Coastal Carolina University has suspended its cheerleading program amid allegations that the cheerleaders were involved in a prostitution ring. There have been no prosecutions, and there don’t appear to be any on the horizon, so controversy surrounds the school’s actions:
Cheerleaders and parents have expressed their disgust with the school and this afternoon the cheerleading team released a statement decrying the accusations as false and noting that they’ve led to on-campus harassment:
At this point in time, we no longer wish to be contacted about the current situation. The false accusations have led to harassment on campus as well as through social media, and are beginning to negatively impact our daily lives as well as our studies. As a team we ask the community to support us through these tough times as we hope the situation will be cleared up shortly.
The Coastal Carolina Cheerleading Team
Right now, all we know is that one person made anonymous allegations about the team, that police investigated and found no reason to push the case any further, and yet the cheerleading team remains suspended at a key moment in their season and the school won’t say why. There is a missing part of this story.
Of course, Deadspin is right: there is a missing part of the story. Everyone is up in arms about the cheerleaders being suspended on the mere allegation of misconduct — yet this action by the school is perfectly in line with how male students have been treated lately over mere allegations.
At the University of Minnesota, a number of football players are under suspension themselves over allegations they either took part in a sexual assault or failed to intervene. As with the cheerleaders at CCU, the Minnesota players have not been prosecuted for anything, yet a number are now facing expulsion pending any appeals of an earlier ruling by the school.
The right thing to do is the American thing to do: give all students, male or female, due process. Frankly, the CCU cheerleaders suspension is ridiculous — yet it also represents one of the few examples of alleged female perpetrators being treated as unfairly as alleged male perpetrators in recent memory.
Students should not be facing life-altering consequences with such a low burden of proof required. Let the cheerleaders return, and give male students the same treatment this country is supposed to be offering to all.