HBCU president makes controversial remarks on rape to female students
A video posted to YouTube of a speech by Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings has incited controversy over what some people believe are insensitive comments about rape.
During the speech, Jennings speaks of recent incidents on the college’s campus where women made false rape accusations against male companions who had spurned them after their sexual encounters.
In the video, Jennings is seen speaking to an all-female assembly of students at the HBCU. The speech took place in September but was posted to YouTube last week.
The entire speech lasted 26 minutes, but the posted clip lasts four minutes.
Towards the end of the clip, Jennings says:
When you allege that somebody did something of that nature to you, you go to jail. I don’t care how close they are to finishing the degree, their whole life changes overnight. Why am I saying all this, ladies? I’m saying this because, first and foremost, don’t put yourself in a situation that would cause you to be trying to explain something that really needs no explanation had you not put yourself in that situation.
Jennings defended his speech to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
University of Pennsylvania professor Marybeth Gasman called parts of Jennings’ speech “disturbing, offensive, and sexist in nature.”
The “had you not put yourself in that situation” appears to direct the blame on female students, rather than their male counterparts.
Rev. James Thomas, a parent of a student at the university, indicated that Jennings’ comments did not empathize with victims of sexual assault.
“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,” Thomas said. “And there was nothing that was said by the president that would have given any comfort.”
Another excerpt from Jennings speech is posted below:
Now let me let you in on a little secret. Men treat you, treat women the way women allow us to treat them. And let me let you in 0n another little secret. We will use you up if you allow us to use you up. But guess what? When it comes time for us to make that final decision, we’re gonna go down the hall and marry that girl with the long dress on. That’s the one we gonna take home to mom. Because there’s something about the way you carry yourself and respect yourself that commands and demands respect from us. That’s the way it works.
This isn’t the only challenge Jennings has recently faced; faculty members voted no confidence in the president in October, due to enrollment and fundraising struggles, according to Times Higher Education.