Roofies and Rumors: If it wasn’t for date rape, would Stags ever get laid?

Claremont College stereotypes are often expressed by a well-known roofie analogy: “Harvey Mudd makes the roofies and sells them to Pomona, who markets them to CMC, who buys and uses them on Scripps girls, while Pitzer uses the drugs for recreational purposes.”

Though many groups at the 5Cs joke about their own reputations, none is as harshly slurred as that of the CMC male – the notorious “creeper” of the colleges, the most likely to hit on and date rape girls. Surprisingly, rather than developing throughout a semester or year, this stereotype appears to take hold during a new student’s first days.

When first-year Scripps student Alden Weaver arrived on campus, “everyone said to be cautious of CMC guys, because they have a bad reputation.” Pitzer freshman Elisa Claire knew even before. “Of course I came here with a stereotype of CMC guys,” Claire said. “I thought they were creepy douchebags.”

Given the hype about the “creepy” Stags, there should be some evidence. Security reports, however, are far from enlightening. CMC constitutes less than one-fifth of the 15 date rape cases reported recently in the Consortium. According to 2007–2009 crime reports published by Claremont College officials, CMC’s campus had only four cases of forcible sexual assault. Although six were reported on Pomona’s campus, the reputation of Sagehen men has not been affected.

Campus safety officers support these findings. Shahram Ariane, Director of Campus Security, told the Port Side, “I must say that I have never heard this [stereotype] about the CMC male students in the five months that I have served with the Claremont Colleges.” Ariane also stated that officials with a longer history at the 5Cs were similarly unaware, and that “we have been unable to find data that would support these allegations.”

Still, the rumors must have an origin. When asked about the presence of date rape drugs, a CMC junior, who requested to remain anonymous, explained, “No, we don’t have date rape drugs here… unless you call alcohol a date rape drug.”

In fact, at the 5Cs it seems that the overconsumption of alcohol toward a sexual end is considered synonymous to date rape. Pitzer’s alcohol awareness program, a mandatory two-hour program during orientation week, establishes a baseline: if a woman is intoxicated, even if she gives consent, the sex is still not consensual because the alcohol has impaired her judgment.

With this in mind, the predominance of alcohol on CMC’s wet campus must contribute to the stereotype. “CMC is constantly littered with red cups, and you can virtually see students, namely guys, getting drunk every night of the week,” Pomona sophomore Megan Johnson said. “I guess we just tend to associate alcohol with promiscuity.”

Though date rape is not occurring with the frequency that the stereotype suggests, CMC males’ forwardness is an issue. “It’s just the kind of people that come here,” said CMC senior Alexander Chanock, who laughed when asked about date rape “myth.” “We have the econ[omics] and government guys, and they tend to be alpha males.”

There is no factual evidence to support the myth that date rape by CMC males is a common crime. Though CMC males may pursue the opposite sex with more audacity than males at the other schools, this trait has been exaggerated and blown out of proportion to create the current stereotype.

Claire sums up the allegations: “When I first came here, all I saw were CMC guys playing a lot of beer pong. Of course that is going to give them a bad reputation! But I have CMC guys in my classes, and have gotten to know them, and am friends with them. I’m sure there are creepy guys at all the schools, and CMC guys just get the most negative attention, which is a shame.”

Correction: In the Claremont Port Side‘s print edition, Alexander Chanock’s name was misspelled and his class year was incorrectly cited. They have both been corrected. The Port Side regrets the error.

I am a second year student at Pitzer College intending to major in English World Literature and minor in Spanish. In my free time I am an avid outdoors enthusiast and enjoy sea kayaking, backpacking, mountain biking, and playing volleyball.


11 Responses to “Roofies and Rumors: If it wasn’t for date rape, would Stags ever get laid?”

  1. Olden Atwoody says:

    Start publically expelling a few rich students. Shame them into their working careers. This will stop.

  2. Anna says:

    Okay I’m not arguing that all CMC boys are rapists, but if there were 4 recent cases of assault reported at CMC and 6 at Pomona, then CMC actually has the proportionally higher percentage of rapes (Pomona is double number of students). I couldn’t get past this oversight in the article – it proves that the “rumor” that CMC boys are more dangerous than Pomona boys is actually based on statistical fact!

    Also, as a side note, the idea that women can’t give consent when under the influence of alcohol is actually the law, not just some Pitzer-established baseline. Although it would probably be hard to get a conviction, men (and women) should know that they can be prosecuted for taking advantage of an intoxicated partner.

    • Samantha Morse says:

      That is a good point that proportionally there were more date rapes at CMC than Pomona. Still in schools of 1200 to 1500, 4-6 date rapes in 3 years is not statistically significant (but that is not to negate the trauma of a rape happening!). However, of course there are rapes that go unreported, so the true statistics are unknown.

      I was also interested in your statement that there is a California law about the inability to give consent when under the influence of alcohol. I too was under the impression that this was not merely a Pitzer baseline, but a California law. Yet online research didn’t completely verify this. UCSC’s website for the sexual assault office explained that, “Sexual intercourse is considered non-consensual and, therefore, rape when the person is incapable of giving consent because s/he is incapacitated from alcohol and/or drugs” and cites Penal Code, 261.6 (look at http://www2.ucsc.edu/title9-sh/whatissa.htm). However, I could not find an official government/legal source containing Penal Code 261.6 online, so I did not include it in the article.

      I agree that men (and women) should know that they can be persecuted for taking advantage of an intoxicated partner. But I also think there is something to be said about protecting yourself, and not becoming so intoxicated as to be unable to prevent yourself from getting in dangerous situations.

      Thank you for your comment Anna!

    • No. There were not proportionally more date rapes at CMC than at Pomona because Pomona does not have “double number of students.”

      According to Pomona’s Fall 2010 Enrollment Statistics [PDF link], Pomona has 1560 students. Claremont McKenna, according to its Fall 2010 Enrollment Statistics, has 1252.

      Thus, Pomona has 3.84 date rapes per thousand students (over whatever time period) and CMC has 3.19 per thousand. As a matter of statistical fact (and at least as far as this limited statistic, with its limited significance), Pomona has the higher percentage of rapes.

      • Samantha Morse says:

        Thank you for the correction in calculating those numbers. Still, it only furthers my second point that the numbers are not statistically significant (3.whatever/1000 is minuscule).
        Furthermore, with the understanding that the schools have a .65 difference in their statistics, I don’t think it’s fair to point the finger at either school for having more rapes.

        • Yep. :)

          The numbers don’t prove much other than that the comparative rumor (CMC men are more dangerous than Pomona men) has no real basis in these statistics. The statistical significance issue is definitely still present…

  3. Anna says:

    Okay I admit to being wrong on the math, but I actually think Samantha’s point about non-reported rapes is crucial. What I was trying to get at in my comment is that I don’t think the fact that only 4 rapes have been reported to campus security disproves the rumor that CMC boys can be too aggressive. I have heard stories of girls being pressured and made to feel uncomfortable, and while these experiences aren’t reported to statistics collectors, they are spread by word of mouth and perpetuate the negative stereotype. I also agree with Samantha’s point about the responsibility on the part of the girl to avoid getting too intoxicated to be able to escape dangerous situations, but ultimately I think we as a community should examine our college culture, in which drunkenness is considered sexy.

    • I completely agree that college culture (I don’t think it’s limited to Claremont) promotes drinking and, troublingly, promotes drinking to excess and promotes risky sexual activities while drunk. This is problematic.

      While the four reported rapes (four too many, to be sure) does not disprove the rumor about CMC men’s aggressiveness, it doesn’t prove it either. Stories of CMC men being overly aggressive may be circulated and thus perpetuate the stereotype; they also may circulate because they perpetuate the stereotype. Stories about Pitzer men being aggressive won’t get repeated enough because they don’t fit the stereotype (confirmation bias). Likewise why we hear more about Pitzer potheads than Mudd potheads and more about computer science students at Mudd than at Pomona. Mudd potheads, Pomona CS majors and aggressive Pitzer men all exist…

      But at the end of the day, the stereotype about CMC men is not borne out by this particular statistic. Which should tell us something: that stereotype, just like most stereotypes, has a pretty tenuous connection with reality.

      • Michelle Lynn Kahn says:

        I agree with much of what you’re saying (yes, there are many potheads at Mudd, not just at Pitzer, for example). I think that this relates interestingly to the way the dominant historiographical narrative is shaped over time, particularly in respect to colonial representations of native culture (constantly reinforcing tropes, a la the work of Edward Said in Orientalism).

        Nonetheless, your last statement is disturbing. Stereotypes, I think, are very often based on reality. The fact that the stereotype doesn’t encompass all the traits of the culture or group does not make it ungrounded.

        • Exactly. Identity and knowledge are complicated and often self-reinforcing. And these stereotypes are the real first draft of history; journalism about them (like this article!) are only the second draft. They’re totally historiographical.

          But are stereotypes ever accurate? Meh. They’re certainly reductive and imprecise. They have some sort of necessary connection with reality, but it may be one connected to far-in-the-past behaviors or limited, chance perceptions of a much larger whole. Are these stereotypes, as imprecise as they are, really useful for anything? Something, but not much.

          P.S. I’m loving this discussion.

  4. Abi Weber says:

    I find the title of this article to be fairly offensive and insensitive to victims of date-rape which, I can assure you, exists in far higher numbers than statistics suggest. If you talk to any of the Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Advocates-for-Survivors-of-Sexual-Assault/115530388484476), they can tell you a few other statistics about extreme underreporting nationwide of assault and rape.

    Personally, although I’ve had more than one negative encounter with (usually inebriated) aggressive CMC men, I certainly don’t believe it’s a phenomenon unique to CMC: I’ve had similar experiences at Pomona and Mudd (let’s not talk about Doms Lounge or the Foam Party…). I also think that alcohol SHOULD be considered a legitimate date-rape drug and emphasizing “protecting yourself, and not becoming so intoxicated as to be unable to prevent yourself from getting in dangerous situations” is classic victim-blaming – why should women feel that they need to drink less than men because it could, potentially, land them in a dangerous situation?

    Finally, I think it’s interesting that you (or the layout editors) put up the photo of the recent Walker Wall painting without making mention of it or doing any research into its origins (which is what I originally thought the title “Roofies and Rumors” referred to). My (unconfirmed) impression is that it was painted by students who were concerned about a date-rape incident that occurred after the Foam Party to a friend of theirs – they wanted to express their anger at the perpetrators of the crime as well as the general culture that allowed it to happen. It is likely that the crime itself was unreported, as most women do not want to admit to being “roofied.” Although the topic of your article was not date-rape culture, but rather a defense of CMC men as compared to men of other schools, I think that if this sort of behavior exists at either of the schools, this article is truly just pointing out the lesser of two terrible evils. Why defend the image of one group by saying “oh, it’s just as bad at Pomona”? Does that help stop these incidents? If anything else, stereotypes like these help women stay cautious and wary, though changing the culture so that this wariness becomes unnecessary is the ideal solution.


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