You’d think a human would understand

Here's a Las Vegas Sun story about Knecht's tomfoolery at the Legislature: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2003/feb/19/knecht-author-of-bill-draft-renaming-nevada-east-c/.

It’s “nonsense,” he said, for colleges to “become nannies to their students and employees, being required to train them on preventing sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.” It’s also “nonsense” to force universities “to compile and publish statistics on all such incidents, while also assuring greater confidentiality protections for plaintiffs” in rape and sexual assault incidents on campus.

In fact, according to Nevada Regent Ron Knecht, “This whole project is motivated by the weird and destructive progressive ideologies that most academics share with Obama and his administration.”

Knecht, a former one-term Nevada assemblymember and now a candidate for the statewide office of controller, offered his commentary recently in the Elko Daily Free Press.

He seems oblivious to the national outrage over the shocking number of women who have been raped at a university and then further assaulted by an oversight system that quickly absolves the perpetrators, who escape with no significant punishment. (See “Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t”: http://nyti.ms/1mLyDpp)

Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri has been intently focused on the issue in her role as chair of a Senate subcommittee. She requested a staff report, released on July 9, to determine how our institutions of higher education are reporting, investigating and adjudicating sexual violence.

Not very well, it seems.

You can read the report for yourself, but here are highlights. In 30 percent of the schools, officials designated as law enforcement reported they’ve had no training in how to handle a report of sexual assault. Athletic departments are allowed to supervise investigations involving athletes at more than 20 percent of the universities. And more than 40 percent of the reporting schools said they haven’t had a single case of sexual assault to investigate during the past five years, leading many to believe they’re not looking very hard to find them. Even Knecht should realize something is seriously amiss.

But Knecht has other priorities. His claim to fame was a 2003 bill draft request to rename Nevada “East California,” designate the state song as “Taxman,” and make the acronym RINO the state animal. He later said it was a joke in response to Gov. Kenny Guinn’s proposal to raise taxes to address a $704 million deficit, but no one was very amused. He lost the next election.

Presumably, his rhetoric condemning academics and progressives was in response to President Obama’s decision to create a Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The task force issued a report in April to assist campuses in strengthening their sexual assault policies and help students understand their rights and find appropriate resources. The report included a Checklist for Campus Sexual Misconduct Policies after finding these policies so woefully deficient at many campuses.

One would assume a Nevada regent would not only read these reports but also make inquiries of the chancellor to ensure that Nevada campuses have appropriate prevention programs in place and updated policies to investigate sexual misconduct.

Instead, Knecht complains that the new federal directives will be too expensive and time-consuming. He blames higher education officials for failing to “resist” the federal guidance and criticizes his colleagues for not opposing “predatory special-interest bonanzas.”

His call to action attempts to rally “voters and the taxpaying public” to “raise hell with elected officials and other leaders if we’re to halt this nonsense.”

Sadly, if Knecht loses his statewide race in November, he’ll still be a regent, an unfortunate reality indeed for students and faculty who want a safe and respectful campus for everyone. Assistance in developing best practices and resources to address this compelling nightmare is hardly nonsense; for many survivors of sexual violence, those policies are a lifeline.

You’d think a regent would understand.