More Problems With UND Campus Rape Junk Science Emerge

Yesterday I wrote about University of North Dakota researcher Sarah Edwards claiming that her tiny sample of students from an anonymous campus is representative of any college campus anywhere in America. That’s significant, because Edwards’ research claims that one in three college men would rape if they thought they could get away with it.

Washington Examiner reporter Ashe Schow has taken a more in-depth look at Edwards’ research, and there are serious problems beyond sample size which call into question the integrity of Edwards and her research:

Sarah Edwards — the lead author of a recent study purportedly showing that one in three men would rape if they could get away with it and so long as it wasn’t referred to as rape — really, really believes that one in five women will be sexually assaulted during college.

Despite significant flaws in the 2007 study that produced that one-in-five figure — as well as more representative studies showing the rate to be much lower — Edwards, a University of North Dakota assistant professor of counseling psychology, wholeheartedly believes the study. In an email to the Washington Examiner, she said that those who deny the higher rate just can’t handle the information. …

Edwards also provided the Examiner with the debriefing material that was supposed to address “rape myths.” Researchers were tasked with confirming that male participants’ “assumptions go in the right direction” following the survey. In other words, make sure those men believe what the researchers believe.

Some of the assumptions were innocuous, like telling the men they should respect a “no” (even though that’s no longer acceptable; men are now required by feminists to get a “yes” for every stage of potential sexual activity). Other dispelled “myths” conform to current politically correct wisdom — for example, ignoring men as sexual assault victims and infantilizing drunk women as if they were incapable of giving consent.

The more dangerous claim the researchers are spreading is that false accusations don’t happen. Researchers told the men that “most women who claim they were raped don’t make it up but were actually assaulted.” It’s not so much that women completely make up being raped (like Tawana Brawley or Crystal Mangum did) but more the idea that men are being branded as rapists over drunken hookups, misunderstandings and he said/she said situations. Perhaps a better term for these than “falsely accused” would be “wrongly accused.”

Further, Edwards readily admitted she hopes this study gets her grant money. Following this study, which was clearly designed to elicit eye-catching headlines, Edwards hopes to broaden her “research” by conducting the same study on a national scale.

In other words, Edwards is motivated less by a desire to find the truth than a desire to make herself famous.

Reading the whole article is definitely worth your time, as is Professor Mark Perry’s thorough debunking of the study.

“Sounds like they’ve got a hostile educational environment going for male students there,” quips Glenn Reynolds, referencing Schow’s report.

And, well, yeah. It took two years for the University of North Dakota to rescind student Caleb Warner’s expulsion after rape charges against him were found to be bogus.

Really, the UND administration ought to respond to this. North Dakota taxpayers pay a lot of money to maintain two large research institutions, and they’re often assured that these institutions are “world class.” Thus, it is in the public’s interest to see a response when researchers at one of the universities besmirch the reputation of said institution by peddling hyperbolic, politically-driven junk science.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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