Lincoln University president Robert R. Jennings delivered an unusual speech in September, at Lincoln’s annual All Women’s Convocation — not normally the advice you’d expect to be given to young women readying to start new careers.
“We have, we had, on this campus last semester three cases of young women who after having done whatever they did with young men and then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did,” he told the women. “They went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.’ ”
He went on to deliver a lecture about the seriousness of false sexual assault allegations. “Don’t put yourself in a situation that would cause you to be trying to explain something that really needs no explanation had you not put yourself in that situation.” He also explained that they only get sexually assaulted “if they allow it to happen.”
He then went on to extoll the values of a woman in a long skirt and explain that men will “use women up” if we let them.
Important life lessons, ladies. Take notes.
The historically black university apparently holds separate convocations for women and men, an annual “tradition” started by the 63-year-old president “to mentor each group in matters of behavior, dress, health – and sexual encounters,” according to Philly.com.
Jennings started the tradition only 2009 or 2010, so it’s really a fairly new practice. Prior to 2009, he was the president of Alabama A & M.
When Jennings was contacted by Philly.com, he claimed the remarks were taken out of context — that it’s only 4 minutes of the 26 minute speech he gave. He claimed he was referring to three cases in which women falsely reported rapes as revenge against men who had been unfaithful. All three cases were investigated by the university and reported to authorities, a university spokesman said.
But that story doesn’t add up, either, according to the publication, who actually picked up the phone to investigate the university’s claims:
Michael Noone, first assistant district attorney in Chester County, said he has no reports of rapes at Lincoln from last semester. There was one allegation of attempted sexual assault, but the case was dropped, he said, because it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt – not because the woman recanted.
Who said it’s a male university president’s job to lecture young women on sex, and rape, anyway?
He has already issued a non-apology type of apology:
“My message was intended to emphasize personal responsibility and mutual respect,” Lincoln president Robert R. Jennings wrote to the student body a few days ago. “I apologize for my choice of words. I certainly did not intend to hurt or offend anyone.”
His words are really unacceptable, in or out of context. And the context changes when his excuse behind the lecture goes up in smoke.
Doesn’t seem like the sort of thing to go away so easily.