During his remarks at the All Women's Convocation back in September, Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings expressed some troubling ideas about women and sexual assault.
The clip from the event begins with Jennings giving some unextraordinary Steve Harvey-style "advice" to women on the nature of men.
Now let me let you in on a little secret. Men treat you, treat women the way women allow us to treat them. And let me let you in on another little secret. We will use you up, if you allow us to use you up. Well guess what? When it comes time for us to make that final decision, we gon' go down the hall and marry the girl with the long dress on. That's the one we gon take home to mama. Because there'ssomething about the way you carry yourself and respect yourself that commands and demands respect from us. That's the way it works. The other thing I want to tell you about the brothers is we'll lead you to believe that you're the best thing since sliced bread, but we're slicing your bread and somebody else's bread too if you allow us to do that. We'll give you our rap. It will be the best thing you've ever heard, and come the next day we'll act like we don't even know you.
We had on this campus three cases of young women who, after having done whatever they did with the young men and then it didn't turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They then went to public safety and said "he raped me." So then we have to do an investigation. We have to start pulling back the layers and asking all kinds of questions. And when we start trying to collect the data and ask the questions...and why do we do that? Because we know that possibly somebody's life is getting ready to change for the rest of their life. Because there's no more serious accusation and within the last 30 days the United States Federal Government has issued a new set of regulations that deal with sexual misconduct on college and university campuses, and the penalty is jail time. What happens when you allege that somebody did something of that nature to you is they go to jail. I don't care how close they are to finishing their degree. Their whole life changes overnight because they're going to get a record and that record, and that record is going to follow them for the rest of their life. They're going to be expelled from the university. It's gonna be very difficult for them to get into anyone else's university because they have to explain at the receiving institution why they were expelled from the institution that they were expelled from, and we have to send a transcript and we have to note on there the reason for them being expelled. Why am I saying all this, ladies? I'm saying this because first and foremost 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.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lincoln students and parents have contacted the university about their dissatisfaction with the comments, and this is just another blunder in Jennings' troubled presidency.
They have cause for concern.
Jennings' remarks marks have the potential to make his campus an unsafe one for women students. As we've seen so often, he's centering the wellness of Black men by warning young women about the dangers of sexual assault allegations. Who knows how many young women might be deterred from reporting their sexual assaults because their president has already made a claim they are merely seeking retribution for a failed romantic encounter.
This is not a sexual assault prevention policy. Young folks benefit more from discussions of mutual satisfaction and open communication in our romantic and sexual relationships than this dated and dangerous "advice" Jennings attempts to offer.
Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or Follow @KimberlyNFoster