To follow on Ham’s post below, one of the things Prof. K.C. Johnson unearthed was a News & Observer article regarding the Duke lacrosse allegations, in which is reported that “Lubiano, the professor, said people can’t imagine that the woman could have made a false rape allegation.”

They can’t even imagine a woman making a false rape allegation at Duke? If that’s true at Duke — that is, if it’s not just a reflection of Lubiano’s mollycoddled prejudices — then it shows how little Duke learned from its last great rape allegations.

Notorious sexual assaults at Duke in 2004 and 2002 were hoaxes

In Spring 2002, a freshman had terrified the campus community two years prior by alleging that she had been “beaten and sexually assaulted after being sprayed in the eyes with a liquid as she exited a stall in a Randolph Dormitory bathroom” (having been “blinded,” she could not identify her attacker). Women wrote to the Duke Chronicle of their fear of being on campus. Duke began offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailant before he attacked again.

In Fall 2004, there was another terrifying sexual assault. A woman said she had been attacked from behind while jogging near Duke Forest by a man who placed a cord around her neck. The campus was once again wracked by a “culture of fear” and “hysteria.”

Then the truth came out. The victim in 2004 was the same victim in 2002, and as her tale of the forest assault was revealed to be a hoax, investigators realized that that infamous assault of ’02 had been a hoax, too:

A student who had reported she was assaulted near the Duke Forest Oct. 22 admitted Monday that the incident never occurred, University officials said. Her admission has cast doubts upon the veracity of a much-publicized 2002 sexual assault in Randolph Dormitory.

The same student reported in 2002 that she was sexually assaulted in a bathroom in Randolph, the woman’s close friends said. University officials and police would only comment on the October report, but the student’s friends said the police described evidence that indicated the 2002 attack may never have happened. …

The father told the University Monday that his daughter confirmed the alleged incident had not occurred. The new information was posted on DukePass Monday afternoon.

[Vice president for student affairs Larry] Moneta said the student is withdrawing from the University and is getting counseling.

Officials said there are often discrepancies between victims’ descriptions of crimes and the story police uncover, but it is somewhat rare for an entire event to be fabricated. “It’s not common enough to say it happens in great numbers, but it happens often enough that on a checklist of issues, it’s something to consider,” Moneta said.

One lesson that came out of those hoaxed assaults was completely forgotten by Lubiano et al.:

When students learned last week that one of the instigating events for the move was likely fabricated, they criticized anew the way the University handled the situation.

“We went from too little to too much,” senior Adam Bonneau said. “One event should not have led to a bunch of reactions. It should have been an analysis of the whole situation.” …

Students, for the most part, echoed the administration’s response, calling for calm in the wake of recent incidents and careful planning for safety as a whole.

“Whenever one thing bad happens, the campus will sort of freak out,” freshman Eric Sliva said. “This just shows that that isn’t always the best thing.”