Fordham Dean of Students Under Investigation After Presenting Debate Over Campus Sexual Assault Statistics

Fordham University
Fordham University / Wikimedia Commons
August 29, 2017

The Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator at Fordham University-Rose Hill has reportedly been placed under investigation, after he allegedly brought female students to tears by presenting the political debate over campus sexual assault statistics at an Aug. 18 Resident Assistants (RA) training session.

Christopher Rodgers upset the RAs by showing videos depicting the views of the political right and left on campus rape, according to a statement from honors student and RA Rowan Hornbeck.

Hornbeck wrote that Rodgers played the trailer for documentary, "The Hunting Ground" as an example of the left-wing perspective, juxtaposed with a video from conservative educational platform PragerU.

After the latter was shown, Hornbeck wrote, "I was shaking."

"I told him that playing that video for a group of RAs disregards that there are people in the room who are victims of sexual assault, and choosing to play it without any warning completely disregards their emotional well-being," she added.

Hornbeck did not provide the title of the PragerU video but, based on quotes she included, it is likely one named, "Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?"

The video questioned oft-cited statistics on campus sexual assault and concluded, "there is simply no evidence of a national campus rape epidemic."

"The Hunting Ground" trailer has reportedly been shown in previous RA training seminars. The film purported to expose a rampant sexual abuse problem on campuses nationwide, though critics have said the documentary sensationalized and misrepresented the facts.

Hornbeck claimed that Rodgers "agreed" that it "would be inappropriate" to show the PragerU video to the general student body, but that he had aired it weeks earlier at a different training program.

"It is my personal opinion that Dean Rodgers is not fit to hold his position as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator. As a woman, as a student, and as a Resident Assistant I do not trust him to appropriately and sensitively handle cases of sexual misconduct," she concluded."[A] presentation from the Deputy Title IX Coordinator should not leave dozens of female students in tears. Contextualizing advocacy for victims as a political agenda is backwards."

Anastasia Coleman, the university's Title IX coordinator, is heading the investigation into Rodgers, according to the Fordham Ram.

Rodgers reportedly apologized last week to the RAs, but Hornbeck told the Ram, "we didn't feel like he was apologizing for his behavior and was instead apologizing that we were upset."

Neither Rodgers nor Coleman responded to the Washington Free Beacon's requests for comment.

An assistant in the Dean of Student's office said she had heard "rumors going around," but could not confirm the reports.