Welcome, Townhall readers! This is the Common Sense archive of the November 25, 2018, column at Townhall.com. For more links to this column, click here.
Dr. Rainford had used his official school Twitter account to send the tweets. One can understand that the University might not want any such discussion on “official” accounts. However, that did not seem to be the issue.
In fact, while there was clearly a problem — the following day President Garvey suspended Dean Rainford from his position for the rest of the semester — what that specific problem was remains amorphous.
In a statement announcing the suspension, President Garvey called the tweets “unacceptable,” and argued, “We should expect any opinion [the Dean] expresses about sexual assault to be thoughtful, constructive, and reflective of the values of Catholic University, particularly in communications from the account handle @NCSSSDean.”
How did Will Rainford’s tweets fall short?
“The tweets called into question the validity of some accusations of sexual assault made against Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” the statement read. “Of deepest concern to me is that they demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to the victim.”
Of course, it is a fundamental framework of decently free civilizations that accusations can, specifically, be questioned. And should be. As for “sensitivity to the victim,” in the Kavanaugh conflagration, who was or was not the victim?
The victim in this Catholic University melodrama seems much clearer: Dr. Rainford, the former dean, who lost his position simply for asking questions that some students and faculty members did not appreciate. If he had tweeted his blind and undying belief in the metaphysical veracity of any female accuser of a Republican, we all know he would still be the Dean of the School of Social Service
Those are the “values of Catholic University” of which President Garvey spoke.
For his own part, Will Rainford has profusely expressed his contrition — in a Cultural Revolution-style statement — for his thoughtful/thoughtless tweets: “My tweet suggested that [Julie Swetnick] was not a victim of sexual assault. I offer no excuse. It was impulsive and thoughtless and I apologize.”
Strange, then, that media coverage of this case fails to even mention a relevant fact. In the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation, Swetnick and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, have been referred to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution for making false statements to Congress.
Swetnick and Avenatti can expect to receive better treatment than an administrator in an establishment of higher education who asks conservative-sounding questions.
November 25, 2018