Is it possible for two people to simultaneously sexually assault each other? This is the question—rife with legal, anatomical, and emotional improbabilities—to which the University of Cincinnati now addresses itself, and with some urgency, as the institution and three of its employees are currently being sued over an encounter that was sexual for a brief moment, but that just as quickly entered the realm of eternal return. The one important thing you need to know about the case is that according to the lawsuit, a woman has been indefinitely suspended from college because she let a man touch her vagina. What kind of sexually repressive madness could have allowed for this to happen? Answer that question and you will go a long way toward answering the question, “What the hell is happening on American college campuses?”
The substantive facts of the case come to us only through a lawsuit, one that has thus far implicated everything from Title IX, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Constitution to “slut shaming” and good old-fashioned horniness. But not super horniness, because—as with many high profile cases involving the infinitely expandable concept of “college sexual assault”—the actual encounter exists as merest prologue to the massive novel of ideas that followed it.