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Updated on Monday, July 7

#19415

OMG: Good to know innocent until proven guilty is a thing..
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/06/30/kelly-mcparland-allan-rock-punishes-the-innocent-on-u-of-ottawa-hockey-team/

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/06/27/christie-blatchford-universitys-response-to-sex-assault-allegations-is-sentence-first-verdict-afterwards/

23 comments

  1. The University should go out of their way to exonerate the members of that team who were guilty of nothing. It isn't right, having your entire life ruined in your early 20s because your name will always be associated with something you didn't actually take part in.

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  2. U of Ottawa is a male-hating, feminazi wonderland. Seriously, it's a campus full of people who took #StopFathersDay seriously, who believe the death penalty for sex crimes would be entirely acceptable, and sports people who claim "the only way for women to become equal to men is for men to be oppressed as greatly and for as long as women were."

    I don't really take any of the crap that they spew seriously.

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    1. As a man that doesn't feel disadvantaged in a society that provides me with a bunch of advantages, you're sad.

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    2. Oh come on 2 - male

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    3. 2, Way to be a radical idiot and trivialize the whole thing.

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    4. Sad that such places do exist in "civilized" countries like Canada...
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      2a) "that doesn't feel disadvantaged" - that's your feeling, not truth. "provides me with a bunch of advantages" - like having all your problems trivialized, your murder seen as less important than a woman's harassment, being considered a scum and guilty until proven innocent whenever a woman reports you, having virtually no helpline to turn to when your girlfriend beats you or coerces you into having sex, having talks about your gender issues repeatedly and illegally silenced by screaming deranged furies who aren't even punished... yeah sure, you have plenty of advantages.
      2c) "radical...trivialize" - I don't see any radical content, just a description denouncing terribly uconstitutional practices, of which the described event is a perfect example. No trivialization either (taking stupid statements and backwards practices lightly is not trivialization of the events); it's the opposite in fact, they denounce this event as a serious problem, which it is.

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    5. 2d, 2c/3 here. My bad, I was meaning more to criticize the wording and approach taken by 2. In my opinion using words like Feminazi and ranting like that does nothing to help the conversation forward, it just revs up the crazies of both wings and then the moderates who can discuss things like adults opt to avoid the ensuing pissing match.

      I actually agree with you, I've been following this pretty much from the start and its incredibly worrying. Especially going through comment sections where people see nothing wrong with the universities actions.

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    6. Oh, I see. To be honest though, I don't believe #2 to be a rant in the first place.
      Either way, at this point, ranting isn't a way to advance the discussion, it's just to vent. There are quite a few such OMG entries here, like that girl denouncing men who rate women on the campus.

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    7. Fair enough. I see most stuff on here as special little snowflakes clamouring for attention, but the attitude reflected in the actions of authority in this situation are frankly scary. Group punishment of those not involved based on allegation, not even charges...

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    8. Agreed, this doesn't show sound judgment at all.

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  3. The whole thing is maddening. At this point its looking like the crown might not even press charges against the three who were allegedly involved. The worst part is the media demonizing the entire team when this went public, reporting alleged sexual misconduct by three individuals as gang rape by the entire team.

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  4. OMG innocent until proven guilty is no longer a thing!!!

    No, wait, it is. It's the same thing it's always been: a principle characterizing formal rules in criminal law. Did somebody get criminally convicted that the story didn't mention?

    An institution's exercising due diligence in relation to its reputation or the duty of care it legally owes to its participants and stakeholders does not equal a punishment. And neither due diligence nor punishment equals a criminal guilty verdict. A university can choose to cancel a sports season for any number of reasons having nothing to do with any of the hysteria being peddled in this thread. It can choose to do so if it doesn't sufficiently trust its bus drivers, or has worries about an elevated risk of norovirus, or decides it doesn't like its team logo any more. Whiny MRAs who fail to understand the basic legal, fiduciary and moral categories at issue will reliably produce nonsense like most of that seen above: equal parts comical confusion and alarming hate-mongering.

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    1. oooh oooh oooh! I caught someone using a phrase in a general sense instead of as a formal term! Now I can use all the big words I know and focus on technicalities and call people names instead of acknowledging the actual issue.

      Innocent until proven guilty is not just a legal principle, it is also supposed to be a societal norm. No there have been no convictions, because the investigation by legal authorities is still ongoing, and may well find that there was no criminal wrong doing worthy of prosecution.

      The fact is the team was suspended and the coach was fired over this incident. People who were not even in the city where it allegedly happened have been suspended. Players have lost jobs and career opportunities. The way the University handled this suggests guilt, and has tainted everyone tied to the program.

      While you're up there on your pedestal, maybe try and remember what happened at Duke, and how think about how defamation suits can have an impact on your "basic legal, fiduciary and moral categories."







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    2. I guess you've forgotten that the U of Ottawa hockey team are stakeholders of the university as well. Meaning the university owes them a duty of care just the same. You can argue that the university has a right to attempt to protect its reputation at the expense of this particular group of stakeholders, but you can't argue they have the right to do it without scrutiny.

      "Whiny MRAs" as you put it aren't arguing the letter of the law by invoking the principal of the presumption of innocence. They're arguing the appropriateness of the punishment, especially given the fact that it victimizes those who were completely innocent of the accusations of misconduct.

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    3. 4b --
      The coach was fired, according to news reports easily accessible on these very internets, because an internal review showed, among other things, that he knew about the incident and didn't report it to the university. (Is that "guilty" enough for you?) All sorts of poor judgement, lack of due diligence, and other clearly non-criminal behaviour can amount to a firing offence -- or as grounds to suspend and relaunch an athletic program. Have you ever had a job? Do you really think you can't be fired unless you or someone in your charge is convicted of a crime? If this wasn't all about some cherished belief about how persecuted men are, I really doubt that you'd be saying anything this silly.

      The fact that nobody has been convicted of any crime is irrelevant to the fact that the university did a review and didn't like what they learned about how the program was functioning. The distinction is not a difficult one.

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  5. 4c --
    You are certainly right that the team members are also stakeholders (among the many thousands of other students past, present and future whose degrees may be devalued by negative conduct, criminal or otherwise). That is a fair point. But I'm not sure what you think I forgot. The OP was about "innocent until proven guilty," not whether there was adequate "scrutiny" of the university's decision. I will admit to not responding to an argument that nobody made.

    Now that you've made it, though, it's worth asking what evidence you have that the normal process of collegial review and Board governance did not take place in this case? I haven't read anything indicating that the decision wasn't scrutinized. Unless you mean "scrutiny by some dudes on the internet", in which case, LOL, no, I doubt that any university will throw open confidential proceedings that generally have to respect students' and employees' right under FIPPA, in order for MRAs online to misunderstand them.

    In any case, if this was not punishment, then it was not inappropriate punishment. Not everything that is unpleasant or a darned shame is a punishment. Due diligence towards the team itself includes new team members who would be joining this year; and it includes existing members whose interests may not be advanced by playing in a poisoned atmosphere, or with poor oversight, or insufficient mentorship -- even if they want to play and believe that there is no big problem. It's the university's team, and their call to make about whether the program is working up to their standards, or needs a reworking and relaunch. None of that need involve the motive of "teaching a lesson" to current players, which would be a really weird thing for institutional leaders to be interested in anyhow. So, again, due diligence /= punishment /= criminal presumption of innocence. Only the first of these is plausibly relevant.

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    1. Food for thought:

      Reports show the coach did know of something, didn't report it, but disciplined the players on his own. Maybe what happened was something that broke team policy and was below the standards of behavour expected from student athletes, yet wasn't deemed bad enough to involve higher authority.
      If he deemed wrong and the university decides to fire him for cause that's within their rights, you're right.
      The reports also show that this was an isolated incident. Hardly a poisoned atmosphere.
      Failure to report: fire the coach
      An isolated incident involving 3 of 26 players behaving unnacceptably: Do nothing until the crown decides whether or not to charge them, due to legality of identifying them during the investigation. If internal investigation shows wrong doing, suspend those players. Don't react preemptively and suspend the entire team.

      You make very strong and well reasoned points about the law and the universities rights and responsibilities but that's not all that this about. Technically you're right, suspending the program is not punishing the players, but that's a cop out. Suspending the program in this context casts the perception of wrongdoing onto the entire team whether intentionally or not. You can see it in your own writing: "poisoned atmosphere" and what not. I think 1) had the most reasonable response of all. If the university does think the best course of action is to suspend the team, at least have the guts to stand behind those that weren't involved instead of sacrificing the reputations of 23 student athletes on the alter of PR. Go the extra mile, appeal to the OUA to have the one year transfer wait lifted. Look after your own, don't cowardly hide an internal report.

      I'd like to hear your thoughts on what happened at Duke, and how UofO's actions will look if it turns out allegations were false, and 3 players went and had a drunken orgy on a road trip.

      Btw, I actually enjoy this discussion. Very reasonable point of view that isn't about guilt or innocence, male or female. Just cut out the "MRA, some dudes on the internet" bullshit, and discuss.

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    2. "Reports show the coach did know of something, didn't report it, but disciplined the players on his own. Maybe what happened was something that broke team policy and was below the standards of behavour expected from student athletes, yet wasn't deemed bad enough to involve higher authority. "

      While a nice thought, there is almost nothing at all that could have happened that would fall into this category. Sexual assault is a pretty fine line.

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  6. 5a --

    "I'd like to hear your thoughts on what happened at Duke, and how UofO's actions will look if it turns out allegations were false, and 3 players went and had a drunken orgy on a road trip."

    Well, why not start with your thoughts? I can't see any serious connection, and I suggest that you would find it illuminating to attempt to argue that there is a good analogy here, in light of the actual details of the two cases. I'll start the discussion for you: "The Duke lacrosse team case, in which no criminal or civil court found Duke University at fault, but in which a rogue American public prosecutor laid false charges, gave dozens of improper interviews, and was later sued, disbarred and jailed..." Okay -- now demonstrate the reasonable analogy with the U. Ottawa case.

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    1. That's the disconnect, sexual assault is definitely a fine line, but all the report says the coach knew of was misconduct.
      I'll admit I'm doing a bad job of getting my point across, but my greatest concern is the optics. The way you pinpoint and assume it was sexual assault highlights it. That was alleged by a third party. Any official authority since has referred to it as sexual misconduct. Behavior that they don't want associated with the school, but not criminal.
      The problem I have is Allegations + suspension = guilty perception.
      And to say no civil court found Duke at fault is kind of misleading, they settled out of court.
      But the true analogy lies not in the legal similarities of the case, but in the school jumping the gun when public accusations were made.
      In both cases three were accused, in both the coach was terminated (fired vs forced behind closed doors to resign) both the the program was immediately suspended. Compare the two situations as they were happening, without the hindsight knowledge that Nifong was on a crusade.

      All I am saying is that to base any decision of this magnitude on a allegation that has yet to be proven is a reactionary course of action.
      Obviously if the crown lays charges/ theyre guilty of assault my entire argument is rendered moot. I just think the school is jumping the gun.

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  7. This is basically the same thing our football team went through a few years ago. Everyone takes the heat and suffers for the unsavoury actions of a small few

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  8. 6a --

    5b is not me (4, 4d, 5 & 6).

    Your insistence that "the school is jumping the gun" simply fails to follow from any consideration that anyone here has been able to adduce. It presupposes that only criminal charges could justify putting a sport program on hold in order to do a thorough review and relaunch. And that's not just false -- it's obviously false.

    I offered a few of many, many possible reasons the institution could have for its actions, though you oddly seemed to focus on "poisoned atmosphere" as if this were something I had said definitely happened. (Notice the meaning of the English word "or" in the sentence "Due diligence towards the team itself... includes existing members whose interests may not be advanced by playing in a poisoned atmosphere, or with poor oversight, or insufficient mentorship...".) The university did not "jump the gun" -- they did a review, didn't like what they found, and acted on it. Criminal charges have exactly nothing to do with it.

    The complaint now seems to be that the university has not let you, personally, and the rest of the internet know exactly what that report showed and why the university is choosing to do this with its sports program. This strikes me as so fundamentally naive that I'm not sure how to reply. I could explain the basics of confidentiality legislation that places extraordinarily tight controls on what a public institution can reveal in such situations, or point out how utterly unremarkable (and unremarked, when there is no "Oh noes teh menz!" angle) this sort of due diligence action is. But it's probably most inclusive and accurate just to say: that's just not how the world works in any way.

    Of course it may be true that, as you put it, "Allegations + suspension = guilty perception" _to some people_. After all, "vaccination + autism = vaccinations cause autism" ... to some people. But the University of Ottawa can hardly be held responsible for the poor inferences that people on the internet draw.

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