Lincoln University president makes controversial statements about rape

Dr. Robert R. Jennings. President of Lincoln University in Oxford, PA
Dr. Robert R. Jennings. president of Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania

The president of Lincoln University, the country’s first degree-granting HBCU, is under fire for comments he made regarding student rape claims. The university’s president, Robert R. Jennings, made the comments at the school’s annual women-only convocation which occurred in September on the main campus in Oxford, PA. A four-minute YouTube video was uploaded on Nov. 1 and has caused some students and faculty members to call for Jennings’ resignation.

During the video clip, Jennings makes various comments about student rape and female imagery. However, for many his comments seem to put the blame on the victim and not the perpetrator of the crime. Jennings is quoted as stating, “if women don’t respect themselves, men won’t either.”

He goes on to state “We will use you up, if you allow us to use you. Well, guess what? When it comes time for us to make a final decision, we’re going to go down the hall and marry the girl with the long dress on. That’s [the] one we’re going to take home to mama. You know I’m right about it. We have, we had, on this campus last semester three cases of young women who after having done whatever they did with the young men, and then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted to turn out — guess what they did? They went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.’ ”

A statement released by Lincoln University regarding the controversial comments supported Jennings’ statements in his talk with the female students. The statement said in part that Jennings’ comments addressed “making informed decisions about dating, in an effort to protect them from some males who may mislead them. He holds the same kind of conversation with male students in their convocation.

“In Jennings talk with the female students he talks about three cases of alleged student on student rape which occurred in the last semester. In those cases, the female students recanted their testimony regarding being raped. Jennings attributes this to the scope of a rape investigation on campus.”

Jennings is heard to say in the video, “So then we have to do an investigation. We have to start pulling back the layers and asking all kinds of questions, and when we start trying to collect the data and asked the questions. … Because we know that possibly somebody’s life is getting ready to change for the rest of their life.”

The university  has stated that three women at the school had recently lied about being raped, however the rapes did not all occur last semester. According to the university, one of alleged rapes occurred last semester and two occurred the previous semester. Rapes on college campuses are under increased scrutiny nationwide and have been the subject of recent legislation to increase the penalties not only to the student, but also to the institution, if a proper investigation is not followed. However, a recent study of sexual assaults on campus shows that only 5.9 percent of rape accusations are false. Jennings is also under fire due to poor fundraising for the university and received a vote of “no confidence” by the faculty union.

The YouTube video can be viewed below:

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