, fraternities have faced heightened scrutiny amid a drumbeat of reports of sexual violence, hazing, and dangerous, even deadly, partying.

Seems to come with elitism.

In the past two years, BU has suspended several Greek organizations and some members of the groups over reported misconduct. They included two incidents of fraternity hazing, one of which prompted criminal charges and led to the chapter shuttering; and a case in spring 2013 where a student died from apparently accidental alcohol poisoning after he allegedly attended a fraternity party.

Fraternities on many campuses, including BU, have vowed to take steps to curb the destructive behavior.

Battaglino wrote “ ‘blackout parties’ have become associated with a social sanctioning that it is OK to take advantage of intoxicated women.”

He said the national fraternity and its BU chapter should “develop a method to reexamine your own behavior as members of an all-male organization within a culture of violence that often regards sexual assault as acceptable behavior or as ‘just sex.’ ”

Battaglino’s Feb. 6 letter notified the fraternity that BU was withdrawing its recognition, meaning the chapter can no longer recruit members, sponsor events, or use campus facilities. The chapter can ask the university to reconsider its unrecognized status on or after July 9, according to BU Today.

BU officials declined to say whether any individual students were disciplined.

Battaglino’s letter said the fraternity’s president had written a heartfelt apology to the dean of students.

In light of the recent incident, Kappa Sigma president Nicholas Supple, a BU junior, told the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper, that “while being suspended from campus is never a good thing, we’re confident that we will be able to find common ground with the school, and we welcome this opportunity to strengthen our chapter internally and our working relationship with the community.”

Derald Dryman, a national Kappa Sigma spokesman, said in an e-mail the party “was not a Kappa Sigma function — it was planned and funded . . . by an outside organization.



"Brown University says an unidentified laboratory performed an inaccurate test to determine whether a female student was drugged at a fraternity party on campus. The Providence Journal reported that the lab initially reported a urine sample taken from the student tested positive for GHB, a central nervous system depressant referred to as a ‘‘date rape’’ drug. But university administrators said in an open letter that the laboratory recanted its findings after outside medical experts challenged the results. The university has dropped its inquiry into drugging allegations by two female students who attended a party by Phi Kappa Psi last Oct. 17."

You know what might stop all that?

"Allow guns on campus, advocates say, to deter rape" by Alan Schwarz, New York Times  February 19, 2015

Really puts the women's rights feminists in a bind on gun control.

NEW YORK — As gun-rights advocates push to legalize firearms on college campuses, a new contention is taking shape: Arming female students will help reduce sexual assaults.

Support for so-called campus-carry laws had been hard to muster despite the efforts of proponents saying that armed students and faculty members could prevent mass shootings like the one at Virginia Tech in 2007. The carrying of concealed firearms on college campuses is banned in 41 states by law or by school policy. Carrying guns openly is usually not permitted.

But this year, lawmakers in 10 states who are pushing bills that would permit the carrying of firearms on campus are hoping that the national spotlight on sexual assault will help them win passage of their measures.

During debate in a House subcommittee in Florida last month, Republican state Representative Dennis K. Baxley said, “If you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible.” The bill passed.

The sponsor of a bill in Nevada, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, said in a telephone interview, “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”

In addition to those in Florida and Nevada, bills that would allow guns on campus have been introduced in Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

Opponents contend college campuses should remain havens from the gun-related risks that exist elsewhere, and college students, with high rates of binge drinking and other recklessness, would be particularly prone to gun accidents.

Some experts in sexual assault said that college women were typically assaulted by someone they knew, sometimes a friend, so even if they had access to their gun, they would rarely be tempted to use it.

“It reflects a misunderstanding of sexual assaults in general,” said John D. Foubert, an Oklahoma State University professor and national president of One in Four, which provides educational programs on sexual assault to college campuses. “If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun,” he said. “Maybe if it’s someone who raped you before and is coming back, it theoretically could help them feel more secure.”

The victim's fault?

Other critics of the bills say that advocates of the campus-carry laws, predominantly Republicans with well-established progun stances, are merely exploiting a hot-button issue.

“The gun lobby has seized on this . . . subject of sexual assault,” said Andy Pelosi, executive director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus. “It resonates with lawmakers.”

Colorado, Wisconsin, and seven other states allow people with legal carry permits to take concealed firearms to campus, some with restrictions. Many of those states once had bans but lifted them in recent years.

Some surveys have estimated that a vast majority of college presidents and faculty members oppose allowing firearms on campus.


At least there wouldn't be any he said/she said:

"Pennsylvania professors decry policy on sex assault" by Natalie Kitroeff and Laura Colby, Bloomberg News  February 20, 2015

NEW YORK — Sixteen law professors at the University of Pennsylvania have signed a letter that attacks the school’s new sexual assault policies.

The letter, dated Wednesday, says Penn’s procedures are unfair to students accused of sexual violence, who may be subject to ‘‘serious, life-changing sanctions’’ without getting a real chance to defend themselves.

Penn put new rules in place for handling cases of sexual violence on Feb. 1 in response to the Department of Education’s 2011 guidelines urging colleges to impose more rigorous standards for dealing with claims of sexual violence.

They are not the first faculty members to formally condemn an institution’s efforts to incorporate the new norms: In October, 28 Harvard Law professors issued a similarly harsh critique of that university’s revised approach to sexual assault.

‘‘We do not believe that providing justice for victims of sexual assault requires subordinating so many protections long deemed necessary to protect from injustice those accused of serious offenses,’’ said the more recent letter.

‘‘We developed a process that we believe to be fair and balanced,’’ said Ron Ozio, the director of media relations at Penn, in e-mailed comments. He said the university had consulted with law school faculty members in developing the new process.

The university’s new procedures include hiring a former prosecutor to investigate claims and empowering a panel of three faculty members to interview the people involved and decide whether to mete out punishment, based on a majority vote.

Penn is setting a worryingly low bar for determining guilt when sexual misconduct is alleged, the letter said. The investigators and the panel will follow a ‘‘preponderance of evidence’’ standard, which means that they would have to find a student guilty if they were more than 50 percent sure that an assault occurred.

The professors note that this means someone could be found guilty, even if the panel was nearly 50 percent sure he or she was innocent.



Man accused of raping UMass student says sex was consensual

The new panic: campus sex assaults

Just don't call her a slut.

"BC graduate says school mishandled sex-assault case" by Laura Krantz, Globe Staff  March 13, 2015

A Boston College graduate accused of sexual assault has filed a lawsuit alleging that the university violated federal anti-discrimination laws and its own policies governing sexual-assault allegations.

The suit, filed Wednesday in federal court, says BC rushed to find the student responsible for sexual assault and deprived him of a fair hearing. The process branded the student as a sexual predator without giving him a chance to tell his side of the story, the complaint alleges.

Maybe they should make the perverts wear a star or something on their clothes.

The suit was filed against the college trustees and five top administrators by Washington, D.C., attorney Charles B. Wayne and Boston attorney Matthew J. Iverson.

BC spokesman Jack Dunn said the suit is baseless and the college intends to fight it vigorously in federal court. The student’s attorneys declined to comment.

College officials in 2012 charged the student, referred to in the lawsuit as John Doe, with sexually assaulting a female student on a student cruise in Boston Harbor.

The male student was also charged in Suffolk County District Court. Those charges were dismissed in May 2014 after physical evidence and video footage exonerated him, according to the suit.

In the separate, internal inquiry at BC three weeks after the alleged 2012 incident, an administrative hearing board made up of three administrators, one professor, and one student found him responsible for indecent assault and battery and suspended him for three semesters, court documents say.

The student’s family is seeking $3 million in damages and asking for their son’s record to be expunged. The family is also seeking a permanent injunction against the school, ordering it to comply with Title IX, the federal law that mandates gender equity on campus.

“The university’s concern is not a fair and equitable procedure in accordance with due process guarantees, but how the school will look to the outside world and to the tuition-paying students it hopes to attract,” the suit says.

The 60-page complaint describes how the former student, who was a reporter for the college newspaper The Heights, was assigned to cover an October 2012 cruise hosted by a student group. He was arrested that evening after police identified him as the suspect in the alleged assault of a sophomore on the boat’s dance floor.

The former student, who majored in history and Hispanic studies, was a first-semester senior at the time. He maintains that police and school officials accused the wrong person.

The lawsuit characterizes BC’s actions as a “counterfeit disciplinary process with a predetermined result, all of which was contrary to law.”

The former student graduated in May 2014 after serving his suspension. After he graduated, the school granted his family’s request to re-investigate the case, but a preliminary review found no grounds for reexamination, court papers show.

The suit calls that re-examination a “sham” and a “warmed-over justification” for the flaws of the first disciplinary process that ignored the video and forensic evidence, as well as a polygraph.

The former student’s parents, who do not live in Massachusetts, both attended Boston College, along with about 20 members of their family, according to the suit.

A local attorney who specializes in Title IX said this type of suit by accused assailants has become more common as colleges target sexual assault more aggressively.

“What seems like some sort of backlash or failure to keep Title IX right is actually Title IX working well,” said Colby Bruno, senior legal counsel for the Boston-based Victim Rights Law Center.

False accusations will do that for you, and as if schools didn't have enough budget problems.... 

At least the lawyers will get rich.


Here's your defense:

"Critics blast BU doctor for child abuse defense; Says genetic disease often causes fractures; Critics cite a lack of science" by Jenifer McKim, New England Center for Investigative Reporting  March 13, 2015

A Boston University doctor with a history of butting heads with the establishment is irking child abuse specialists nationwide by testifying in defense of parents accused of maltreatment, saying that a rare genetic disease, not parental wrongdoing, is leading to children’s bone fractures.

Dr. Michael F. Holick’s testimony — currently at issue in a child abuse case in Maine — is prompting concern among pediatricians who say he has no scientific proof to back up his assertions. They fear he is providing cover to potentially dangerous parents and putting children further at risk.

“This false controversy makes it hard to protect the children,’’ said Robert Sege, a Boston child abuse specialist and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Holick, a professor at BU’s school of medicine and director of the Bone Health Care Clinic at Boston Medical Center, said he is confident from decades of working with families with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that the disorder can lead to bone fractures. He said that although he is not a pediatrician or a child abuse expert, future medical studies will prove him correct.

“Just because you see fractures doesn’t mean it’s child abuse,’’ Holick said. “Prosecutors are very unhappy with me, and child abuse experts are very upset with me.”

The dispute is scheduled to be aired publicly Friday night as part of an ABC News 20/20 story about a Maine couple’s assertion that Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, not abuse, caused the injuries to their two-month-old son. The father, Brandon Ross, was indicted last year on 12 counts of child abuse and is awaiting trial.

Prosecutors declined to comment, and the Rosses could not be reached for comment.

Holick, better known for his research into Vitamin D deficiencies that can cause bone disorders, is not one to shy from controversy. In 2004 he was asked to resign from Boston University’s department of dermatology because he recommended that people expose themselves to some sunlight to increase their body’s natural Vitamin D production. He also was criticized at the time for accepting funding from a nonprofit arm of the Indoor Tanning Industry.

Holick said he first saw a connection between Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and fractured bones more than two decades ago while working with teenagers and adults. He said he first testified on behalf of people accused of abuse about five years ago, helping a Massachusetts couple win an acquittal.

He said he receives calls from frantic parents like the Rosses and provides his testimony on a pro bono basis. Already, he has provided expert testimony in two dozen cases, the majority of which have resulted in acquittals, he said.

Last month a Utah judge ruled in favor of parents accused of abusing their infant, who had multiple bone fractures in different stages of healing. The judge stated that there was no “clear and convincing evidence” the child was abused.

David Coleman, chairman of Boston University’s Department of Medicine, said he was unable to comment.

But Holick’s defense is prompting concern in the medical field. Stephen C. Boos, medical director for the Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, said some children could be returned to dangerous parents because of a defense that isn’t based in science.

“We are creating out of nothing a defensive strategy,” he said. “Of course it concerns me.”

Sege said Holick has slim credentials to make a connection between Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and fractures in children.

He said Holick has not published any peer-reviewed research that links the genetic disease to bone fractures in infants and is gaining a following precisely because nobody else sees this link. Indeed, he argues that there is not even a genetic test that can adequately prove that a person has the disease, much less whether it leads to bone fractures.

Although he does not know the details of the Ross case, Sege said that often juries and others do not want to believe the sad truth that “babies really are abused.”

Why did the Marathon trial just come to mind?