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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
The Hunting Ground. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 22, 2015 - 21:54 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:54:03] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Alisyn Camerota.
The hunting ground is a powerful film that sparks a wide range of reactions. The filmmakers set out to tell the story from the point of view of the survivors or as the law calls them, the accusers. During the next hour, CNN will bring you differing viewpoints on this critically important topic. We wanted to begin this conversation by hearing from the presidents of the schools in the film. But they declined our repeated invitations.
Over the last month, we asked the presidents of Florida State University, Notre Dame, Amherst, St. Mary's, UC Berkeley, University of Connecticut, Harvard, UNC, and six others to talk with us. Every one of them declined. We offered to adjust the timing, the date, the location of the interviews to make it more convenient for them. They still declined. We also asked the president of the association of American universities. He declined as well.
But one university administrator said yes. Mike Powers is the University of Alaska Fairbanks interim chancellor. And he felt this topic was so important, he traveled here toe New York City from Fairbanks, Alaska, to join us.
[21:55:12] CAMEROTA: Chancellor Powers, thanks so much for being here.
MICHAEL POWERS, INTERIM CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS: Thank you for having me.
CAMEROTA: Why did you feel it was important to come here and talk about this?
POWERS: It's a crisis on U.S. campuses. It needs to be changed. It has been with us since time and memorial, and enough is enough. That's the feeling we're receiving on our campus.
CAMEROTA: I know you watched the hunting ground. What was it about it that moved you?
POWERS: Emotionally, you felt heartbroken for these victims who came forward. And I admire the courage with which they came forward to make a point about what's happening. I was angry with the -- with the response, the lack of protections from universities. And I was absolutely outraged by the ignorance and the callousness of the entire communities that turned a deaf ear to these victims.
CAMEROTA: And it had such a profound effect on you that you then wrote a letter to your campus community issuing a public apology. I mean, you personally had nothing to apologize for. Why did you feel that that was important?
I think it's important for the entire higher education to come forward and make a change. And to admit what is happening, and we all know it's happening on college campuses. It may not be rampant across campuses. At the University of Alaska, I sent my own children there. It's a safe campus in many respects. However, these things happen, and it's wrong and it must be addressed.
CAMEROTA: CNN did get a statement from FSU in which they said the "Hunting Ground," quote, "is a simplistic narrative that does a disservice to all universities and colleges." Why do you feel so differently about engaging, about confronting it than some of the other presidents do?
POWERS: Because of my own personal experience, because I know what is happening on campuses. You're turning a blind eye to what is happening.
CAMEROTA: Is there something about university of Alaska Fairbanks? Is it happening more there? Did you see it? Were people reporting it more? I mean, why did you take action?
POWERS: No, it is not happening more there. But what we are seeing is an increase in awareness and more reporting being done, which is healthy. But as someone aware of what is happening across campuses, we know this is an issue in America.
CAMEROTA: Chancellor Powers, we really appreciate you coming to talk about this tonight. Thanks so much.
POWERS: You're very welcome. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Now, let's turn to one of the most controversial sections of the "Hunting Ground." It takes place at Harvard law school, where one student Kamilah Willingham accused another, Brandon Winston, of sexual assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went into the hearing and even the professors were like, did I give him the wrong message with our friendship and he misunderstood our friendship? The response was like, no, because, you know, sex was never a part of that friendship. And if we were ever going to be introduced when I was awake would be a good time for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: In the days leading up to CNN's premiere of the film, Winston's attorney issues a press release publicly naming his client and saying that the film is quote "rife with inaccuracies." That lawyer, Norman Zalkind, joins us now.
Mr. Zalkind, thanks so much for being here. Can you tell us your concerns about how your client was depicted in the film?
NORMAN ZALKIND, LEAD TRIAL COUNSEL FOR BRANDON WINSTON: It appears to me that it's a lie as to what happened. And not only did the jury acquit him of any of the charges connected in the case, except for a lesser included minor misdemeanor, but the grand jury failed to indict him on anything to do with Kamilah Willingham and they didn't believe her.
And the Harvard law school, when this case went up on appeal to the law faculty, a majority of the faculty decided that there wasn't enough evidence to find him responsible. And she was just not credible at any point in time.
CAMEROTA: Hold on one second. I want to challenge you on that, Mr. Zalkind, because she was credible enough that the first process, the process by which your client was expelled, did go in her favor. First, when Harvard looked at this case, they believed Kamilah's story, not your client's. Then what happened was there was an appeals process. Just let me finish. There was an appeals process that was unlike any appeals process we know as Americans to be fair. Kamilah was not alerted that there was an appeal happening. The appeals process only heard from your client. They only got his side of the story. She wasn't even part of it. And he was then reinstated at Harvard. There were two different findings at Harvard.
ZALKIND: I don't -- I don't agree with you, because the appeal process is a normal process in schools. I don't think you can criticize the Harvard law school, which is a very ethical and honorable group of people. The best law school in America, probably.
[22:00:13] CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about something that you wrote in your press release. And you said that the accuser, Kamilah, who you are talking ability quote "capitalized on her accusations to become a celebrity," end quote.
Mr. Zalkind, do you really believe that this is the kind of notoriety or celebrity that Kamilah would have wanted, this kind of public scrutiny? This kind of embarrassment, to have to talk about what happened in her sex life?
ZALKIND: Well, it sure seems that way. I have seen videos of her in presentations. She's becoming a spokesman for victims, when she's not a victim. Yes, I believe she is capitalizing on this. I believe that she's making a career out of this. And she looks much happier when she's on TV than when she was in that courtroom. She was not credible.
CAMEROTA: Mr. Zalkind, I have met her as well. I have seen her crying. I have seen her look sensitive. I have seen her look distraught. That is your interpretation. And it's an awfully cynical one that she would want to go through, again, this sort of public scrutiny for four years in order to become, as you say, a celebrity. I do just want to focus, though, on the campus tribunal. Because
that's one of the things we're talking about tonight, that there is this dual justice system that many Americans don't know about. And so, the idea on campus there's an appeal that can happen that is secret, that the accuser doesn't know about, that the accuser isn't told about, that the accuser is not part of. That is a flawed justice system.
ZALKIND: Look, I'm not going to go into the details of what happened in that one because I wasn't the attorney, but I have handled -- we have handled probably as many of these campus cases as anyone in the country. We are not finding that a lot of United States, not all of them, that a lot of universities, the procedure or un-fill (ph) at this point in time to males. So that I don't agree with you that it was flawed. This is one of the best procedures we had ever seen.
CAMEROTA: Do you think it's fair to the accuser not to have her be a part of it? An appeal?
ZALKIND: Neither of them -- neither of them are a part of it. They don't go up there and talk to the professors when they're coming to a decision. Neither of them. He might have known it was happening. And I assume she knew and she could have found out, but he doesn't go up and persuade them to do anything. They did this On the Record. They did this by reading the transcripts. And they had tapes of all the hearings. And that's what they did. It was a fair decision. And you can see that by the proceedings that happened after. You are wrong if you think this was unfair.
CAMEROTA: Mr. Zalkind, we appreciate you being on to share that side of the story. Thank you for being with us.
ZALKIND: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: For the record, the accused, Brandon Winston, did participate in Harvard's appeals process. He gave live testimony via Skype, and he filed written objections. The accuser, Kamilah Willingham, was offered neither opportunity and was not even notified that the appeals process was happening.
In December of 2014, the department of education required Harvard Law School to change that policy and provide all parties equal opportunities to participate in the discipline process.
Up next, from a White House screening to a grassroots movement, we will look at the impact the "Hunting Ground" is already having on the national conversation.
[22:07:05] CAMEROTA: Welcome back to this special, "Sexual Assault on Campus."
In the ten months since it debuts, "the Hunting Ground" has gone from a film to a national movement for change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pull outside and banged my head against the wall and was raped.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): Since its Sundance film festival premiere, the "Hunting Ground" has been screened at more than 700 campuses and venues nationwide, including the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's on us to stop sexual assault.
CAMEROTA: Adding to that, President Obama launched the "it's on us" campaign.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're here to say that today it's not on you. This is not your fight alone. This is on all of us. Every one of us to fight campus sexual assault.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: t's consent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because sex without it isn't sex.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's rape.
CAMEROTA: And based on numerous studies, it's still happening at an alarming rate. A recent survey involving 27 universities shows 23 percent of women on college campuses, that's nearly one in four, experiences sexual assault or misconduct.
Published in September, it's touted as one of the largest studies of its kind, with more than 150,000 students participating. But critics question the findings based on a low response rate, just around 19 percent. Also, the survey relied on voluntary responses, not mandatory, so the sample was not scientific.
What do you think of the findings of that survey?
KIMBERLY LAU, ATTORNEY, WARSHAW BURSTEIN LLP: I had a lot of problems with the way that they defined certain terms.
CAMEROTA: Such as?
LAU: They include conduct such as unwanted, repeated dinner date requests or telling an offensive sexual joke.
CAMEROTA: Attorney Kimberly Lau has handled nearly 50 cases of sexual assault on college campuses, defending mostly men. She said her clients are victims of overzealous college administrators.
LAU: The pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction. What I'm seeing from the male perspective is that the cards are stacked against them the second they walk in the door, they feel like they're being treated as guilty.
LYNN ROSENTHAL, VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: Look, four decades, schools refused to investigate these cases at all. Survivors know the difference between a time that they maybe weren't crazy about a relationship they were in and when somebody has sexually assaulted or sexually abused them.
CAMEROTA: The governors of California and New York recently signed laws requiring colleges in their states to enforce affirmative consent, meaning everything other than yes means no.
ROSENTHAL: I think there will be a day that I won't be alive for it, but people will look back and say, how did we ever accept and tolerate that level of sexual violence?
[22:10:04] CAMEROTA: Celebrities like Lena Dunham are also working towards that goal. Dunham urging her three million twitter followers to see the film. While Lady Gaga, who recently described herself as a victim of sexual assault, was so moved, she lent her voice to "the Hunting Ground." The song for the film has more than 19 million views and counting.
CAMEROTA: We want to bring in our panel now. We want to welcome Stuart Taylor. He is a critic of the film and the author of until proven innocent, political correctness and the shameful injustice of the Duke Lacrosse rape case. Melinda Hennenberger is the editor of "Roll Call" and has written extensively on sexual violence, and Jon Krakauer is the author of "Missoula, Rape and the Justice System in a college town."
Welcome to all of you.
Stuart, I want to start with you. You're a critic of "the Hunting Ground." What's your biggest issue with it?
STUART TAYLOR, AUTHOR, UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT: Well, let me first start with what's OK about it. Rape is a huge national problem. None of us disagree with that. The film makes that clear. There are heartbreaking stories told by rape victims. That's a public service to show those stories. And they're infuriating episodes of male disgusting male behavior, the film shows that. All that would be to the good. But for the fact that on the whole, I submit this film is not an honest, truth seeking fair documentary. It's slick, skillful propaganda.
In the most general sense, it vastly exaggerates the amount of rape that goes on on campuses, as have a lot of other people, including the polls that are shown on the film, which are basically rigged polls, with phony questions. It also vastly understates how vigilant colleges are about pursuing allegations. In fact, the disciplinary process in colleges all across the country, in part because of the Obama administration dictates, is pervasively slanted against male accused males and there are accused males all over the country who have been expelled and branded as rapists for life who are innocent.
CAMEROTA: OK. Let's dig into some of the points that you have raised because they are all compelling and interesting. First, in terms of the studies, the numbers have been not all over the place, but they vary somewhat, the studies done over the past 30 years in terms of what's going on, on college campuses. But they all show that something is going on. They may identify forcible rape differently than they do sexual assault, but it always comes back as something significant is happening on college campuses. Let me get Linda to respond to that first.
MELINDA HENNENBERGER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ROLL CALL: Well, four out of the five major national surveys that have been done have shown pretty consistently that between one in four and one in five women have been sexually assaulted during college.
CAMEROTA: Jon, you have been studying this for your book, Missoula. What have you found is going on on college campuses?
JON KRAKAUER, AUTHOR, MISSOULA, RAPE AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN A COLLEGE TOWN: I disagree completely with Stuart. That men are now the victims. The pendulum has swung a little bit, but it's got a lot farther to swing. I mean, what I saw in Missoula and other cities is that campuses are not and have not been vigilant about erasing sexual assault or punishing perpetrators. And you know, "the Hunting Ground" I think very clearly shows why colleges are so reluctant to take courageous action on sexual assault. They don't want to hurt their brands. They don't want to alienate donors.
CAMEROTA: Linda, I want to ask you, do you think the definitions are overly broad and are skewing the results of what's going on on college campuses?
HENNENBERGER: I think that the unwanted touching that critics always say is mixed in with the rape and attempted rape stats, if you only look at rape, you still see 11 percent, 12 percent, 16 percent, 13 percent in these major national studies. That's really high. That's an epidemic.
TAYLOR: Most women don't report whatever happened, and then in the survey, the American association American universities association asked why didn't you report it? Well, because of this, because of that, because of the other thing.
Sixty one percent, if I remember correctly, said because I didn't think it was seriously enough. These are women who are supposedly raped. Do you think they thought they were raped?
CAMEROTA: Well, that's really an interesting point because that may have to do more with culture than crime. Jon, why don't some people report if they have been raped?
KRAKAUER: Because there's a bunch of reasons. And statistics show many, many rape victims did not want to admit to themselves they were raped. It's so upsetting, especially when it's an acquaintance rain, as most of these 85 percent of these cases on universities are, it's so upsetting. You have lost so much trust. It's easier to deny to yourself you are raped. This isn't I'm not making this up. There is plenty of science that shows this. So, there's all kind of reasons why women, the most typical response when is a woman is raped is to say call up a friend and say, oh, my God, was I just raped? I think I might have been raped. They don't say I was raped. People don't -- it's too much for them to process. [22:15:24] HENNENBERGER: And it's a part of the healing process, part
of the psychological trauma, when you're in a situation like that. And that's really one of the things I appreciated so much about your book. That "Missoula" really goes into how normal it is for a woman who has been raped to try to -- to try to deal with that by telling yourself this can't have happened. This can't have been that bad. You know, you're really in this state of suspended animation and freezing in a lot of cases.
TAYLOR: Two points. I give women more credit for being adults than some people do. I think if a woman says no, I wasn't raped, the likeliest explanation is no, she wasn't raped. The people who do these surveyed that we're hearing about, they don't buy that. So they don't ask her, were you raped? They ask her a bunch of other questions they interpret as meaning she was raped.
CAMEROTA: Stick around. We have much more to talk about. We want Stuart and Melinda and Jon to stay with us. Because up next, NFL quarterback Jameis Winston and his accuser, how their lives have changed since the release of the film. And we have much more from our guests.
[22:20:07] CAMEROTA: Welcome back to our special sexual assault on campus. Over the last few weeks, CNN has made several attempts to interview officials at Florida State University, the school where Jameis Winston was a star quarterback when he was accused of rape. FSU denied CNN's multiple requests for an interview, but the school did send us a statement questioning some accuracy and claiming quote "FSU does not tolerate campus rape. Like other major universities, we have been moving with uncommon institutional speed to meet new title IX requirements for thorough investigations and resolutions of sexual assault complaints."
Let's bring in our sports anchor Rachel Nichols. She has been looking into how Jameis Winston's life and the life of his accuser have changed since the film's release.
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, Alysin, just to put Jameis Winston into some context, he is one of the most high profile athletes to ever have been accused of rape. He is a Heisman trophy winner. He led his team to the college football national championship, and earlier this year, he became the NFL's number overall one draft pick.
And although, Winston was never charged with any crime related to the rape accusations he faced at Florida State, he is still facing a civil suit filed by his accuser, Erica Kinsman.
ERICK KINSMAN, ACCUSED JAMEIS WINSTON OF RAPE: I kind of just want to know, like, why me.
NICHOLS (voice-over): Erica Kinsman says she repeatedly said no to Jameis Winston. KINSMAN: I remember his roommate or whoever this other guy was, came
in and he was saying, like, dude, stop. Like what are you doing? She is telling you to stop.
NICHOLS: But Winston has strongly denied the allegations. Going so far as to file a countersuit for defamation. In legal filings his attorney said Kinsman has been inconsistent about the details of what happened that night, at one point, claiming she was drugged, an allegation that is now absent from her lawsuit. And tests run by a toxicologist at the University of Florida showed no evidence of drugs in her system other than alcohol.
The countersuit said quote "MS. Kinsman did not do or say anything to express that she didn't want to engage in sex." Winston claims his friend quote "entered the bedroom, either to participate in the sexual acts or as a prank." The suit goes on to say Winston's friends who were present that night quote "have stated they have no reason to believe Ms. Kinsman and Mr. Winston were not engaged in consensual sex." And they signed affidavits to consistent with that.
Kinsman has also filed suit against the Florida State University board of trustees claiming title IX violations. The suit says quote "despite FSU police being on notice within an hour of the rape on December 7th, 2012, an FSU athletic department's awareness of the rape in January 2013, the incident was never reported by either of those departments to FSU's title IX coordinator. Kinsman says she was subject to discrimination because FSU deliberately decided not to investigation and address Winston's rape of plaintiff for close to two years so that Winston's college football career would be unaffected.
FSU disagrees. In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the university state quote "no appropriate person at FSU had actual knowledge of the assault until November 8th, 2013."
Kinsman attorney declined to be interviews for this piece. Winston's attorney never responded to our request. But Winston is far from the only college athlete accused of rape, and FSU is far from the only school accused of falling short in handling these types of cases.
Last August, Sam (INAUDIBLE), a defensive end at Baylor University, was sentenced to six month in jail and ten years probation for raping a fellow student in 2013. That's a much different judgment than Baylor had reached when it examined the case itself. According to an investigation by Texas monthly, the school didn't even see the hospital rape kit before quote "clearing (INAUDIBLE)." Baylor University president Ken Star has since issued a statement announcing the school has hired an outside firm to examine Baylor's handling of the case.
And just last month, UCLA punter (INAUDIBLE) was arrested on three counts of rape stemming from an alleged assault of a student he met at an off-campus house party. In that case, the university immediately suspended (INAUDIBLE) from the team.
DR. BRIAN HAINLINE, NCAA CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: They have to make certain that athletics is not operating differently from music, from physics, from anyone else.
NICHOLS: Dr. Brian Hainline is the chief medical officer for the NCAA.
So if a high profile athlete is accused of a crime, it is in the school or the program's best interest to have that go away. How do you resolve that with the fact that you want hopefully as an educational institution, to see justice done?
HAINLINE: So what you're getting to the heart of is culture. How do you make a cultural shift? And sometimes, you can legislate culture, but it doesn't work very well. You really need people to step up.
[22:25:02] NICHOLS: As an example, Hainline points out a rule recently passed by the SEC. It bans it schools from taking players who have been dismissed from other schools for any sexual violence.
HAINLINE: That's when you really have a change. Then, people aren't perceiving that there's a competitive advantage by keeping someone in. You hopefully turned it into a competitive disadvantage because then what you say, me as a parent, do I want my son or daughter competing in that school where they overlook things like that, and that's the culture that I'm exposing my child to?
NICHOLS: The NCAA has published a hand book on how athletic departments should handle sexual assault investigations, but some say it doesn't go far enough, and the organization should implement a standard policy.
HAINLINE: You can have an athletic program that makes money, but if it's harming kids, no one's going to wand your kids to go there. I would be very happy if five years from now, we could say the culture of sport has been so transformed that parents know when their kids are being recruited that they're going to a safe place.
NICHOLS: Hainline calls the fact his quote "cultural dream."
NICHOLS: We had a long conversation with Dr. Hainline, and I have to give him credit. He was very open about the depth of the problem here. A lot of colleges do depend on millions of dollars that their football or basketball programs bring in. And sometimes it really is a player, a quarterback, a point guard, who can make all the difference between winning and losing, between the coach keeping his job or not. So there's just an inherently huge financial conflict of interest in a school taking a rape allegation seriously, and potentially stopping that gravy train.
And here's the real kicker, Alysin. The U.S. Senate put out a report just last year that found that 20 percent of schools, it is policy to have the athletic department, not the larger school administration, but the athletic department, be the ones with oversight in investigating sexual violence against athletes. So those cases against athletes. So the people who would most directly benefit from hey, this rape didn't really happen, that idea, at 20 percent of schools, those are the people that a victim would have to try to go to to get justice.
CAMEROTA: Rachel Nichols, thank you.
When we come back, we will get our guests' reaction. Who do they believe?
[22:00:54] CAMEROTA: Welcome back to our CNN special, sexual assault on campus. I'm back with Stuart Taylor, Melinda Hennenberger, and Jon Krakauer.
Stuart, let me start with you because I know that you have written how you believe that "the Hunting Ground" basically set out to railroad Jameis Winston and ruin career. But as we have learned, he is now a starting quarterback in the NFL, of course. Meanwhile his accuser, Erica Kinsman was, as we saw on the film, mocked, marginalized, she felt she had to leave FSU as a result. So in other words, it leaves the impression that Erica Kinsman's life was much more negatively affected than his was.
TAYLOR: It probably was, for the reasons you give. But the real question is did he rape her or not? Now, I don't doubt that there's a lot of athletes who have done a lot of raping in colleges as in this country and some get coddled by the colleges. My co-author Casey Johnson and I in the book talk about some of those cases, we talk about some other cases where the athlete is railroads and even though he is clearly innocent.
The Jameis Winston case which I have written about at length is in the middle. I wouldn't bet money that he is innocent. I think he is probably innocent. Why do I think that? Because the very good retired Florida Supreme Court justice Harding who heard his case for FSU and did a very good job, found, not by a lot, but by a little that it was at least as clear, his innocence was at least as likely as his guilt.
CAMEROTA: It was Major Harding said, I do not find the credibility of one story substantially stronger than the other. In other words, he couldn't determine who was telling the truth here, and neither one had a substantial sort of hold on truth and accuracy.
TAYLOR: That's a fair statement. And if I suggested otherwise earlier, I accept that. So did Willie Meggs, a pretty good prosecutor, more or less said the same thing that both of them emphasized something that this film, we are talking about this film, hides, or hid until I exposed it and then they put a little bit in.
One, there are devastating hits on Erica Kinsman's capability when it was first called in, she said I was hit on the head and I blacked out and woke up being raped in this guy's bed. Oops. No head injury shown by the hospital. She dropped that right away. Then the story became, and in "the Hunting Ground," especially the first time around, remains I was drugged and woke up and so forth, was being raped. Oops, two, toxicology tests look for 130 or some drugs. No evidence of drugs. Guess what. When she testified in her FSU story at great length last December, no mention of being drugged.
CAMEROTA: Let me stop you there because I see you both nodding vigorously, Melinda.
HENNENBERGER: She actually never said she had a head injury. Her friend, because she said her head hurt, reported that, made that leap, that assumption. She herself never reported having a head injury. And the Tallahassee police had a very -- such a flawed investigation that it was not much of an investigation at all. The DA concluded that he was very hobbled by this botched initial investigation.
CAMEROTA: Jon, isn't this an illustration of what we see so often in these cases? He said, she said. Somehow, investigators have to parse who is saying the right thing, who is most believable after the fact. I know you believe Erica Kinsman, but just explain the challenges of when you have to figure out who is telling the truth.
KRAKAUER: When the police did zero investigation for, you know, 11 months, and they never really did any investigation. The prosecutor, he praised so much, he never interviewed Winston. He never requested cell phone records or video records. So yes, this case -- but even with all that, if you look at who is credible and who isn't, you look at the reaction of Erica Kinsman after the event, the tweets, the interviews, she was traumatized. She has never lied. She -- her reputation is pretty sterling. She's not promiscuous, she has the same boyfriend as she has now. You look at Jameis Winston's record of lying, repeatedly stole crab legs, get two different stories. He and his buddies who were with him that night have this saying, yes, we leave the door open because we want to run a train on these girls.
[22:35:13] HENNENBERGER: That's the thing, when you talk about the pendulum swinging to the other extreme, which I do not believe, you know, where that might happen, it's another instance of the same problem. It's not the other extreme. And the problem is not taking a serious problem seriously enough. All you have to do is investigate fully. It doesn't --
CAMEROTA: Meaning they could solve the problem of false accusations if the campus took it seriously from the beginning.
HENNENBERGER: Such a small percentage of false allegations ever, but let's not assume it happened. Let's not assume it didn't happen. Let's fully investigate each case in its own right all the way through. And if that happened, we wouldn't have the problem that you're alluding to.
TAYLOR: Can I concede a couple points and then add a couple points? I'm not here as a character witness for Jameis Winston. He did steal crab legs. He has behaved horribly. He behaved pretty badly with Erica Kinsman even if you believe his version. The question is whether it's rape. And there is very serious evidence casting grave doubt on her credibility.
KRAKAUER: That's not true. Her story has not changed at all. The media, you know, Winston's lawyer got out and made false statement after false statement. There has been so much misinformation. And you have repeated it in your article about the railroading of Jameis Winston without checking it.
CAMEROTA: Hold on a second. I mean, look. The larger issue here is this is one case. OK. We could do this for every single case. We could parse all the evidence on either side or what, do you point, Jon, what the investigators did not look for in evidence. But to the larger point, and I know you have looked at this at Notre Dame. You have looked at this in lots of places. Are college athletes exempt because the school has such a symbiotic relationship with them that they can't have their reputations ruined?
HENNENBERGER: I don't want to paint with such a broad brush as to say that always happens. But unfortunately in some of the cases I looked at, the kids who nobody -- were nobodies from nowhere, also tended to get away with it because the school didn't want to have it known that this was a place where this kind of thing could go on, what you said about harming the brand. Schools can be very, very protective and want to look like this can't go on on my campus, which is why they want to keep the numbers of reports low.
CAMEROTA: Melinda, Stuart, Jon, thank you for this conversation.
Next, did a campus court ruin a San Diego sophomore's life? A CNN investigation no parent will want to miss.
[22:41:34] CAMEROTA: Welcome back to this CNN special, sexual assault on campus. One of the first decisions each victim must make is do I report this crime, and if so, where? But what victims of campus sexual assault may not realize is there are two parallel justice systems. One in the criminal courts, the other a campus tribunal and they may have radically different outcomes.
CNN's Sarah Ganim has been looking into the courts and finds that justice may not be their first priority.
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This young man's life changed when a fellow student accused him of sexual misconduct. His school, the University of California San Diego started investigating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew that I had all the evidence I needed to make this go away as quick as possible.
GANIM: The accusation came from a woman he had sexual relations with. She said some of the encounters were not consensual. He denies that. His name has never been public, and he doesn't want his identity revealed. The university held a disciplinary hearing. Like all schools that receive federal funding, UCSD is required to investigate and adjudicate sexual assault complaints from students. Most schools don't need to notify police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really know what to expect. I thought it would be fair.
GANIM: But the student said it wasn't fair. He was allowed to bring a lawyer, but the lawyer couldn't speak and could only submit questions for the accuser in writing.
MATTHEW HABERKORN, ATTORNEY: We had a set of questions, 32 total, handed to the hearing officer. And then she started to skip questions and started to say, well, I'm not going to ask that. She wouldn't say why.
GANIM: Had you ever seen anything like that before in a court hearing?
HABERKORN: No. It just doesn't happen.
GANIM: That's because unlike court hearings, individual universities make up their own rules for the disciplinary tribunals. The department of education requires that the process be prompt, thorough, and impartial. The university becomes prosecutor, jury, and judge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried to object a few times, and they reminded me that it was just a school hearing and it wasn't criminal, so I wasn't allowed to do that.
GANIM: In campus hearings, guilt has a lower bar. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt, but for most universities, the standard is whether the accused is more likely than not responsible.
In this case, the UCSD hearing panel found the accuser was credible in her assertion that he tried to digitally penetrate her and he ignored her objections, they ruled that more likely than not, he violated the student code for sexual misconduct. Every time he appealed, his punishment was increased, with no explanation.
When you learned that you were suspended for more than a year from school, how did you feel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that point, I was pretty devastated just because if I'm suspended or expelled from a school, I don't have many options left in my future.
GANIM: So he took the university to court. And in a highly publicized ruling, a judge overturned the sanctions, ruling that UCSD's hearing was unfair and that evidence did not support the findings. The university is appealing the judge's ruling and would not comment for the story, citing pending litigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm all for true victims of rape to receive all the assistance they need. But at the same time, the accused students have rights.
GANIM: The UCSD case is one of more than 20 that have been brought against universities in recent months by students found responsible for sexual misconduct.
[22:45:06] JEANNIE SUK, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: We are going to see a lot more of these cases coming down.
GANIM: Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk is a vocal critic of the tribunal process.
SUK: What is terribly unfortunate is that if any of these cases are actually cases where someone has been raped, then what that means is that the unfair process will make the case vulnerable to being overturned and the victim will not be vindicated.
GANIM: Suk believes universities are overreacting to a 2011 letter written by the department of education which said sexual harassment of students which includes acts of sexual violence is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by title IX. Schools must adjudicate these cases or risk losing federal funding.
SUK: Universities have been running scared, scared that they're going to be investigated by the department of education or found to be, to have violated title IX.
GANIM: Even advocates of these tribunals like Allison Kiss of the Cleary Center for Security of Campus say that schools need to invest more time and money into training the people who are handling these cases.
ALLISON KISS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CLEARY CENTER FOR SECURITY OF CAMPUS: Many campuses put people in charge of responding to sexual harassment and sexual assault who quite frankly should not be in charge of responding to sexual assault.
GANIM: And some say that means the process can be unfair for both the accused and the accuser.
Eva was a student at Southern Illinois University when she confided in a friend that she was sexually assaulted. Without telling her, the friend reported it to the university. Eva said she was stunned when the administration notified her in an email that they were investigating her case.
Were you reluctant to go through with this process?
EVA, STUDENT, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY: Yes. I didn't want to do it. But they said we don't need your consent. This is happening. Once it started, I had to beg and plead and call incessantly and ask the university to keep my notified, keep me aware, just tell me what the next steps are. And they -- they just ignored my calls. They didn't respond. When they did, they were not helpful.
GANIM: The school found him responsible and then what happened?
EVA: They suspended him, effective immediately, for two years. And then he appealed.
GANIM: He won the appeal. It turns out the university had the wrong date. The actual date of the alleged assault was beyond their statute of limitations. Eva watched her case fall apart over a procedural error. Southern Illinois University would not comment on Eva's case, citing legal and privacy concerns. And told CNN, the university takes all reports and investigations of sexual assaults very seriously.
EVA: I felt like I had survived a semester of torture. Of being forced to relive what was the worst day of my life over and over again. And I felt like it was for nothing.
GANIM: But even with all of the flaws in these university panels, some say they are still necessary to keep victims and campuses safe.
So when someone says to you, these need to go away, every rape needs to be investigated by the police and a prosecutor's office, what do you say?
KISS: The problem that we're seeing now is that when students are coming forward, it's often long after an assault has happened, so they may not have the option to get the forensic evidence or something that will hold up in a court of law.
GANIM: This is their only option.
KISS: This is oftentimes their only option.
CAMEROTA: So Sara, let's talk a little bit more about Eva's case. You reported there that her friend reported the incident, the alleged incident, but not Eva. Why didn't she go to the authorities?
GANIM: Eva, like so many of the women that we talked to as part of the story, said she just wanted to put this behind her and concentrate on her education. She had classes with this guy several times a week. She was scare said of what would happen if she reported it, and she wanted to move on and not have to relive this incident. Now, she ended up having to relive it anyway through this process, but she doesn't feel like she got any justice. This really goes to the heart of why advocates say these tribunals have to exist, because of the close proximity that people have to each other on campus.
They need some way to discipline when there is misconduct at the university. You know that a police case can take months, even years at times. They need some immediacy in dealing with the issues.
CAMEROTA: Right. It helps us explains why some victims don't want to come forward.
Sara Ganim, thanks so much for that reporting.
Up next, the filmmakers behind "the Hunting Ground," their chance to talk and address all of these issues right after this.
[22:53:31] CAMEROTA: Welcome back.
We've been talking about the film "the Hunting Ground" for the last hour. Now, let's bring in the filmmakers. Academy award nominated two-time Emmy winners Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. Great to have you here to talk about all of this. So, when you see
the impact that your film has had in just the past less than a year, and you hear the conversation we have been having tonight, is this what you expected, Kirby?
KIRBY DICK, DIRECTOR, THE HUNTING GROUND: This is what I hoped. You know, I mean, we faced a problem, when we made a film about a problem that had been covered up for decades. And you never know how a film will impact audiences, impact the country, but this film has really impacted the country. Since its premiere at Sundance, I mean, we screened it, there have been nearly 1,000 screenings on college campuses. And each time it screens on a college campus, it starts activism, it starts discussion, it starts change.
CAMEROTA: One of the things that is striking about the film is how many students you got to talk to you on camera, women and men. One of the women in the film said she hadn't even told her mother yet. So now, how are they feeling now that their stories are public?
AMY ZIERING, PRODUCER, THE HUNTING GROUND: They are feeling empowered and validated in a way they never had before. It's been heartening to see how people are rallying around the people who are coming forward, applauding them for their courage. And what I noticed that every screening, someone comes up to me and says, you know, I was too scared to say something. Thank you for this film. It's made me feel better to know there are others it has happened to who are talking.
[22:55:00] CAMEROTA: I mean, there's so much of this that is in the shadows, that people keep secret. We talk about how few victims actually report rape. For them to go on camera and know they would be on national television, it's a huge decision.
DICK: It is an act of courage. And I think this entire country owes a debt to everybody who was on this film. I mean, there is no question. Without survivors coming forward and reporting their assault, talking about it to the press, the public will not know about it, and there's no opportunity for their perpetrator to be charged in any way.
ZIERING: And people have been afraid to come forward because of the shame and stigma around this act. But what they're really only doing, and also, there's a lot of misconceptions that people are coming forward for like self-aggrandizement or glory, the way we see (INAUDIBLE) in reality TV. But all these people are only coming forward because they are trying to stop a crime from being committed on someone else. And that's what I think is really important. That's what I think the film shows. No one is coming forward for any other reason than to just try and have justice served and have someone not be able to perpetrate this crime on someone else.
CAMEROTA: Why didn't you reach out to get the men's side of the story, those who were accused?
ZIERING: We did reach out, and most of them, I think, all of them refused to speak to us. All the major subjects in the film declined our interview request. So we did reach out. CAMEROTA: But from the beginning, I mean, they say that you were late
in reaching out. From the beginning, why didn't you want to weave in their stories, their version of what happened?
DICK: Well, because we were following multiple stories. We are dozens of stories. And we didn't know until late in the process that which stories would be in the film. So that was the reason. I mean, you know, you're editing a documentary, we edit the film right up to the end. In fact, we were editing after the Sundance premiere. So we didn't want to go to somebody if they weren't going to be in the film.
And the other thing that is key here is other than Jameis Winston, whose name is public, we didn't names any of these accused. So we knew that their names are not going to be out there.
CAMEROTA: And yet, some of their stories are in the public record. Some of them did go through investigations as well as even court cases. Why didn't you included -- even if they rejected wanting to be interviewed on camera, why didn't you include their version that came out in public documents?
DICK: We included -- actually, what we did is went through thousands of pages, you know, in making this. We corroborated everything that was in this. What we really -- one of the things we really wanted to show that hadn't been shown before is the perspective of the survivors. And we thought that was very, very important.
CAMEROTA: Last week, 19 Harvard law professors reviewed the case on appeal. Issued a press release stating that quote "there was never any evidence that Mr. Winston used force, nor were there even any charges that he used force. No evidence whatsoever was introduced add trial that he was the one responsible for the inebriated state of the women who are portrayed as his victims, nor was anybody vested with final decision-making authority persuaded that Mr. Winston was guilty of any sexual assault offense at all," end quote. They went on to say that Mr. Winston was vindicated by them and the judicial proceedings, and quote "subjected to a long, harmful ordeal for no good reason."
DICK: Well, let's start from the beginning. The film does not say that Brandon Winston used force. So the fact that these Harvard law professors are implying that the film did when in fact it didn't already raises credibility issues around these professors.
Secondly, the grand jury indicted him on two counts of sexual assault. Now, let's keep this in mind. Actually, it's very rare when a survivor reports an assault to the police that the accused is even arrested, you know. It's about one in five. And then it's even rarer that it goes to prosecution, about one in ten. So obviously, everybody involved in law enforcement thought that this was a very credible case and moved it forward. And in the end, he was convicted. He was convicted.
CAMEROTA: So just to be clear, the grand jury in this case indicted him. But he was convicted of something much lesser.
DICK: Right. This happens all the time. I mean, it's very difficult to get a conviction for acquaintance rape, particularly among students. This is why prosecutors very rarely take these kind of cases. The fact the prosecutor took this case shows there was a great deal of evidence that this actually happened.
CAMEROTA: And again, to be clear, he was convicted of, which was non- sexual assault, a misdemeanor, and it was not of Kamilah. It was of her friend.
ZIERING: I would like to say to these law professors, where have they been? If 98 times out of 100 women are telling the truth, and we know there's an epidemic that is uncontested of one in five getting assaulted on our campuses, where are the letters from the last 20 years from the 19 law professors, the injustices toward all these women?
CAMEROTA: Another school you featured in the film, FSU, Florida State University, in a letter to CNN, FSU, that's of course, the school where Jameis Winston was accused of rape, they call your film quote "unfair and journalistically indefensible." FSU said they did provide Erica a victim's advocate, in other words, they did take some action towards the victim, and they brought in an independent judge, they say, to investigate her case. What is your sigh? How do you respond?
DICK: You know, Erica has told her story four or five times and, you know, on the record. And she has been completely consistent all the way through. She is extremely credible, right? What happened here is that FSU took two years to come to the point of having a hearing. You know, the department of education strongly recommends that it take 60 days. I mean, FSU was aware of the problem.
The Florida state football coach, the Florida state police, was aware that this assault had happened within two months of the assault happening. Yet, they allowed this process to go on for two years. I mean, Florida State has completely failed in this. I think, you know, the "New York Times" did an excellent piece on this that showed conclusively how Florida State had failed.
CAMEROTA: You have heard this evening, there has been criticism of the film from different corners, from different colleges, from different attorneys. Did any of that surprise you?
DICK: No, you know, there hasn't been that much criticism. I think -- I want to say most schools have not been critical of this. You know, the fact that so many schools have actually used this as a way of opening up discussion on their campus, sometimes its faculty, sometimes its students, sometimes its administrators themselves who want this discussion to start.
So, you know, the vast majority of the schools have not been critical of this at all. They know this is a problem. And I think, you know, the fact that this school is compelling them to change in some ways they wanted to do this themselves. I was sitting down with one college president where there was a problem. And she said I need pressure to make change. I need pressure. And so this is giving them an opportunity.
CAMEROTA: Amy, Kirby, thank you for being here and for answering all of these questions. It's been a great conversation.
DICK: Thank you.
AMY ZIERING, PRODUCER, THE HUNTING GROUND: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for spending the evening with CNN. Watching "the Hunting Ground" and discussing the challenges of trying to stop sexual assaults on campus. This is an important conversation to have together and with our daughters and sons, to make sure their college experience can be about learning and not about fear.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, looking for support tonight, you can call this free confidential hotline. It's 1-800-656-4673. Or hope. You can also visit CNN.com/impact for more resources.
I'm Alisyn Camerota. Thank you for watching.