We missed you guys! We hope you missed us. Well, even if you didn’t we’re back with another set of delicious local news, including Virginia Wesleyan’s… odd… demands in its current sexual assault case, fancy people eating fancy food in a less-than-fancy place, and of course, the Swiftybeat!
In response to a $10 million lawsuit from a former student who reported being sexually assaulted on campus, Virginia Wesleyan College is doing a very awesome/sensible thing and requesting the names of every boyfriend the woman has had since she reported the rape, as well as any individual she’s had sexual intercourse with AT ANY TIME EVER NO GROSS STOP HORRIBLE.
Jonathan Halperin, the woman’s attorney, thankfully ain’t having it. Halperin told The Huffington Post, “To ask the victim in discovery to name every sexual partner and romantic interest she has ever had is irrelevant and outrageous and totally inappropriate. It is intended to harass and intimidate the victim.”
image | Virginia Wesleyan College
Let’s move to the question and answer portion.
Q: What’s the deal with the lawsuit?
A: The former student—who filed the suit as Jane Doe—claims the rape occurred during her freshman year, on her third day of orientation. Doe believes that while attending a party, she was served drugged alcohol; the lawsuit says she was then raped by a male classmate. The kicker? Though the male classmate was found responsible for sexual misconduct and expelled in 2013, Doe received a letter from Virginia Wesleyan informing her the college allowed him “to withdraw, a different designation which may assist him in seeking further studies.”
So basically the lawsuit alleges that Virginia Wesleyan didn’t do enough to protect her from her rapist, nor did the school take appropriate action after she reported the incident.
Q: But how is Virginia Wesleyan at fault for not protecting Doe from her rapist? It’s not like they can predict people are going to be drugged and raped, you know?
A: I’m glad you brought that up! In her original complaint, Doe says that the school was well aware that the spiked drinks were a problem at parties, and that she and other female students received warnings to never leave their drinks unattended (no word on whether similar discussions were held with male students on the importance of NOT DRUGGING AND RAPING PEOPLE). At the beginning of the year, the college also put on a skit about sexual assaults at parties.
Q: Laura, is there any chance that skit was performed as comedy?
A: Why, yes! Yes, it was.
Q: Does Virginia Wesleyan acknowledge that maybe this was not the best decision?
A: The college is arguing that they “suggested a way to minimize the risk of rape or sexual assault – i.e. avoiding parties where alcohol was served. Unfortunately, Plantiff didn’t heed VWC’s advice and now seeks to take VWC to task for even providing such advice.”
Q: Oh, wow. That’s pretty shitty. But should she really sue them for $10 mill—
Q: Are you sure?
A: Yes. Because if a high-dollar lawsuit is the only way to make a school take appropriate action against campus rape in the future, that’s a school that deserves to have their metaphorical balls sued off.
Q: Laura, will you be encouraging your father, a Virginia Wesleyan alum, to cease all donations to the school?
A: Yes. The college will now experience a $25 deficit.
The Waterside Live! (exclamation points mean extra FUN!!) project, awarded to the Baltimore-based Cordish Companies sometime in the last 20 years (was it during the Clinton administration?), continues to be dogged by the kind of snafus and artful dodging that only a cabal of local government cronies could love. Most recently, the City of Norfolk has assessed the value of the land and building at somewhere near $25 million ($10 million for the land, $15 million for the building) for tax purposes, using the same basic measure as similar properties in the area. Cordish says it’s closer to $5 million, and that’s just for the land—they claim the building is a negative and shouldn’t be assessed tax value at all, due to structural deficiencies, lack of modern facilities, etc etc. But, for some reason, Cordish refuses to allow the City assessors access to the property to actually do their job. So we’re now in some sort of standoff, as Cordish continues to “work” on Waterside (I mean, they put up a banner, that’s something) nearly a year after taking over the building, all the while contending that the land and building aren’t worth anything (practically).
We all know where this is leading, of course—the City accepting a deal with Cordish that substantially undercuts the taxable value of the land and building. Hopefully Cordish will at least give Norfolk naming rights for the new dock they’re building to load their barges with our tax dollars and haul them up to Baltimore. (Just kidding!!! About the barges!!!) (See how much extra fun that is with exclamation points?)
Twenty-seven years ago, a very French thing happened in France when a man named Francois Pasquier invited some friends to eat dinner in a park. In order to find each other in the park, they all wore white (I would have just had everyone meet at a designated time by the entrance, but I guess that’s just a testament to good ol’ American efficiency). They thought the whole thing was so cool that they did it again the next year, and everyone invited more friends, and they wore white again instead of meeting at the park entrance, and Diner en Blanc was born! That’s what the Internet says, anyway. I’m halfway through a bottle of wine I purchased from a 7-11, so I could be reading it wrong.Diner en Blanc has been held in Paris, London and New York, but last week, it came to our fair Hampton Roads. Guests paid up to $90 for a pair of tickets to the event, and were shuttled to the event’s secret location: a field off of Warwick Boulevard in Newport News.
Troll level: 10
To be fair, everyone looked absolutely stunning and appeared to be having a good time in the event photos, and you could barely make out the raccoon-infested dumpster in background.
Interlude: Musical Battlefight!
A couple weeks ago, we asked you to settle the first in our ongoing Musical Battlefight series, Robert Palmer vs Steve Winwood. After some false starts (for the record, and there seems to be a lot of confusion about this: Robert Palmer is NOT Robert Plant), we decided that Robert Palmer was douchier frat music from the 80s, and Steve Winwood is the pure sound of summer bliss, like a sailboat cutting through the waves on a cool summer evening. So the first round goes to Steve Winwood, and we’re back in the high life again.
So, this week’s edition—and make your comments/judgments in the comments below…
FiveThirtyEight is in with their take on Bernie Sanders’ (aka, the guy that half of your FB friends seem to be posting quotes from recently) chances at the Democratic nod. In a word: meh. In a few more words: he has some pretty serious support, but seems to have topped off. Which makes sense, considering that most of his support comes from the party’s liberal wing, who are generally skeptical of Hillary Clinton’s close ties with business. But, Clinton still holds a strong lead in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Nothing is a lock right now, and it’s entirely possible that Sanders could upset Clinton in an early state, but it’s difficult to see an Obama-style breakout from Sanders. Who knows, though—as John Oliver pointed out, we’re so far from the 2016 election that there will be children born on Election Day whose parents haven’t even met yet. One thing is for sure, though: trailing in the mentions-of-female-menstruation column, the Democrats better do something to spice up their primary process or they might risk looking respectable next to the GOP clown car.
And finally, on the Swiftybeat, Laura says,
Great art has always been subject to criticism. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Miley Cyrus talked smack about Tay Tay’s “Bad Blood” video in the latest edition of your mom’s Marie Claire.
“I don’t get the violence revenge thing,” said Cyrus. “That’s supposed to be a good example? And I’m a bad role model because I’m running around with my titties out? I’m not sure how titties are worse than guns.”
An insider who is definitely not Chris O’Brien explained, “[Miley] is desperate for attention and will do anything to get it. It must kill Miley that Taylor has gotten so much attention for ‘Bad Blood.’”
Long ago, a prophesy foretold of two great ones who would alter the course of history with their unmatched witticisms about the world around them. But until they arrive, Chris O’ Brien and Laura Watkins are filling in. Sharing a love of tacos, cats, justice, as well as an overarching ambition to perform history’s greatest karaoke duet of “Lightning Crashes,” and last but not least, a common ancestor in Charlemagne, Chris and Laura excel at beer drinking, trivia, and giving the Price side-eye to the patriarchy. They’re also pretty sure they were orphaned Russian siblings in another life, but that’s a story for another time.