Vanderbilt, Alcorn State And The Media: Building A Culture Of Misogyny

Monday, September 16, 2013

When college athletes, usually football or basketball players, commit crimes, the stories are reported in starkly different terms than when anyone else commits a similar crime.  I’ve noticed, over the last few months, that the rape case at Vanderbilt is no exception.  Coverage of the case encourages a culture that devalues women.

When writers and commentators discuss the Vanderbilt rape case, they primarily are concerned about:  1) the impact this case will have on the Vanderbilt football program as a whole 2) whether Vanderbilt will have all its starters for the next game, including the starting quarterback who now appears to be in some way implicated, and 3) that the prosecutor is possibly being “over-zealous” in prosecuting those involved.

At what point did the gang rape of an unconscious young woman become about football?  Why is no one, at Vanderbilt University or elsewhere, discussing how to change a culture in which a horrific gang rape is covered up so that the football season isn’t ruined?  Why are we talking about football at all?  The fact that these monsters play football is completely irrelevant.  They have been indicted on felony charges, which means that a grand jury determined that they probably committed the crime, and should no longer be college students, and by extension college athletes, at any school. 

Chris Boyd, the player who pleaded guilty to a crime in connection with covering up the rape, has been “suspended” from the football team.  His football eligibility is irrelevant; he should be expelled from the university.  Does Vanderbilt have no code of conduct for students?  One would hope that Vanderbilt, which proudly touts its purported "academics over athletics" philosophy, would do better.  Yet the school has managed to stall, not release information, and try to hush things up at every opportunity. 

Even more shocking, Jaborian McKenzie, one of the accused Vanderbilt rapists, immediately became a starter at Alcorn State University after being dismissed from Vanderbilt him, while on bond for aggravated rape.   Alcorn State said that it didn’t “sufficiently examine” the charges against him before allowing him to play.  Apparently, Alcorn State's first reaction to a woman being violently gang-raped in a Vanderbilt dorm was "how can we capitalize on this to win some football games?"

Heather DeGaetano


Silence From Rhonda Thurman

I find it deplorable that Rhonda Thurman is, once again, voicing her opinions so quickly and so vehemently.  She seems to be the one school board member that wants media and/or press coverage every time the opportunity avails itself.  However, when it comes to responding to personal emails sent directly to her…she zips her lips. I, as all of the citizens of Hamilton ... (click for more)

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding

County school board members are gearing up to set priorities for the next round of new school construction in Hamilton County. Lee McDade, assistant superintendent, said officials may know by the spring how much money will be available to build new schools or add on to existing ones - or do a combination of both. Board member Rhonda Thurman said a proposal to build a new Chattanooga ... (click for more)

New Walker County Commissioner Whitfield To Move Public Meetings To Evenings And To Larger Venue; Will Also Be Listening Sessions

Walker County Sole Commissioner-Elect Shannon Whitfield said there will be a new arrangement for holding of public commissioner sessions when he takes place at the start of January. Current Commissioner Bebe Heiskell has held Thursday meetings at 3:30 p.m. from time to time in a conference room at her office near the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette. Mr. Whitfield said those ... (click for more)

Hixson's Courtney Jones Headed To Hiwassee

Courtney Jones is almost finished with one important segment of her life and she's not wasting any time getting on with the next part. Jones is currently a senior at Hixson High School, but she will graduate next week and heading to Madisonville where she will be playing volleyball at the college level for the Hiwassee Lady Tigers. Jones has been an integral part of Hixson's ... (click for more)

Walker Valley, Soddy Daisy Big Mat Winners

The Walker Valley Mustangs recorded pins in the first five matches and never looked back as they beat host Ooltewah in a prep wrestling match Thursday evening by a resounding 61-12 final. The match began at 120 pounds and James Jur put his team ahead with a first-period pin.  Cameron Dwyer, Ethan West, Dillon Clark and Zeth Haynie followed with pins and it never got any ... (click for more)