The Sexist

American University Student Newspapers Vandalized Over “Rape Apology”


In a spirited diatribe entitled "Dealing With AU's anti-sex brigade" published yesterday in the American University Eagle, AU's resident anti-feminist thinker, Alex Knepper, argues that feminists who rally against rape are turning act of sex into a sorry ritual in which "two amorphous, gender-neutral blobs ask each other 'Is this OK with you?.'” According to Knepper, age 20, feminists are also responsible for stamping out the "yin and yang of masculinity and femininity [that] makes sexual exploration exciting," abolishing passion, and also somehow discouraging "inherently gendered thrills" like erotic cross-dressing. Knepper ends the column by providing a helpful reading list for his misguided peers, including works by Camille Paglia, the Marquis de Sade, and Christina Hoff Sommers.

An unidentified member of the campus community has responded with a more direct retort: They removed copies of the paper from their stands and posted a message above them reading, "NO ROOM FOR RAPE APOLOGISTS."

According to these photos sent in from an American University student, the message for Knepper has been posted near several Eagle newsstands around campus; in one photo, a stack of Eagles appears to have been strewn haphazardly across the floor in front of the paper's offices. "A few people had taken probably several thousand copies and threw them over against our door," says Jen Calantone, Eagle editor-in-chief. The vandalism was light; no papers were destroyed, and newspaper staff have since removed the posters and redistributed the papers. Some copies were crinkled.

In an e-mail, American University student (and campus feminist and LGBT activist) K. Travis Ballie explains the perceived impetus for the move: "In response to the very strong and passionate outrage at rape apologist Alex Knepper's latest column "Dealing With AU's Anti-Sex Brigade," an unidentified student not endorsed by any organization decided to take direct action," Ballie writes. "The Eagle has repeatedly refused for months to show adequate sensitivity, compassion, and common decency to the well-being of rape survivors on campus and is complicit in promoting a rape culture where survivors are blamed for the crimes of sexual assault perpetrators."


Knepper's column anticipated this criticism. In it, he wrote that on American University's campus, "For my pro-sex views, I am variously called a misogynist, a rape apologist and—my personal favorite—a 'pro-date rape protofascist.'" (I guess that one didn't fit on the poster). Knepper's column went on to provide a sampling of some of Knepper's "pro-sex views":

Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.

“Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex—especially anonymous sex—can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!

Despite the column's defensive stance on the "rape apologist" label, Knepper didn't anticipate the ad-hoc campus campaign against him; when I called him around noon today he hadn't yet heard of the removal of the papers and the "RAPE APOLOGIST" posters. After perusing the evidence, Knepper agreed to answer some questions over e-mail. "Well, this is the new feminist orthodoxy: censorship," he wrote. "It started with Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, and it's an utter betrayal of the ideals of women like Wollstonecraft, Stanton, and even Friedan. I'm also very concerned with the highly fragile view of women that this promotes: I can't say something that offends them without stirring them to vandalism? Carmen Rios states that my column can act as a 'trigger' for survivors. Does anyone treat men with kid gloves like this?"

I asked Knepper whether he thought there was any room for rape apologists at American. "There is no room for rape apologists on campus. If I see any, I'll be sure to rebuke them," he wrote. I also asked him to expound on the whole feminist cross-dressing ban thing: "The entire concept of cross-dressing has no place within feminism," he explained. "[O]ne cannot 'cross' the line of something that does not exist." Finally, I asked him if the "yin and yang of masculinity and femininity" is truly "what makes sexual exploration exciting," then isn't it kind of boring to be gay? "Certainly not," replied Knepper, who is gay. "Gay men—by which I do not mean the eunuchs who constitute the vanguard of so-called queer activism—are far more likely to understand that dressing one's boyfriend up like a girl and fucking his ass with a dildo is to feminize him. The feminine element of sexuality is not literally about being female—it's about surrender and submission. One might say that my homosexuality is the ultimate expression of my deep-seated hatred for women, though, right?"


On Facebook, members of the university community aren't questioning the implications of Knepper's sexual orientation, but they are debating the tactics used to protest his articles. "If you don't like the Eagle, don't read it, support the AU Examiner, write a counter column, or start your own newspaper—DON'T act like children [and] follow the same idea-bashing tactics that the christian-conservo-right do every time they come to a school and insure it has the right books on the shelves," wrote one. "i think a lot of people who might be allies on this are really alienated by this type of vandalism," wrote another.

The Eagle, for one, isn't particularly pleased—but it has been inspired to take some action. "It's upsetting, because our general purpose as the campus newspaper is to start these types of discussions," says Calantone. "We were happy when people started talking about and criticizing this column, but it's upsetting when it devolves into a kind of vandalism situation." The newspaper is planning to hold open campus discussion on Knepper's column this Thursday evening.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 2 p.m. with comments from Knepper.


  1. #1

    Alex Knepper has stacked the last straw on the pile, and he must go. As a concerned student here at AU, I cannot explain ho upset I am to have triggers for survivors and emotionally charged, angry, hateful speech in my campus paper.

    Always Fighting,

  2. #2

    Alex Knepper sounds extremely deranged. Destructing property is absolutely the wrong way to go about it though. Fight back with words. And someone please fart on his pillow.

  3. #3

    I would be very interested in how this story progresses. Please keep us updated.

  4. #4

    I think overall Alex Knepper is an embarrassment.

    I think there are a lot of concepts and ideas that are brought up by the conservative feminists he lists that are important to read and understand.

    In spite of this, he does them complete injustice in his rhetoric, which is angry, haphazard, and lacking any real forethought.

    I think the best example is the "What a sniveling bunch of emotional cripples!" Every time feminists on campus criticize something in relatively specific and measured terms, he is the one that seems to explode with rage and hyperbole not them.

    I am genuinely surprised that they let him print the bit about the EI party. It really is rape apologist rhetoric it's purist form. It even stands in real contrast to the Sex Column, which vaguely described a situation and still drew fire. In this article he lays it out a clear situation and puts all the blame on the woman.

  5. #5

    Alex was up for an award this year from the GLBTA office for his work on promoting campus equality.

  6. #6

    I would just like to point out that no property was damaged and or vandalized during this display of protest over the article. The newspapers were simply removed from their stands (where they are placed to then be removed by students) and relocated to the front door of the Eagle's offices. If the Eagle does not want its newspapers to be returned in the future, then they should stop publishing articles that warrant return.

  7. #7

    Also, the frustrating thing is that all this reaction is exactly what he was going for, so on some level he wins.

    On property destruction, scattering papers or taking them does not strike me as out of line vandalism. If instead of papers saying rape apologist, they did permanent damage than I might question it.

  8. #8

    Well, at least he's right about there being no real distinction between "date rape" and "rape." Unfortunately, rather than consider "date rape" a subset of "rape" he seems to want to consider it a carve-out.

  9. Christopher Conway

    This is nothing new for Knepper. He has written inflammatory, offensive, and hateful articles about anyone and any group on campus not sharing his backwards neoconservative views on diversity, sexuality, gender, and history. He constantly calls out Carmen Rios and uses the EI fraternity as examples of "feminazis" and rapists in his articles, amounting to nothing less than obsession and libel.

    But as vile as Alex Knepper and his columns are, I don't support calling for him to be fired from the Eagle. I don't want AU to be the campus where the majority can force someone to be silent. I'd rather him speak out and embarass himself again and again, and have more to explain in 10+ years when he's running for office. If the Eagle wants to fire him because they're losing money from corporate sponsors, I would support that. But I do not support or condone vandalism, or an open and gleeful destruction of free speech.

  10. #10

    I think it is incredibly insensitive and wrong for the newspaper to allow such hateful and victim blaming articles. 1 in 4 young women in college will be a victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault or rape while at school. Victims of rape often suffer in silence, too afraid to speak out for fear of embarrassment, shame and being blamed for the crime that was perpetrated against them. Even worse, more and more research has recently been published explaining how schools encourage young women to remain quit and closeted when it comes to pursuing justice against their attacker. The law has already established that when someone is drinking they legally cannot give consent. It doesn't matter how many cups of jungle juice she has, what she's wearing,or if she attends the party at all--that is EVERY college student's right. All that matters is that in order to have consent--you know that thing that the author is so hazy about--you have to be sober.

  11. #11

    Knepper sounds like a Jewish name. Do you think he'd act like a "sniveling emotional cripple" if you wrote an article as offensive to Jews as this is to women?

  12. #12

    Since no one pays for this newspaper it is not like students can express their disdain for the ridiculous views being espoused in these columns by not buying it. Presumably their fees are what are paying to see this "newspaper" published.

    The views published in this column are not valid opinions, they are incoherent ramblings of someone with no understanding of what feminism or rape, or sexuality actually are. I personally think that until the Eagle stops providing a forum for bullshit artists with an antifeminist agenda and no actual clue what the hell they are talking about, the harmless vandalism should continue. (Also if I were a member of the student body I would attempt to get their funding removed.)

  13. #13

    "The feminine element of sexuality is not literally about being female—it’s about surrender and submission."


    I am more than a little shocked that a gay man is confusing submissive/dominant sexual roles with "masculine" or "feminine" sexual behavior. (Which in my experience, doesn't actually exist.)

  14. #14

    To hear that the Eagle's purpose is to "strike up these types of conversations" is completely false and a total coverup for their BS. They are a bunch of bored CHILDREN that feel it is necessary to print offensive writing to stir up controversy in order to keep themselves occupied as if their lives are after-school specials. My word of advice is to start acting like adults and grow a pair. This isn't middle school anymore sweeties, this sort of thing would get you fired in the real world.

    Furthermore, Alex darling, don't try and discuss cross-dressing, its not your area of expertise. If I write anything about being a drama-seeking sociopath, you will be the first of my list of people to call.


    Athena D

  15. #15

    Maybe it's the lack of caffeine, but I find myself really confused by this quote:

    “Gay men... are far more likely to understand that dressing one’s boyfriend up like a girl and fucking his ass with a dildo is to feminize him.

    This sort of belief that homosexual relationships involve making one partner masculine and one feminine seems very anachronistic, especially out of the mouth of a gay college student. Not to mention the "femininity is about surrender and submission" stuff... wow.

  16. #16

    IF the eagle was going to promote discourse why can't we comment on the eagle website? I mean the city paper is a better publication, but discourse should happen on the eagle site, not on Travis' facebook and the city paper.

  17. #17

    At this point, it's irrelevant to comment on how bigoted and ridiculous Alex Knepper is. He knows it. It's what he likes to hear. The problem lies in the fact that The Eagle, even after having to edit his column five times, felt that it was a good idea to publish this article. It's not academic. It's not fact based. It's just trash. Beyond that, they have the nerve to state that their purpose is to encourage dialogue, yet the comments were closed to due the potential of "actual harm." Actual harm from who? It's a little late to consider censoring Knepper and everyone else deserves to respond to him. The only actual harm that is (and should be) occurring, is towards the reputation of the paper.

  18. #18

    Is this person utterly devoid of imagination or what? I’m always confused about how people who hold fast to this line of thinking go about dating. Basically all of my relationships have begun in a variation of the scenario above — by which I mean that I have been spending time with someone platonically, sometimes consuming alcohol, and then our interaction has in one way or another exposed itself as non-platonic and we go do some non-platonic stuff somewhere. I have never had sex — by which I mean the heteronormative definition of intercourse (which is strangely being employed here by a gay man) — with someone the first time I was alone with him. There are plenty of other (indeed related) activities to be done by two (possibly drunk) people who are getting to know each other. Assuming that a closed door equals a signed contract for penis-in-vagina sex lets rapists off the hook in a pretty major way. This is what rape culture looks like.

  19. #19

    I think, what it comes down to, is like the five year old kid who hits another 5 year old kid. Alex wants attention. We're giving it to him and we're encouraging bad behavior. We really just need to give him a hug and say "Alex, you're a valued member of the community, and we like you. God Likes you. Clawde likes you." and then cry it out.

  20. #20

    I'm not sure how I can be expected to make sure I avoid jumping into the sexual arena if the lines of consent are "very blurry".

    And re: censorship and his free speech rights--no. His first quoted paragraph attempts to GIVE CONSENT FOR WOMEN. "Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK?" His free speech rights do not override the rights of women to feel safe in their environments, not to mention, hello, to state for themselves what they do and do not want to engage in.

  21. #21

    What gets me is that, after criticizing Catherine MacKinnon, Alex espouses her account of gender and sexuality, saying, "The feminine element of sexuality is not literally about being female—it’s about surrender and submission." Apparently, he agrees with the radical feminist analysis, but not with the conclusion that women shouldn't have to accept their constructed role of "surrender and submission". How is that anything but misogynist?

  22. #22

    Read the AU Examiner instead its much better especially when you don't have to read Knepper's rants from the pulpit. What a terribly sad bag full of contradictions he has turned out to be.

  23. Concerned AU Alumna

    Alex, have you never considered that a girl, drunk or not, might go into a boy's room with every intention of doing nothing more than kissing? Are you telling me that because I had to walk down a dark street to get home, or wore a short skirt, or got drunk at a party, that I deserve to be rapes? Regardless of her state of intoxication, there is a huge difference between regretting what you knowingly did and consented to the night before and rape.

    And don't rag on social constructionist beliefs. Most of us acknowledge that there are inherent, biological differences between the sexes. But by and large what makes men men and women women is what society subscribes those roles to be. Why do I use hair product, wear make-up, dresses and high heels? Because they make me feel pretty and sexy. There are no biological urges or genetic blueprints for what constitutes my feeling pretty or sexy. What is considered pretty changes so rapidly in the human existence that it could not possibly be biological.

    There are biological and genetic predispositions in terms of being sexually attracted to another person. In women, breast size, hip size. In men, height, strength. These all speak, hetero-normatively of course, to one's procreative abilities. To suggest every single difference between men and women is inherent and not societal is just plain stupid. As if men were genetically predisposed to wearing pants instead of skirts.

    You are a sniveling little boy who gets his jollies from of pissing people off. Grow up. Join the human race.

  24. #24

    As much as I disagree with Knepper, I cannot possibly condone censorship. "Journalists" and editorialists say offensive things all the time. If you don't like it, don't read it. Supporting The Eagle in firing Knepper is censorship. A lot of feminists on campus are Women's and Gender Study or PoliSci majors, so don't always know the intricacies of the journalistic world or how it's supposed to be run, but you can't just force a newspaper to fire what some people a successful columnist (he definitely creates controversy) just because some people don't agree.

  25. #25

    I think it is important to point out that Newspapers are beholden to their advertisers owners and customers, the people who pay for the production of the paper. The people who pay to publish the Eagle are the students. If they don't like what the paper is publishing they are within their rights as financiers to demand that it be changed.

    Knepper would still be perfectly free to espouse his ridiculous views anywhere else he likes. But the students at AU shouldn't have to pay for this jerk to get his ridiculous opinions printed.

  26. #26

    Please learn the definition of "censorship," people. A college newspaper rejecting a columnist's ideas is not censorship.

  27. #27

    There used to be comments on the article, but they closed the comment section because it was getting a little out of hand. At least, I think that's what happened.

  28. #28

    First it was groping now it's rape, for Christ sake Amanda isn't there something else to talk about!

    Talk about beating a dead horse!

  29. #29

    The eagle has published a number of letters to the editor here:

    Charlie and Jenny lay out a good explanation of why they published it here:

  30. #30

    Agree with a previous commenter that this isn't really "vandalism" -- free newspapers are there to be taken, they're not really anyone's property, & returning them to the paper's offices does a pretty good job of sending a message.

    "But as vile as Alex Knepper and his columns are, I don’t support calling for him to be fired from the Eagle. I don’t want AU to be the campus where the majority can force someone to be silent." Ridiculous IMO. The logical conclusion of this is that no writer should ever be fired once he's found to be unhinged, racist/sexist/homophobic, wildly unpopular with readers, or whatever, since firing him would constitute "the majority forcing the minority to be silent. Publications *should* take into account what their readers want (esp. if those readers' student activities fees pay their bills), & it's a good thing when racist/sexist/whatever views become so unpopular that the majority doesn't want to hear them. Plus he wouldn't be "forced to be silent," he could start a blog or state his views verbally. Free speech doesn't mean everyone is entitled to a published weekly column.

  31. #31

    To CH:

    Nobody's forcing it to do anything. See the thing that people always miss about the concept of free speech is that with that right comes the necessity to suffer whatever criticism comes from the expression of your views.

    The Eagle is not a soapbox in a park corner. It decides whom to publish and whom not to publish. This choice should be subject to just as much criticism as Knepper's asinine and adolescent views.

    So yes, the Eagle has a right of free speech, but they don't have a right to not face calls for them to stop giving a bigot a platform. If they want to keep (or perhaps gain) respect, maybe they should listen.

  32. #32

    I remember the first time I read a column by this "Alex Knepper" person. I remember getting angry for about two seconds before I realized that he either had an IQ in the single digits or was full of childish glee at being deliberately provocative.

    That's not to say we shouldn't react, but remember who we're dealing with - just another troll, one who laps at your hate and thinks that he is just so bad ass. Intelligent debate won't work here - he'll just slough it off - and neither will vandalism (more attention!). We can only A) ignore this idiot and his horsecrap and B)lobby The Eagle to recognize that "alternative viewpoints" do have their limit, especially when they're the ones funding the paper. Students need to continue to call for The Eagle to simply fire Knepper...and at the same time, we need to remember to NOT FEED THE TROLL.

    But then, what would I know? I don't even have a planet to rule over any more. :(

  33. #33

    Um, those newspapers don't look too destroyed to me.

    Go team anonymous direct action feminists!

  34. #34

    I just don't appreciate his article being published in "American University's Student Voice." From the comments we can tell this is not the the voice of AU students. We shouldn't censor him, just give him a different soap box.

  35. #35

    As some of you know, I am employed be a newspaper that's offered for free on newsstands in public places, so take this as you will.

    Removing all of a free newspapers from their stands is not simply an innocuous political statement. Any free newspaper makes money by promising that a certain number of eyes are likely to fall on the advertisements inside the newspaper. Here at the City Paper, our distribution team keeps an extremely close eye on how many papers it distributes, and how many papers are left waiting in these locations at the end of the week. Why? Because the number of people who pick up our newspaper informs how much advertisers pay to take out real estate inside it. Free newspapers are there to be taken---by many people, not all by one person.

    Guess what happens if the newspapers aren't available on newsstands in the numbers we've promised advertisers? When issues of the Catholic University newspaper, the Tower, were stolen last year, the editors of the newspaper demanded that action be taken against the people who stole the papers, because they had wrongfully intercepted the paper's business transaction and denied the paper's advertisers what they had paid for.

    These copies of the Eagle weren't trashed, but they were removed from the places where students go to pick them up, cutting down the number of eyes that look at them, and essentially stealing advertising revenue. Would the D.C. police see this as a criminal act? Probably not. But it's not harmless.

  36. #36

    The reaction to Alex's article was both well warranted and well executed. Taking the newspapers off the stands, letting people know why they were taken without destroying the property and giving them back to the publisher seems to me to be a perfect direct action response to this attack on women. Don't want people to read the hate speech? Don't give them a chance. I like the tactic it a lot.

    And as to the question of censorship, it's not just that this was "offensive." His article was hate speech, plain and simple. Different viewpoints should absolutely be allowed and even encouraged in academic discourse. But hate speech should not and can not be allowed to be given such a platform.

    As a man I'm sure I can't even begin to understand what women who have been victims of sexual assault felt after reading his article. But as a feminist ally I can say for certain these kinds of attacks won't go unprotested.

  37. GLBTA Resource Center Student Worker

    I just want to clarify that while the GLBTA Resource Center at American University did receive a nomination for Alex Knepper for our annual campus awards, he was not chosen. If you have further questions or concerns, please visit the Resource Center website at


    Student Worker

  38. #38

    I don't think Knepper should be fired for his opinions but he should still be fired for more valid and glaring reasons. For one, he produces articles that are full of uninformed ramblings that certainly do not constitute journalism, even for an opinion piece. He should be fired for failing to live up to any kind of journalistic standard, regardless of how low that is at the Eagle. In real life, a writer can be fired for just writing sub-par, not factual, poorly written pieces that suck, and that's just how newspapers operate, its not censorship, it's having standards. Also, 90% of the article is opinion and free speech, and the other 10% is too dangerous to print. A newspaper would print an article by somebody against the Iraq war, but if that writer says that it's OK to attack the US in retaliation, that is dangerous speech that is not fit to print. Same with this article. Knepper has every right to rally against feminism, but when he says it's ok to attack women and break the law (as being drunk prohibits consent and IS rape under the law), it is dangerous speech that no other respected publication would find it in good taste to print.

  39. #39

    Does that surprise anyone? the GLBTA Resource center only awards those who tow the HRC endorsed Democratic Line. Daniel Choi couldn't get an award from that office.

  40. #40

    This whole "hate speech" crap is a pile of bull from people who can't handle any thought outside their own narrow viewpoint. Don't like it, don't read it. Write a coherent response. Discuss with your friends.


    Even if I would have disagreed with Knepper before, now I'm going to be far more sympathetic because of these NAZI tactics. It's sickening. People like Drew S think they have the RIGHT to decide what the rest of us READ. Screw you Drew.

  41. #41

    Hey all my name is Travis and I currently attend American University. Here are my comments below:

    "DISCLAIMER: I am not endorsing or condemning these actions and this is in no way affiliated with my capacity as either an executive board member of AU Students for Choice or Mens’ Outreach Director of Womens’ Initiative.

    I can say that in my personal opinion I am a strong supporter of freedom of the press, I believe however that the power of journalism comes with a responsibility. When a newspaper refuses to adhere to an editorial policy that has any form of adequate standards, regardless of their political viewpoint, they breed discontent among their readership base. The Eagle’s repeated failure to address this issue proactively is to blame for these incidents, no one else. It is however in their right to choose whoever they want to publish. It is after all their reputation, relevancy and credibility on the line.

    We DO have to protect the most vile forms of free speech, however as students we have the power to question op-ed editing policies and advocate for better quality control. Quality control is defined as standards set by the newspaper with input from various sources, one of which is reader response. It is up to the newspaper ultimately to decide where their standards lie.

    We have peer edited scholarly journals and peer edited opinion columns in newspapers all over America that prevent these types of controversies by setting ethical standards. Such standards are clearly needed in this case.

    This is also why it is dangerous to conflate rape apologist language as being something "progressives" or "feminists" fight against. There’s no community in our great Nation that can claim to not have used rape apologist langugage, it is that widespread. It comes down to a question of ethics, and how professionals, be they scientists peer reviewing a journal piece or op-ed editors peer reviewing a submission, deal with setting an ethical standard. My propisition is that The Eagle needs to begin looking at their policy regarding language addressing rape and sexual assault and perhaps reconsider their ethical approaches to such language.

    In response to the very strong and passionate outrage at rape apologist Alex Knepper’s latest column "Dealing With AU’s Anti-Sex Brigade" []), an unidentified student not endorsed by any organization decided to take direct action.

    The Eagle has repeatedly refused for months to show adequate sensitivity, compassion, and common decency to the well-being of rape survivors on campus and is complicit in promoting a rape culture where survivors are blamed for the crimes of sexual assault perpetrators.

    They have repeatedly failed to adequately work with many organization’s on campus who believe that we can have a strong, free press on campus free to print different viewpoints without allowing hate language which promotes implicitly or explicitly violence against others.

    While I am saddened that the inaction of American University’s campus newspaper has allowed outrage to spread to this point, I am hopeful that they will in the wake of recent events reconsider the editorial policies that hundreds of students have been criticizing for over half a year.

    A free press is not an insulated press, readers have every right to respond to op-eds they disagree with, preferably by means of letters to the editor, submitting their own op-eds and applying to write for The Eagle.

    I stand for free speech, not hate speech. It’s time The Eagle took responsibility for their words.





  42. #42

    How dare you Alex!

    I am a 25 year old male who was raped by an 18 year old girl. She got me very drunk, she took me back to her apartment, and then she took all my clothes off. Well, you won't guess what happened next?! She actually had sex with me!!! Can you believe it?! How dare the girl! Quite obviously this was first degree rape.

    Just as I don't expect a girl to have sex with me when I am on the bus to school, I don't expect innocently being drunk, naked and in a girls room leading to sex!!!! My gosh, what is the World coming too!

  43. #43

    Vandalism, are you kidding!?

    Vandalism would be breaking something I guess, but not crinkling papers and moving them.

    Crinkling paper is vandalism, shoot, that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, but i guess at a ridiculously expensive university, people like to keep their paper nice and crisp.

    I think Knepper got off light here, and deserves something a bit more than having the paper crinkled.

  44. #44

    Please. Free speech is one thing but public safety is another thing. As the partner of a survivor of sexual assault and friend of other survivors, I am truly appalled by the institutional and public support for this boy's opinions. He can hold them, but they don't belong in print.

    The response was perfect! It is a great example of peaceful direct action and is COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE. Great job!

  45. #45

    There should be more articles and discussions about false accusations of rape. These have become a real epidemic on campuses and elsewhere. I think the public is finally starting to catch on and most rape accusations today are not believed unless there is other evidence. Please publish more stories about this important subject. Thanks.

  46. #46

    The 'underground' media outlet at American U called The Examiner just published its take on the matter- surprisingly wise considering the situation:

  47. #47

    Frankly, Knepper's article is rather tame. I suspect what likely drew feminists' ire was his comments about feminism and feminist theories, which it is quite likely no feminists actually want to or can address. His comments regarding date rape make a convenient spring board and cover for what is most likely an ideological disagreement.

    That said, his assertion that "any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK?" is fairly insensitive. Yes, "date rape" is an incoherent feminist concept. Yes, there is only rape or consensual sex (one either has consent or one does). Yes, claiming to be a victim of "date rape" because one regretted a sex encounter the next day is an egregious move. However, all those points can be made without belittling victims of sexual assault. That portion of his article could trigger victims and does at least imply Knepper denies the existence of "date rape." In making that sort of comment Knepper ironically engages in the same kind of nonsense that many feminists do.

  48. #48

    Bree, did you actually read?

  49. #49

    I am so sick of people, like Knepper, who are not survivors, trying to qualify and explain the experience of rape. Maybe if they could swallow their privilege for half a second they could begin to understand the pain and terror of such a trauma. And then they would shut up and go away and stop making the world even harder for those of us who have to survive the reality of sexual assault.

  50. #50

    I wish i could say I am shocked and amazed at the childish response from those opposed to Knepper's article. This is typical behavior from any group of people who believe something a certain way and have that belief challenged. Rather than taking into consideration what Knepper is saying, you all act out and resort to name calling because you are all children and have no idea how to debate or defend your point of view civilly, or in any manner even resembling adulthood.
    You disagree with what he says only because you are too dense and unintelligent to even try to understand the depth of what he is saying. You focus only on key words and phrases, and break it down till it's taken out of context, as if to take a page right out of the right-wing christian extremist playbook. Way to go. You sure are showing him.
    Is the right to free speech forgotten in the halls of this university? You people are college students, really? Why is no one agreeing with Cantalone, that starting a 'discussion' is healthy and mature? I despise and deplore you over-sized children. You do not deserve the privileges you have.

  51. #51

    This alone has sealed my decision to never attend this college. I don't want to share an establishment where I feel that my rape will be taken as something I deserved or asked for. The fact that the school allowed this to be published on their campus paper, an article that so explicitly places the blame on rape victims, is disgusting.

    You have lost a student, AU, and I'm sure many others.

  52. #52

    You do realize this is exactly the kind of thing that Rush uses to go on about feminazis dont you? Freedom of speech is great, but only when you agree with me. Tut, tut...

  53. #53

    Leah, I am really sad to hear that. I'm an AU alumna and I had a truly fantastic experience there - surrounded by people and staff who care and are supportive. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, nowhere is. But please don't take this ridiculous episode to be representative of the entire university all the time. The Eagle is a poor excuse for a paper, and the columnist in question is a poor excuse for a student.

    I hope you'll reconsider.

  54. #54

    He continues in the comments section:

    "If you are an anonymous, attractive young woman in a sexually-charged environment, you have tacitly agreed to sexual come-ons, at the bare minimum. And if you follow a guy to his room in such an environment, you shouldn’t be surprised when he starts making out with you and squeezing your ass. In fact, you should probably be aroused."

    He literally states that there are situations in which women can and should be treated as nameless, inanimate sex objects, and that they have no right to reject (male) sexuality.

    No woman, anywhere, ever, is anonymous.

  55. #55


    Youre planning on getting raped in college?

  56. #56

    Also to Leah,

    If you are ignorant enough to make a decision on where you go to college based off of opinion piece in a school newspaper, you're right AU is not the place for you. Perhaps a community college is?

  57. #57


    Are you kids brainwashed into thinking journalism is always and forever top priority? It is an INDUSTRY. These are YOUR CLASSMATES that we are talking about, women (AND MEN) who are being harassed on a regular basis, harassment that drives towards this outcome: Rape. Put down your Bill of Rights and your newspapers and educate yourself on human rights.

  58. #58

    As someone with a journalism degree, it's obvious Alex Knepper has a free-pass from the paper to act as unprofessionally as he pleases. Not only is the tone of the article unprofessional, but fighting with commenters in the comments section? Cussing out people who disagree with him in a public forum? Ugh. Any professionally-minded paper would have shown his ass the DOOR by now. That is not journalistic ethics, even for the sake of "editorial". He will never make anything of his career outside of this one pathetic paper, unless it's writing for Hustler.

  59. #59

    Some hypocrites love the constitution only when it doesn't apply to them, how pathetic!

  60. #60
  61. #61

    Censorship Hater March 29th, 2010 3:38 pm

    "As much as I disagree with Knepper, I cannot possibly condone censorship."

    Oh, fuck off. If he was condoning and minimizing violence against any marginalized group other than women, you'd condone censorship.

  62. #62

    As this matter is largely a mistake made by the editors, I am providing the missing editor's name. They are both responsible, perhaps even him to a larger degree, since he is readying himself to be editor in chief next year. Hopefully he is added to this story.

    Charlie Szold, Managing editor

  63. #63

    AWOL, that is a great article. And imagining that asshole diving into the comments section to defend his articles against all comers is kind of making me giggle.

  64. #64


    I find it excruciatingly difficult to believe your claim to a journalism degree, especially when you denounce any attempt at honesty and accuracy as unprofessional simply because it goes against your feminist sensiblilties.

    He[Knepper] stated points about sexuality which are valid, albeit blunt and crude. Simply because you lack the necessary intelligence to be able to absorb that is your fault, not his. If you truly had a degree in journalism, then you would know this. I refute your claim, and your stance on this issue. You are, as are the majority of commentators on this article, inable to process the actual situation at hand, and therefore do not warrant a voice. Your oppositional stance against Knepper is the equivalent of a 3 year old disagreeing with the current Health Care Reform Bill and claiming they were an actual member of congress involved in the matter, without any facts or documentation to back it up. You aught to be ashamed of yourself.

    I wish to call out at this point that if you, Em, truly cared about the issue, you would comment on this and defend yourself, but most likely you, along with all the rest of you nay sayers, have no vested interest in truth or justice, nor actual journalistic integrity, and as such, will probably never visit this article again. You've all posted your worthless drivel, and have moved on I imagine.

    Once again, I despise and deplore the lot of you. I hope that none of you ever manage to acquire a position of any real authority in this nation, as it is obvious you are ill-equiped to handle such.

  65. #65


    What in the world are you babbling about? Did you read the article? Did you research the subject? Or are you, like nearly all others, simply skimming the article and the comments made by others and commenting based on whatever the popular opinion is.

    You, and all those like you, are representative of all that is wrong with Americas youth today. You have no ability to process information, no ability to think for yourself, or process information properly. You grasp at key words and phrases, and side with popular opinion simply so you don't feel like you're left out.

    You, and your tactics, are despicable. No one's body or consent was desecrated. This is a debate about sexuality and defining the boundaries of gender, which do exist regardless of what you may wish to believe and, more importantly, this is about breaking down and defining what rape is, because, as many men today have learned, there are a great deal of women who have, and will, use the current hazy definition of rape to their benifit.

    Either pay attention to the subject matter, or stay your tongue, WTF. You are simply muddying up an already complex topic.

  66. #66

    In terms of free speech and censorship, Knepper has the right to free speech just like everyone else. Similarly, people have the right to disagree (free speech goes both ways,) and get terribly pissed off (rightly so, in this case.)

    The biggest problem here? Isn't a question of free speech - it's the fact that Knepper is spouting off views that are shared by countless others. Our society is a rape culture, and these views are the result of this rape culture, buffered by a few thousand years of development.

  67. #67


    First, let me say that it's a pleasure to read a comment made by someone who isn't going half-cocked about all this, forgive the expression. Let me first address that you are correct, Everyone has a right to free speech. Secondly, everyone has a right to disagree with whatever speech is given so freely. However, that is where you and I part ways on this issue.

    While I agree that Knepper is recanting views shared by countless others, I do NOT see that as a problem, nor do I equate the stand that Knepper, nor those whom agree with his statements have taken, with rape. I think you, along with nearly all those who have commented on this article have severely missed that fact.

    Let me illuminate the subject. Knepper, nor those who agree with him, are pro-rape. In fact, we are quite opposed to the idea. What you and your ilk are missing is that we are equally opposed to the term and issue of 'rape' being used against men for nefarious purposes and/or reasons, as is wont to happen these days. I myself have known two men who have been falsely accused of rape.

    This is not a subject to be dealt with lightly, however you seem to believe that only women have a right to be upset about it, when it has become so easy in our society to accuse a man of such and have him strung up and punished without EVEN QUESTIONING THE VALIDITY OF THE ACCUSATION. It is just as serious to falsely accuse someone of rape as it is to commit the act. THIS is just PART of what Knepper has addressed in his article, but you and countless others are too myopic to grasp that.

    Our society is a rape culture? Really? You lost me and whatever respect I had for you with this statement. Did you even pay attention to world history in high school? In college, if you've even been to college that is? If you had, you would know that in our society, today, women have the MOST freedom they've ever enjoyed.

    We are less a society of rape and more a society of 'lets do whatever it takes to appeal to the cry-baby masses who can't handle anything difficult and therefore immediately play victim to whatever crime fits their situation'. The majority of people in our society today abuse the freedoms we are afforded, and as a result nearly nobody has any accountability for their actions, instead trying to push the blame off on someone else; For example a woman who goes to a frat party, gets drunk, sleeps with a stranger, wakes up in the morning and regrets it, and therefore decides the only way to deal with it all is to accuse her one-night-stand of rape.

    This. Is. Wrong.

    No matter what yarn you try to spin, you cannot hide that fact. You want to ignore the truth of this by focusing on the rather abrupt way in which Knepper brings it up, but you are doing yourself and your stance a disservice. No one here is condoning rape, least of all Knepper. Quit trying to sidestep the issue of your genders inability to be held accountable for their actions.

  68. #68

    Good god. "We aren't pro-rape, just pro-victim blaming. What? Is that bad?"

    Does AU's paper have a weekly column by a minority female columnist who is as stridently leftist and feminist as this jackass is rightwing confrontational? I'll bet not.

    Still, sadly, grabbing up all the free papers was a bad move. It reminds me of when an independent freep at my school did an expose of how the provost was discouraging date rape victims from pressing charges involving fraternities. All copies were quickly gathered and vanished by the Greek council. So I'd rather this little tactic stay inside the pandora box.

  69. #69


    Knepper did not condone rape, however, his presentation was insensitive and could be fairly read as a dismissal of a particular kind of rape. To that extent, I agree with feminists in their complaints about his comments. As I stated above, Knepper could have pointed out the flaws in feminist theories without making comments that might hurt victims of abuse. Granted, his phrasing is such that the scenario he presented in the column is not rape. However, it is understandable why victims of "date rape" might infer that Knepper condones or denies rape.

  70. #70


    “A misunderstanding of censorship can arise on college campuses when inexperienced editors are unsure what to do when faced with controversial views, said Christopher Hanson, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland.

    “The obligation of news organizations is to balance debate with having certain standards of what they believe is acceptable speech,” he said. “The editor should not consider herself powerless to come in and kill a column if that column falls below certain standards.”“

  71. #71

    Hey JT,

    Thanks for being a disrespectful jackass, but I kind of didn't follow up until now because some of us have lives outside of trolling blog posts.

    I send your question back to you: did YOU read MY post? I was saying that Alex Knepper's behavior would never be tolerated at a professional paper, not because of the article, but because of his behavior in the comments below the article: if you scroll down, you can see him fighting with commentators, calling them names, and otherwise lacking all class. Professional writers in professional newspapers do NOT do this (I challenge you to find an example) because it's inappropriate. You write an article, you put it out there, and then you take the criticism. As far as his article, it wasn't professional either: he resorted to name-calling. This editorial would insure he never even got an INTERVIEW at most major papers, much less a job.

    If need be, writers can write a respectful, calm followup to an article to respond to criticism, but tone is important in journalism, and Knepper's was awful, disrespectful, unprofessional, and downright trashy. I can hear my prof from my editorial class's voice right now; he would be giving this piece a solid "F" and questioning this guy's future in the business.

    Then again, I suspect you might BE Knepper, in which case, have a fun career with Hustler!

  72. #72

    The folks who say that women's consent can be presumed under some tenuous set of circumstances appear to think that this isn't rape apology simply because they have a different definition of "rape." That won't wash. That's in intellectually disingenuous game. One could say, "I define rape to exclude anything a professional athlete does, because all people are presumed to consent to any penetration by any professional athlete at any time." Such a person could then be expected to argue that neither Kobe Bryant nor Mike Tyson was a rapist, while still saying they're against "rape." It's a transparent dodge. These people want to narrow the definition of rape until it is so restricted that it does not apply to the majority of rapes.

  73. #73

    While I didn't agree with everything in Knepper's column, I don't know what he said that leads everyone to think he's approving of rape. (Or whatever a rape apologist is. What a ridiculous term!)

    Regardless of what was said, why can't people simply express their disagreement in writing or in a debate or something along those lines? Why do vandalism and violence have to come into it?

  74. #74

    Two years ago, Robert Wone, a young attorney, was sexually assaulted - and murdered - in the Washington DC home (15th and Swann Street, NW) of people he thought were his friends. The trial for obstruction of justice begins in May (who committed the rape and murder is unsolved). I suggest Mr. Knepper visit this website and then put his reporting ambitions to work to solve this crime; and please let us know if after reading the blog your opinion is still that ‘he deserved it’.

    Second, I suggest that Mr. Knepper rent the movie “Rape; Cries From the Heartland”, a documentary on rape, and then report back if he still thinks that the women “were asking for it”.

    Third, it follows from Mr. Knepper’s argument (that sex with a person who can’t give consent is okay if the circumstances allow it) that sexual abuse of children is also okay, as well as the thousands of rapes of women in the Congo, Sudan and other war zones where people “put themselves” in vulnerable positions. Assuming Mr. Knepper does not advocate this (assuming his article is just poorly written but that he is a decent person), with some thought he should realize that his argument falls apart. I suggest he then issue a public apology, make a donation to the DC Rape Crisis Center and take a couple of classes in basic writing and logic.

    Finally, this is not a ‘free speech’ issue. Students fund the paper and therefore should have a say into a minimum amount of common sense in the articles that are published. The actions of the students who piled the papers up at the recycle bins and put up signs, were the equivilent of “performance art”, not hurting any person or thing but making a point that Mr. Knepper seems clueless about: rape is never okay.

    FYI - the DC Rape Crisis Center operates a 24 hour hotline where survivors can gain support and remain completely anonymous: 202-333-rape

  75. #75

    Tom, none of what you wrote is actually what Knepper stated. That seems to be the major problem with the feminist reaction to this. They cannot challenge what really pissed them off, i.e. Knepper's thoughts about the feminist theory of gender being a "social construct," so they blast him for his comments about "date rape." Only, they are not addressing his actual comment, which was:

    "Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.

    “Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex—especially anonymous sex—can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!"

    Nowhere did he state that rape does not happen, that women deserve to be raped, or in anyway condone rape. What he did was challenge the idea that a woman who had sex while drunk and regretted the encounter the next day was not raped, which is a fair statement. Likewise, he also challenged the idea that our social scripts mean nothing, i.e. going back to a strangers bedroom means that a person wants to do something other than sex.

    One could criticize Knepper's implication that going to said bedroom means a person gave consent for sex. One could challenge whether regretted sex counts as rape. However, to simply assert that because Knepper does not agree with the feminist perspective he is a "rape apologist" or is "pro-rape" is immature and egregious.

    Following the logic applied by feminists in this situation, it would be fair to feminists "pro-rape" and "rape apologists" for the typical feminist position on sexual violence against boys and men. That would be too would be an egregious claim to make based solely on an ideology difference, and that is despite that most feminists actually do not think boys and men can be raped.

  76. #76

    This buffoon should not be censored. People like this should be free to prattle away to their heart's content. Think about it. Wouldn't you rather know who the loonies, odballs, wackos and people with very strange ideas are? That way you can avoid them like the plague.

    If you don't know who these creeps are how do you know to avoid them and warn any other rational person to do likewise?

  77. #77

    As usual, whenever the subject of rape or sex assualt comes up, the feminists go nuts with shaming language and men aren't even allowed to express an opinion without attack. The issue here is simple: the author believes that "regretted sex" should not be considered rape and subject the regretted male to life destoying criminal prosecution. This seems like a reasonable concept. ALmost none of these comments address this issue. The implication is that one night of drunken, regretted sex is SO BAD (even though she can't really remember it) for the woman that it's totally appropriate to label the guy a rapist and destroy the rest of his life (even though he was drunk too, the woman cooperated at the time, etc.) Only a fool or a feminist could believe this is "fair and equal" ttreatment. Feminists treat men worse than dogs. Go ahead and flag my comment.

  78. #78

    To all the men worried about being accused of rape when they thought the girl was willing at a party where she or both were drunk... Get her number, and maybe even see her home safely. Then you can call her later to hook up without consent issues. (Since being intoxicated to the point of impairment means she cannot give consent that will hold up in court) I'm tired of people complaining women need to 'protect themselves' and live in a locked box to avoid rape. Men who fear being falsely accused of rape can protect themselves - by not having sex with drunk or high girls/women.
    Its not the victim/potential victims job to not do a crime. I could lock my house or apt up like for Knox and something could still be stolen because it has windows. That doesn't make it my fault someone stole my stuff, its the thief's fault.

  79. #79

    Am I the only one completely unsurprised that he's a Paglia fan?

  80. #80

    All the way in Austin, Texas we students of the University of Texas at Austin are shocked and disgusted by this joke of a man, Alex Knepper. Sad that his need for attention centers around such hatred against women. And sad that the attention he is bringing American University is so negative. How glad am I not to be a student at a school that allows such hate to be spewed at its student body.

  81. #81

    To Fred — I don't know what world you live in but I find it extremely hard to believe that most women who have sex they later regret choose to report it as a rape. You obviously have no concept of what it's like to be a victim of rape, and I'm glad because as a victim of rape, I wouldn't wish it upon anyone, not even my worst enemy. And by the way, my rapist was never punished — because I was too ashamed and terrified to do anything about it at the time and equally as terrified to not be believed and belittled by people like you and Alex Knepper. You probably find it hard to believe since most people don't walk around sporting a "I survived rape" t-shirt or baseball cap, but I am certain you have many friends and family members who have been victims of rape or attempted assaults. I know that out of my 5 closest friends, 4 have been raped, 2 by their dates. How disgusting to go around spewing this rhetoric when you have no idea how many of those in your own life are being traumatized by this joke of an op-ed writer...and YOU!

  82. TexasUnderConstitution

    Texas, if you think UT Austin is not covered by the First Amendment, you're wrong. If the school tried to ban hate speech it would lose a lawsuit fast.

  83. #83

    TUC, there's a reason why there's a difference between prior constraint by the gov't, and constraint by publishers. One is called censorship, the other is called proper restraint and good taste. The journalism professor quoted in this kerfuffle basically said that the latter should have probably been exercised in this case.

  84. #84

    Hey everyone, some interesting new stuff in this interview Alex Knepper did with The New Gay:

  85. #85

    My feelings are as follows:

    Nobody deserves to be raped. Period.

    Talking about the fact that the lines regarding rape can sometimes blur when alcohol is involved is not by itself hate speech. However, bringing up the topic requires a modicum of tact, at least in my view; Knepper clearly lacks such, or fails to express it, in his column. He brings up some interesting concepts, but does so very poorly.

    However, that doesn't make it right to pull the entire paper from the distribution points unless you're the publisher. Period.

  86. Daniel Martínez

    I agree with the article by Mr Knepper. His method of transmiting the message are a little bit unusual. But it is true. I ask the people in here a question. Why is it that men don't get drunk near their gay friends?
    Because we are responsable for our actions and we know the danger. Perhaps women could learn from us to prevent dangerous situations.

  87. #87

    I do not agree the suggestion that "consent" is required could inhibit man to be "manly", if someone want to play musculine and feminine, please play with your girlfriend, not a stranger or your schoolmate in a party that were not your girfriend, simply the wrong setting.
    It is true there were false allegations, the university perhaps shall pay more attention on that and to be fair to both parties, American University is not a public university, students basically has no right of " due process" there, and it is institutional weakness that the university assume both the role of the prosecutor and judge at the same time, It seems natually tend to baised for the person who file the complaint. Maybe the university shall consider how to be more fair in their investigation in their procedure in handling cases, so every case can be given a fair trial, not just handle own threat or punishement, that does not win confidence. It is the univeristy official 's job to be fair and investigate thoroughly and what they are paid for with the student customer's money.

    I suspect heavy penalty can prevent every inciedent or how much effective it actually is in preventing future incidents, That is really the best way?

    The University has the responsibility to educate students, for example, organize more meaningful activities that students interested in, instead of letting them become party animal. The univeristy has the responsibility to build a positive culture on campus. if they ignore the duty, When incients happen, just went out with punishments, it is not responsible educator.

    Some students perhaps shall raise their level of conciousness and assume more responsibility toward their own and other people's life. Life is not party.

  88. #88

    I hope that if Alex Knepper is ever hired by a company or organization, that he is very closely supervised. This is not someone who "plays well with others." He seems very angry at women in general and feminists in particular.

  89. #89

    Huh, I think the newspaper perhaps shall make it clear this is one person's personal view....And in order to balance the diffrent view points, maybe better to introduce some other viewpoints, including those opposed the one viewpoint that was published, and make it in the style of open discussion or conversation, that would have avoid the critism the paper face now---especially the editor seems to be aware that this viewpoint maybe in dispute, an they wishe it would invoke discussion but it seems fall short of expression of that intention.

    Perhaps that would avoid a major controversy against newspaper and the author. I believed even the author will face less critism if his opinion is posted as one viewpoint out of many during a conversation.

    Every one committe errors in their understaning and when they try to express their opinions, after all, this person is only 20. He perhaps just need to learn more and be corrected or improved in his unerstanding on particular thing.

    I personally think we need more open discussion and conversation instead of less. Like the discussion here, make truth much more obvious to every one. It is not wise to silence the voices, even it might be wrong at times.

  90. #90

    This all reminds me how glad I am to be done with college. One has less time for overwrought, hysterical arguments that have zero bearing on the world when one has a job and actual responsibilities. In college, saying you care about something passes as activism. Accusing someone of being bad or immoral passes for being good and moral. Both sides in this dust-up have a lot of growing up to do.

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