The Elephant in the Room
Issue   |   Wed, 02/13/2013 - 15:47
Image Courtesy Huffington Post
A professor at Amherst College criticizes the final report of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct.

The recent report of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct at Amherst contains some good suggestions on how to improve the disciplinary system and the delivery of psychological and medical care to victims of rape, recommendations that are already being implemented. But in one important respect, the report is seriously flawed.

That flaw appears in the very first pages of the report. The Committee tells us that it is a “stereotyped assumption that athletes are more prone to sexual misconduct than non-athletes.” It concludes that it would be “counterproductive to indict any one demographic.” The report claims that their research found that athletes were not disproportionately represented among perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

But it seems clear that the Committee found no evidence because it didn’t look. Numerous studies throughout the country have shown clear relationships between single sex teams and sexual assault. Meegan Mercurio of Providence College provides a useful summary of such research in her 2010 thesis, “Athletics and Violence Against Women: A Study of Relationship.” (available at Digitalcommons@Providence.edu) Mecurio notes that in one study, at a university where male athletes made up only two percent of the undergraduate student body, male athletes were found to be responsible for approximately 20 percent of reported cases of sexual assault. And in a literature review concerning rape myth acceptance, Rosemary Iconis, in a 2008 article for Contemporary Issues in Education Research (2nd Quarter, 2008, available at http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/CIER/article/viewFile/1201/1185) notes that at least three independent studies over several decades have shown that male athletes are more prone than others to believe that women lie about being raped 50 percent of the time. Moreover, the research notes that there was a variety of levels of acceptance in these studies, with members of individually focused sports such as golf, for instance, and older students, being less likely to believe rape myths.

The body of existing scholarly studies on the connection between male athletics and rape culture is substantial enough to have warranted the Committee treating this connection — at the very least — as a valid hypothesis to be investigated. Given the Committee’s reliance on existing scholarly studies to consider other hypotheses, and to defend their use of sanitized language, it is truly odd that it did not even entertain the connection between male athletics and rape culture as a hypothesis to be verified (say) through systematic, confidential interviews with students in general, and rape survivors in particular. A more critical committee would have at least entertained the hypothesis that the predominance of athletic culture on campus, and the tight bonds of team unity, might contribute to the underreporting of alleged assaults by team members. If a student is raped by someone on a prominent sports team, surely it is plausible that she now has to entertain the idea that she is at odds not only with all members of that team, but also perhaps with its fans. Surely it is plausible to suppose that on a campus where athletics is so central, victims and survivors face a stronger disincentive in this case to report than they would if they were to report a rape by someone affiliated with no team at all.

Perhaps more relevant to us, there is far too much anecdotal evidence from Amherst students themselves that tells of an athletic culture that encourages misogny and homophobia and that discourages victims of sexual assault from reporting such acts for fear of ostracism by their peers. Why is it that, instead of being curious about this question, which is warranted not only by existing scholarly studies and by student anecdote alike, the committee instead criticized as “stereotyping” the very idea that one might be curious about this question?

Given the prominent role that team sports plays at Amherst, for a select committee assigned to address sexual violence to ignore athletics is very disappointing. The stated fear of stereotyping, or unfairly identifying a particular group for responsibility for sexual violence is a red herring. (This claim, by the way, is an implicit criticism of anyone who would even raise the issue, for they are seen as being prejudiced. Nothing is more detrimental to open discussion.) It is to turn away from the obvious need to have a critical examination of one of the most important extracurricular forces at our College, one that does so much to shape the character of so many of our students.

Without trying to assume that I know the minds of the members of the Committee, I do know that athletics at Amherst College provides a major link between alumni and the student body, that contributions to the College are correlated with the relative success of our teams, especially, though not exclusively, the football team. And, while I do not know because I don’t have access to the budget for the athletic department, my eyes tell me as I drive down Route 9, that we are spending more and more money to support a violent sport that inevitably results in brain injuries to at least some of our students.

How is this related to the report on sexual assault? It provides us with a possible reason why athletic culture was not discussed at any length by the Committee. The very reluctance of the Committee could be ­— and has been — construed as testimony to the outsized role that athletics plays in the life of the College: in admissions, in budget, in interference with the curriculum. For us to avoid having a serious and independent investigation of the current athletic culture at Amherst is to do a disservice to the community, especially to those students who have had the courage to speak out, privately and publicly, and who have themselves been accused of being “anti-athletic.”

It is, in my opinion, long past time for us to reevaluate the role of sports in the life of Amherst. That the occasion of this Committee’s investigation did not even touch upon the matter is not a good sign, because it suggests that such a discussion is not possible, given the outsized power of our athletic complex, especially among alumni and trustees.

Anchor
Comments
"80 Alumnus (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 09:34

The report clearly identifies the two major factors as being binge drinking and the "hook-up culture", both of which are problems not just at Amherst but in society at large. I am surprised at the "class warfare" bitterness in some of the posts; as a liberal Democrat I just don't see Amherst as part of the problem. Yes, there are 1%ers here. But the College has done (much) more than most to recruit and finance a diverse student population.

What has struck me, as a regular visitor to the campus, and what I found echoed in the report, was a sense that partying no longer takes place in large social gatherings, but has been pushed underground, off campus, or into the dorm rooms; this may be the root cause of many problems. Much has changed since I attended - we had an 18 year old drinking age, coed fraternities that housed 40% of the campus, and a much less diverse campus population than today. But I get the sense that much has been lost, too, since those halcyon days of yore (just kidding). When we were there, the fraternities played the role that the Student Activities Committee plays today, just more efficiently. $50 per year paid for all the beer, all bands, all the entertainment. The fraternities hosted parties from Wednesday through Saturday; every party was open to every student with rare exceptions, and everything was out in the open and largely sanctioned. Not everyone felt comfortable with the booze, beer, drugs, and social scenes, but no one was excluded. Yes there were a couple of jock fraternities, but they came to our parties and we went to theirs. You can make the case that the fraternities had too dominant a role in the social life on campus at the time, but the parties were big (hundreds of people) and open. That seems a far cry from today.

I don't see the College banning alcohol; I think a bar on campus is a good idea, and I think regulated, observed, and open coed "fraternities" make a lot more sense than underground, secret, all-male fraternities, but if parties are driven underground then groups will form to organize them, and the smaller the groups, the more likely that incidents will occur.

The hook-up culture brings its own set of problems. If there are no rules for dating and lots of expectations of sex, it doesn't take my classmate Drew Pinsky to tell you that in the absence of norms of behavior, setting boundaries where there were none before becomes more difficult, particularly with alcohol in the mix. This is no defense of this conduct, but the report does cite that many of the cases involved people who had had prior sexual relations. Clearly the message must be sent that no means no, whenever, wherever. But keeping things out in the open is the best way to ensure that others are watching. With today's alcohol regulations, that seems unlikely.

Again, I return to the real resentment of the legacy, prep school, elite crowd that I have heard in these posts. My experience was that sports, and clubs, and dorms/frats were all places which mixed people of all backgrounds together, and while certain types banded together it wasn't nearly as bad as it seems from your posts. I find the resentment and class warfare attitude very disturbing, whether justified or not.

I would urge you to take a moment and just realize that you are in the company of the best and the brightest; that these classmates are going to impress and surprise you for the next forty years, and that the connections you make here will be some of the most durable, lasting and most valuable you will ever make. That is the community of Amherst. I can pick up the phone, or send an email to just about anyone in my class, even people I didn't know well, or even people from other classes, and they will give me their time, and a response. Don't screw that up - that is what is / has been special about Amherst. Alumni give to Amherst because Amherst keeps on giving to them, and often to their children. Yes, there are lots of legacies around, but their parents (generally my classmates) were often not from the 1%. But we all recognize how valuable and special Amherst was to us, and so we encourage our kids to apply and attend. But even if they don't, or can't attend Amherst, the College community has a lot more to do with our donations than sports. The idea that sports is important to giving is just ludicrous. In the alumni tents on Homecoming day, at the end of the field, it's rare that anyone is even watching the game out of more than a corner of one's eye. It's all about the people there. If we beat Williams (or Wesleyan) that's a bonus.

If anything, your generation, with Facebook and LinkedIn and the next thing in social media, will have tighter bonds than ever. Maybe that will devalue the Amherst shared experience and connections. But I doubt it. So don't blow up the institution, and deride your classmates. You'll be hurting yourself, and many more before and after.

Verified Alum (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 11:57

I personally can't believe the committee didn't consider the role that music plays in rape cases.
*
There are lots of anecdotes about how members of Rock Bands are misogynistic and more prone to committing sexual assault. Based on this, musicians on the Amherst College Campus should be dis-allowed from organizing and playing music together.
*

In Fact, we should get rid of all music at Amherst.
*
I can't believe the committee didn't address this. Dumm, lets get these athletes and musicians kicked off campus! Am I right?

anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 15:54

Does anybody else find it strange that his big evidence is a student (probably undergrad) thesis from Providence College? Nothing against PC or its students, but you're gonna have to find something more compelling to convince me.

Former athlete,... (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 16:01

...is the grades given by Professor Dumm to athletes versus non-athletes. After reading his article, I'd find it hard to believe his grading isn't influence by jerseys, physical appearance, and whatever else he thinks defines athletes. I wonder if he believes he's had even one intelligent athlete in his class since Amherst made the mistake of hiring him in 1985? Or are all athletes not only rapists-in-waiting, but also intellectually inferior, Professor? The mentality of a 19th century slaveholder and yet an office in Clark House...

And since Dumm is happy to cater to stereotypes, how about that of the ivory tower academic pontificating from on high? He is a caricature of himself. The greatest irony (and disappointment) in this debate is that the most asinine and thoughtless comments come from a professor, who owes his position to the very students and alumni he so readily insults. Next time I drive down College Street, I'll wonder how the college justifies paying what it pays a professor like Dumm, who sits smugly with his tenure and is all too happy to poison the well to satisfy his own ego.

I am shifting 100% of my giving to athletics from the general fund until Dumm is no longer at Amherst.

Amherst, please send this self-aggrandizing egotist back to Houston-Downtown where he belongs. He doesn't deserve any of us - athlete or non-athlete.

Angus Schaller '09 (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 17:33

Dumm - are you open to examining race in this discussion? Crime rates would suggest it's a valid consideration.

03 Athlete Alum (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 18:20

How about we assume every stereotype is true and investigate every race, sex preference, skin color and so on and see what that gets us. Let's burn the whole school down while we're at it. It's also comical how Amherst athletes are high profile because Amherst is probably the one college in the nation that doesn't care for sports (which is why Dumm wants to do away with them).

For someone who is supposed to be an Amherst professor I really can't believe how narrow-minded and ridiculous this article is.

Oh the irony in Professor Dumm's name.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 18:29

To say that Athletes are responsible for increased levels of sexual assault or are more violent is actually unfounded and their is no definitive research on this topic. See this link... http://www.northeastern.edu/sportinsociety/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Vi... . but what is known is that males overwhelmingly commit rape and sexual assault. Fact: men commit 90% of all violent crime, icluding rape.. If we only talk about athletes, we are not recognizing that rape and sexual assault is a male problem. Men are the issue, not athletes.

'09 Athlete (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 19:37

As a young alum, I don't make huge financial contributions to Amherst... But, I do make some. Until Dumm leaves the school, 100% of my giving will be directed towards athletics. It's embarrassing to have a member of our faculty be this clueless, biased, and bitter.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 23:08

Putting all the issues with this article aside, it is hard to imagine that his BA and MA years at Penn State did not have anything to do with his views. I'm sure he saw lots of repulsive stuff at a school that has a reputation of absurd levels of drunkenness, debauchery, and sexual assault/harassment. Also, how you could have enjoyed Penn State and not come out a sports fan is beyond me.

Williams Alumnus (not verified) says:
Sat, 02/16/2013 - 01:49

You have it all wrong and so did Williams when i went there from 2003-2006. I don't know anything about professor Dumm, but it's pretty clear to me and pretty much par for the course for a large portion of Professors and other faculty at small liberal arts institutions to specifically single out athletes without any hard evidence to back their claims whether it be against an athlete's academic skills or their supposed lack of meaningful contributions to the school's mission. This article isn't about a rape issue, it's about disdain for athletes. Mr. Dumm is simply using the rape issue as a launching pad to propagate his negative view of people who take part in an activity(athletics) he doesn't like, care to understand, and clearly has an extreme bias against for whatever reason. Mr. Dumm i dare you to answer what the real reason that you don't like athletics or athletes is. Why - please come clean and explain yourself for the record? Seriously, because that's what this article is about, and don't let this drivel trick you into thinking it's some sort of meaningful call to action or need for a sociological study of athletes and rape. While doing that may be an interesting piece of research if done correctly, this opinion by Mr. Dumm reads much differently to me.

In fact, while at Williams (and i would dare you to conduct a study or survey of Amherst athletes about their experience as student athletes) i felt as if i was constantly the victim of prejudice in the form of grade deflation, mistreatment in the classroom, unfair disciplinary actions (or the threat of) based off completely presumptuous accusations of social behavior and on and on. I almost quit athletics because i didn't want to mistreated in this manner any longer or feel the sense of condescension or resentment from my peers and my faculty. What's the most interesting aspect of this to me is that from the moment i stepped on campus i actually felt like the outcast and that i was fighting an uphill battle. Other students and faculty look down upon you just because you play a sport - that you aren't there on your own merit as a student or a person because you take part in an activity that doesn't strictly engage your brain all day. When you think about it, it's absurd right? In no way would i ask for sympathy, as i ended up just fine but i'm just telling it like it is. My experience was completely contradictory to what Mr. Dumm refers to in his opinion about athletic culture dominating the culture of a small liberal arts school and clouding the vision of school the administration and larger student body. Let's not kid ourselves, no one cares about division 3 athletics except the athletes, coaches and their families for the most part. They don't bring in any direct revenue to the schools from filling stadiums and TV deals, and from my perspective serve the purpose as any other extracurricular activity like music or art or dance or drama (although these have been widely accepted as parts of a schools core curriculum unlike athletics). Mr. Dumm implies that the athletes and their "culture" somehow hold the rest of the campus hostage. False. If the stat is accurate about 40% of the student body playing a varsity sport, wouldn't that indicate a minority? That leaves 60% of the student body to make their own social decisions on the weekends. No one is forcing them to go to a party hosted by an athlete. I think it's a sham to argue otherwise. It's also a sham to argue that somehow if someone in the majority (non-athletes) would be ostracized because they would report an incident about a minority (athlete) who most people on campus like Mr. Dumm seemingly don't think should be there or don't like in the first place. I would specifically make the argument more granular by focusing on these opinions towards a sub-minority of the student body that play football, lacrosse, hockey.

During my time at Williams similar debates occurred in which eradicating any sport an athlete wore a helmet to play was the hot topic after a hockey player exposed himself in public while drunk. Meanwhile non-athletes that majored in Math, Computer Science, and Art/Architecture were dealing and doing drugs on campus to a point where there was basically an epidemic of drug use and trafficking, and no one seemed to care or even investigate the problem. And certainly no one had the idea to somehow conjure a correlation between these students areas of interest and their behavior on broad level. While neither behavior should be condoned, i bring up the two examples because there is a clear difference in the ways athletes, and athletes of specific sports are treated as a general group from a reactive standpoint. It's easy to pick out one or two coincidental examples and claim or insinuate that there is a large problem effected by a minority group of students. I know Mr. Dumm is calling for such coincidences to be investigated, but once again it seems fairly flagrant that as to why he uses athletes as his example in the article.

There is way more to talk about on the subject of sports and athletes at schools like Amherst, Williams, Middlebury etc., and they will always be up for debate for some reason. People like Mr. Dumm can't fathom why playing a sport is useful or why having it as an optional part of the experience at Amherst is necessary. Why can't you make the same claim about Art, Dance, Theater or Music? Despite the fact that i'm a horrible artist and musician and would never have thrived in an art or music class, i understand (or at least make the effort to) and value their places as a part of the student experience and think it's an incredible thing to foster an environment where young adults can pursue areas of interest to them. If there was anecdotal evidence that the students at Amherst involved in the Art and Music departments, that were in bands or performing groups were doing drugs would Mr. Dumm have the courage to write the same article about them? I think not. Unfortunately the academic world is plagued by people like Mr. Dumm and it's sad.

"Spend your life doing things that you enjoy. Do not waste your years slogging through work you find menial, even if you are good at it, even if it is considered prestigious, even if it offers tempting perks." The valedictorian of my class at Williams said this in his commencement speech about his participation in the Boy Scouts his whole life and all through college. It was the most important part of his personal development according to him and the reason he succeeded in everything he did as a student and member of the community. I think Mr. Dumm and people like him need to reflect on what's most important in your life's experiences. It's not doing your math homework every night, and i think it's ludicrous that he or anyone else would claim that the perfect person or member of a community was someone that limited themselves to sitting in the library all day with the single pursuit of completing a menial assignment or task. So i call upon Mr. Dumm to explain why he chooses to pick on athletes. Please speak up.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:53

It's pathetic to see so many of my former classmates up in arms about this, the very classmates who were predominantly white, wealthy and participated in the homophobic, racist, and sexist jock culture on campus. They're absolutely blind to their sense of entitlement and relative comfort to other members of the student body, and it's insane that they feel victimized by the very IDEA THAT MAYBE POSSIBLY an examination of athletic culture at amherst is in order. At the same time, I'm not surprised considering how stupid so many of the jocks are at Amherst. Amherst is shooting itself in the foot by evolving more and more into a jock school and losing open-minded, smart students to Swarthmore and Wesleyan etc

Former Male Athlete (not verified) says:
Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:16

As a former athlete, I have to say that this article displeases me but I understand why it was written. First of all I'd like to say that the Amherst faculty wields an alarmingly high amount of power at the college, and its no secret that many are not supportive of the athletic teams. I actually had one of my professors argue that there may be a correlation between winning (referring to how successful Amherst sports have been recently) and sexual misconduct. He suggested that perhaps if our sports teams stunk, rape would no longer happen... To me it seems like this is a bit of "sour grapes" on the part of some faculty members, in that the committee did not produce the results they had expected or hoped to see.

I experienced Amherst's fall semester, it was not a comfortable place to be a male athlete on a "prominent" or "successful" sports team. Part of that is because Amherst student-athletes are underrepresented in student government. Which may be related to the lack of time and energy that these students have to participate in other extra-curricular organizations like student government, but also athletes are the "minority" at Amherst. Inevitably, in any social environment where you have the minority dominating the majority you will see a struggle for power. And in all honesty I felt like this was nothing more than a power struggle, many students who were voicing their opinions the loudest against "athletic culture" had very little exposure to that culture. You wouldn't ask an English major to explain game theory. So why would you value the opinion of students who spent the majority of their time at Amherst in their room or watching parties through the campus center windows? The same goes for Professor Dumm who spends most of his time in Clark house, far away from the socials, reading social scientific studies about the athletes at some huge state school. This is the same professor who told a basketball player who asked for his help after a class that some people are born with intelligence and some are not. Again, Sour Grapes.

The majority of the best, most interesting, most successful people you will meet at Amherst are student-athletes. They continue to dominate NESCAC athletics without top-notch facilities or support from the majority of the student body or faculty. Athletics at Amherst develops the mind in a completely different, but equally important manner than what occurs in the classroom. Like the real world, athletics is competitive. Other than fostering an environment that may increase the possibility of "geeks" getting laid, I can't see anything realistically positive coming from attacking student-athletes. This is what many in the faculty and academia fail to see, for whatever reasons or obvious bias they have. So this is my prediction, regardless of what Professor Dumm and his league of quacks manage to accomplish. Amherst student-athletes will continue to dominate the social scene at Amherst and go on to do great things, and, sadly, rape will continue to happen amongst the human race. It would happen just as frequently if the Amherst students "who gained admission without athletic help" were to dominate the social scene and have drunk girls with varying degrees of emotional stability throwing themselves at them (which DOES happen!!!).

-Not a rapist

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:14

Professor Dumm, you have hit the nail on the head. In recent discussions about this article with athletes and non-athletes alike, those who

Daniel Diner 14 (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 00:01

It is embarrassing to see so many Amherst students and alumni degrade themselves to the level of internet troll on this thread.

Professor Dumm doesn't suggest ridding Amherst of its sports teams, as it seems half of the commenters believe. He doesn't suggest any reassignment of blame. And he doesn't even suggest that the committee's findings are incorrect. In fact there is very little that Professor Dumm actually does offer in terms of explanation or policy guiding opinion. Quite literally, this article might be summarized in one sentence: There is evidence enough linking sport culture to sexual assault that we ought to examine Amherst's pervasive sport culture, and it is odd that we are keeping silent about it.

The article was filled with common-sense logic and mentions of reports that are in the least convincing and concerning enough to merit a conversation. None of this was especially radical or novel.

I am inclined to believe that most of the trolls on this comment board have not actually read the article. Conversation should never be stifled, especially when its potential arguments evoke controversy.

K (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:35

The issue is the the lack of critical thinking and academic rigor Prof Drumm brings to the the table in his article. Prof. Drumm is entitled to his own opinion but not his own set of facts. He admits that he partly bases his stereotyping of male athletes based on anecdotal evidence and studies of questionable quality based on questionable data from non analogous institutions while not citing studies that disprove his narrative. In essence he denies the right to innocence until proven guilty to a minority group on campus- (let's remember he is a political science professor with an ethics chair!). Moreover he does not appear to have even considered identifying and controlling for any variables in his conclusions.
Substitute any other campus group for "male athlete" in Prof Drumm's piece and he would be labeled as a biased stereotyping Philistine but, in a double standard that boggles the mind of rational thinkers, it is perfectly fine to disparaged male athletes as a group.
Additionally, just because people do not agree with your narrative does not make them trolls. Name calling only weakens your narrative.

Alum (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:56

Dumm,

One of the report's findings was that Amherst seems no more prone to rape than other institutions of higher education. The report finds issue with the way the Amherst administration handles rapes once they occur. It was also the administration's shoddy responses which lead to the commissioning of the report in the first place.

So not only are you wrong to point the finger at athletes, you are wrong to point the finger at any portion of the student body. Tragically, sexual assault is bound to happen occasionally at any college. Amherst is not unique or immune to this in any way. It is the administration, with it's complete lack of empathy in its response to the attacks on Angie Epifano and Trey Malone, that failed to meet even the lowest bar of ethical and moral duty. It is the administration, and not the student body or any sub-portion of the student body, that should be singled out for blame.

Alum (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:13

So, I looked up that student thesis that Dumm uses as his primary evidence in the article.

Here is the abstract:

Abstract
This study looked to explore the correlation of violence and being a student athlete. The
study was conducted at a small, private, Catholic college in the Northeastern part of the
United States. There were 18 female participants and 24 male participants. The
participants completed a 27 question survey pertaining to attitudes about violence against
women. An independent T –test and a Pearson correlation was used. However, both tests
proved the null hypothesis and the data proved not to be statistically significant. Yet, the
negative reactions of the participants were significant. Research determined that more
data and research is needed.

The study itself concludes that more research is needed! Also, a grand total of 42 people were interviewed!

This is the top study you cite to claim that there is a significant body of scholarly work connecting athletic culture with rape?

Professor Dumm, you're a hack, and this article was clearly meant only to incite anger and discord during an already difficult time for the college.

Alum (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:27

Conclusion
This research addressed the problem: Does playing as a Division I student athlete
affect dating violence attitudes and are student athletes more likely to be perpetrators of
violence? The hypothesis inferred that athletic participation may have an effect on dating
violence. Instead the null hypothesis was proved and the findings theoretically proved
that student althletes are not more likely to be perpetrators of violence, but in fact are less
likely to be perpetrators of violence.

Note: mis-spelling of the word 'athletes' is in the original study.

Alum (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:48

your citation of Iconis also misrepresents what she actually said in the piece.

you claim:
And in a literature review concerning rape myth acceptance, Rosemary Iconis, in a 2008 article for Contemporary Issues in Education Research (2nd Quarter, 2008, available at http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/CIER/article/viewFile/1201/1185) notes that at least three independent studies over several decades have shown that male athletes are more prone than others to believe that women lie about being raped 50 percent of the time.

what she actually wrote:
Examinations of intercollegiate athletes have found males to be significantly more likely than females to demonstrate a greater acceptance of rape myths (Sawyer, 2002; Syzmanjki, Devlin, Chisler & Vyse, 1993). In her study of intercollegiate athletes, Sawyer (2002) found that both male and female respondents, though predominately males, felt that about half of all reported rapes were invented by women. In other words, it was believed that women lied about being raped 50% of the time.

So the Iconis article says that male athletes are more likely than female athletes (not just 'others' as you claim) to believe that women lie about being raped 50% of the time. The report says absolutely nothing about the attitudes of athletes vs. the attitudes of non-athletes. This quoted sentence is the only sentence in the entire piece that even mentions athletics. The piece also notes that males as a whole are more likely than females as whole to accept rape myths.

On top of it, Iconis cites two studies, not three as you claim. So the entire sum of your evidence is one student thesis that concludes exactly the opposite of what you claim and one sentence from a literature review that you also misconstrue? Nice going Dumm. Quality work.

David Moore '78 (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 19:12

This Opinion piece, while in true Amherst tradition has stirred some interesting, and I am sure important, debate, seems clueless when it comes to Alumni relations with the College. I have been active in fundraising for Amherst since I graduated (gulp!) almost 35 years ago. I have solicited directly and indirectly (through my various leadership roles of several campaigns) hundreds of gifts totalling well over $100 million dollars for Amherst. I cannot site ONE SINGLE time when an alum made or didn't make a contribution to Amherst because of our athletic "prowess." We all--students, alums, faculty, even children of alums--take great pride when a team wins a national championship, beats Williams, or simply performs well on a beautiful Fall afternoon. "The outsized power of our athletic complex among alumni and trustees"? Is this a joke? My first-hand experience is that alumni and trustees support the College with our time and money because of our steadfast belief in liberal education, the relationships we have with classmates and the college, our respect for the faculty, and our appreciation for Amherst launching us into the "real world." To believe that anyone truly committed to Amherst College would sacrifice any part of its core educational mission for a few recruits or a few more wins has no understanding of why we all chose to attend Amherst in the first place. I am surprised that Professor Dunn doesn't understand this. I hope he is in the minority among our faculty.

5 College Student (not verified) says:
Sun, 02/17/2013 - 20:58

These comments are pretty sickening. Professor Dumm brings up an important point. Athletics are valued far too much in academic institutions because the alumni provide hefty donations. There is a correlation between violence and sports. I commend the Professor for speaking out about the extreme sports cultural values at Amherst College. It's the reputation that Amherst has throughout the 5 colleges.

E (not verified) says:
Mon, 02/18/2013 - 14:07

I hope Biddy does something about Professor Dumm. What would happen if he wrote an article generalizing homosexuals and HIV, there'd be a bloodbath on campus. Yet you can generalize sexual assaults with athletes. Come on Amherst. Go back Penn St Dumm.

Anon (not verified) says:
Mon, 02/18/2013 - 16:56

The self-righteous fury expressed in these comments is itself interesting, if not telling.

Consider Dumm's argument, which may be reduced to a few simple questions:

1. Is it or is it not the case that the SMOC report should have considered -- at least as a hypothesis to be investigated -- the possibility of a connection between athletic culture and the attitudes that are conducive to rape?

The SMOC committee answered this question in the negative: it made a "philosophic decision" not to focus on any one group, not because there was no conclusive evidence to justify this focus, but because such a focus would be "counterproductive." Dumm objects to that: he thinks the committee at least should have considered the possibility of a connection between athletic culture and the attitudes that are conducive to rape.

Any athlete with a clean conscience and clear mind, any athlete who really does desire a rape free campus, should welcome Dumm's call for scrutiny, because if indeed there is nothing to hide, then the study he proposes would definitively disprove the "stereotype" that there is an overlap on Amherst College campus between rape culture and athletic culture. There is, in fact, one post in this forum that responds in this way, saying that a study would exonerate student athletes. But is quite remarkable that there is, in fact, ONLY one response of this sort. The main response has been self-righteous rage.

Now, make no mistake about this: self-righteous rage, in response to the argument the SMOC committee at least should have considered, as a hypothesis, the possibility of a connection between athletic culture and the attitudes that are conducive to rape -- this rage actually confirms Dumm's argument. Phrased in the positive, the rage actually amounts to a positive assertion: the SMOC committee should not have studied -- not even as a hypothesis -- the possibility of a connection between athletic culture and the attitudes that are conducive to rape. This connection is not even possible. It is outside the realm of possibility. It is unthinkable that this connection exists. It should not be studied at all, and even to mention that it should have been one among things for the SMOC committee to study is -- an outrage so extreme that it is akin to the persecution of ethnic minorities.

Behind this remarkably bizarre outrage, even in its manifest incoherence, there is nevertheless a unifying kernel, it is not difficult to hear a more basic accusation. What is Dumm's problem? Why, he has transgressed the unspoken commandment that apparently exists at Amherst College: THOU SHALT NOT POSE CRITICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT ATHLETIC CULTURE AT AMHERST COLLEGE. But of course, Dumm's entire point is that this commandment exists and is observed by students, alums, and administrators alike. Remember, the excessive rage directed at Dumm in this forum -- he should be made to leave Amherst -- is directed at an extremely modest claim: athletic culture ought to have been examined, as one among many hypotheses, in the SMOC report. It's amazing: that's what his critics take issue with, the mere idea that this ought to have been studied *at all*. This is why the all criticisms of Dumm really reduce to a single claim: THOU SHALT NOT POSE CRITICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT ATHLETIC CULTURE AT AMHERST COLLEGE.

2. Is it or is it not the case that there is a substantial enough body of research to have justified this hypothesis? No, let's back up: when a study is inconclusive on a given topic, does that mean that one does not study that topic any longer? Of course not: that would be to treat inconclusiveness as its opposite, a conclusion. Well then, let's look at some of the evidence supporting Dumm's hypothesis that athletic culture should be a hypothesis. As you read the following, taken from the "inconclusive" report cited on 2/15 above, ask yourself a single question: Is it or is it not the case that there is a substantial enough body of research to have justified this hypothesis?

"Humphrey and Kahn (2000) asked 52 upper class students at a large university to rank the school’s fraternity and sports teams based on how likely they were to have a party where sexual violence might occur. After determining the risk levels associated with each group, researchers distributed questionnaires to four groups at high risk and four groups with low risk. Research measured a total of 182 male participants for levels or sexual aggression, hostility towards women, and alcohol consumption. Analysis of the data indicated that the groups who were associated with facilitating risky party atmospheres had attitudes that were more sexually aggressive and hostile towards women.

Examining the relationship between group membership and the proclivity for rape supportive attitudes, Boeringer (1999) surveyed 113 fraternity members, 52 athletes, and a control group of 312 males from a larger southwest university. Boeringer found that students who are members of a fraternity or an athletic team were more likely to have attitudes that support rape. The author suggested that hyper-masculine peer influence might reinforce hostile attitudes towards women.
Focusing on aggressive behavior outside of the context of sport, Pappas, McKenry, and Catlett (2004) studied five hockey players from the Canadian minor leagues using participant observation and semi-structured interviews. Researchers concluded that violent and aggressive behavior in the participants was not limited to the ice. The athletes continually expressed their toughness in social settings with alcohol abuse and sexist beliefs compounding aggressive attitude and behavior.

Examining instances of battering and sexual assault perpetrated by male athletes participating in intercollegiate athletics, Crosset, Benedict, and McDonald (1995) gathered reports from judicial affairs offices and campus police departments at 10 large universities with major sports programs. The data included 20 cases of battering and 69 cases of sexual assault. Researchers determined that athletes were overrepresented in the data in comparison to their non-athlete student peers.
Comparing arrest and conviction rates of college and professional athletes with the general population, Benedict and Klein (1997) reviewed 217 police reported cases of sexual assault. Data collected from 1986 to 1995 indicated that athletes were much more likely to be arrested for sexual assault, but less likely to actually be convicted than members of the general population."

2a. Consider now a testimonial from an Amherst student, from another criticism of the SMOC report, one whose argument is essential to this forum yet ignored within it:

"Indeed, the importance of challenging cultural attitudes is precisely why the SMOC report's outright dismissal of fraternity and athletic cultures is so worrisome. The report's indiscriminate exoneration of these cultures for their roles in promoting sexual violence ("Our committee came to the conclusion that it was counterproductive to try to indict any one demographic" (2)) defies widely accepted national data, as well as anecdotal evidence on campus (e.g., eight of the ten Amherst College survivors I know were raped by athletes; many of these women say they were not interviewed by SMOC). To be clear: fraternities and athletics are not, in and of themselves, the cause of rape; and the vast majority of fraternity members and athletes are, of course, not rapists. But in some fraternities and some sports teams, male aggression and entitlement to female bodies (via force, coercion, or undermining of ability to resist) is -- however explicitly or implicitly -- condoned, thereby giving individual perpetrators within their ranks the social license to operate."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-bolger/amherst-sexual-assault-rape-_b...

3. Supposing then that (a) there is a "substantial enough" (not conclusive, just "substantial enough") body of evidence supporting the need for the SMOC committee to have studied the connection between athletic culture and rape culture; and that (b) there are important testimonials about the very same connection on Amherst College's campus, why then didn't the SMOC committee at least investigate this connection? Why didn't they even pose the question, at all? Why did they rule the question out in advance as "counterproductive"? Dumm offers some ideas about why this might be the case. The self-righteous rage in this forum, however, offers another: THOU SHALT NOT POSE CRITICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT ATHLETIC CULTURE AT AMHERST COLLEGE.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Tue, 02/19/2013 - 13:53

The sad fact is that certain athletes are walking legal liabilities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_traumatic_encephalopathy

When do you think the first CTE lawsuit by an alum against a college will be? 2018? 2023?

Think about it.

Alum (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 09:55

The Opinion written by Professor Thomas Dumm has understandably created some controversy and much discussion and commentary. As many have pointed out, Professor Dumm’s bias against athletics, well known on campus and across the alumni base, is starkly apparent in his approach to the report on sexual misconduct. The commentary here is a small representation of the wider discussion outside of The Student. The alumni discussion, as noted by a member of the class of 1980, has quickly turned from Tom Dumm’s obvious prejudice and egregious profiling to the more surprising but equally disturbing potential for schisms on campus and within the Amherst community. I am hopeful that the strident voices here are in a distinct minority, a fringe opinion grounded in highly individual perspectives, rather than the widespread discord and lack of understanding and community that has been asserted. As much as Professor Dumm’s decision to write this piece is viewed by many as regrettable, at least it has provoked discussion of what we stand for, what type of behavior and values we aspire to and how to build a culture of mutual respect. In the end, these ideals are at the core of the Special Oversight Committee’s report, a fact either missed or intentionally ignored by Thomas Dumm.
Professor Dumm’s “Opinion” is disturbing, and has many aspects that all should find troubling. First, Professor Dumm has done a disservice to the report on sexual misconduct at Amherst, and the members of the Special Oversight Committee who worked on it, by quickly dismissing all of the thoughtful work done to address potential causes of a very serious issue in the Amherst community, together with many good recommendations on prevention, education, communication, reporting and care for victims of sexual assault and misconduct. Second, he has added to the divisiveness on campus and in the broader Amherst community, rather than taking a more constructive approach and working to build community and understanding. Third, he has made sweeping generalizations about a class of people, some of whom are his students, rather than treating them as individuals. Fourth, he has used the Committee on Sexual Misconduct as a platform for his attack on athletics at Amherst, implicitly demeaning the core issue that was the subject of the Committee and its report. Finally, his Opinion contains many factual omissions and errors which someone with his academic background would find unacceptable if presented for consideration in one of his own classes.
With respect to the first point, I think Professor Dumm is entitled to his opinion, but hope that he first approached one or more members of the committee to understand what they did and did not do, how their work was conducted and why they arrived at the priorities and conclusions described in their report. Common courtesy should guide one to this behavior, and genuine scholarship and an interest in understanding would dictate this approach. The article in The Student also would have informed Tom Dumm’s opinion, where he could have read a short description of the breadth of the committee’s investigation before concluding “it didn’t look”. After reading Professor Dumm's Opinion I suspect he was less interested in hearing those answers, or treating the members of the Committee as trustworthy people and sincere and concerned individuals, than he was in making a loud and explosive statement of his positions in The Amherst Student. As a result, I think he has an agenda that is grounded in something other than concern for the best outcome for the Amherst College community. Professor Dumm’s attempt to indict athletics and his perception of a conspiracy among the College, alumni donors and the “athletic complex” distracts from the absence in his “Opinion” of any constructive criticism of the committee’s recommendations. Even Tom Dumm would have to agree that the breadth of education, prevention, communication and disciplinary recommendations would apply to all students and all potential causes of sexual misconduct, regardless of what group an individual may be associated with, and despite anyone’s stereotypes or speculation about that individual.
The Committee can and should speak for itself and I hope it will respond to this attack. It is worth noting, however, that the report states that “our research found that athletes were not disproportionately represented among the perpetrators”, a finding that Professor Dumm somehow twists into a conclusion that “the Committee found no evidence because it didn’t look”. The Committee did look, it was clear from the report, and a conversation with one of the Committee members would have given Tom Dumm better insight into what was or wasn’t done by the Committee. Others have noted the differences between Amherst College and the institutions mentioned in the studies referenced by Professor Dumm, as well as the strength of the conclusions in the citations he relied on. With respect to Amherst in particular, the cases on record were examined and the number of incidents involving athletes were no different than any other classification. Tom Dumm reaches for under reporting, an issue present in all categories of sexual misconduct, since the facts don’t support his thesis. The facts are that the Committee did hold interviews and other discussions with students and a broad cross section of the Amherst community, and has recommended that further work and research into student life, campus culture and the atmosphere in the community be pursued. Yet Professor Dumm brings a closed mind and a foregone conclusion to his reading of the report, and apparently would only be satisfied with an indictment of the “athletic complex” he perceives to exist at Amherst.
The commentary following this piece demonstrates how damaging this opinion is, as the discussion moved quickly from the report on sexual misconduct to “what is wrong with athletes and athletics at Amherst”, and from there to unvarnished and unapologetic prejudice, misconception and libelous accusations. Many athletes already feel antagonized and not fully welcome on campus despite their individual academic or personal qualifications and attributes, and this latest incident is unkind, unhelpful and simply wrong. This “Opinion” is certainly not working towards a culture of respect and is wholly inconsistent with a community that values diversity and the different attitudes and character traits of all individual members of the Amherst College community. I hold Professor Dumm accountable for these comments since Professor’s Dumm’s words, his actions and his reputation on campus send a message that profiling and stereotyping, judging an individual on the basis of their affiliation or appearance rather than their individual actions, is acceptable behavior. Further, Professor’s Dumm’s piece sends a message to all that it is OK to make outrageous statements and to draw erroneous and self-serving conclusions about athletes without regard to the truth, that it is appropriate for an Amherst professor to behave with an explicit and aggressive bias regardless of the harm this inflicts on innocent students at Amherst and regardless of how offensive this behavior and these beliefs are. These are strong words, yet Tom Dumm’s actions call for a firm statement of the principles by which we abide. It offends and saddens those with rational sensibilities that Professor Dumm supports the idea that judging any class of people on the basis of gross generalizations and stereotypes is anything but categorically wrong.
Professor Dumm's piece raises many concerns, but also should be recognized for what it is. This "opinion piece" was not written to help provide a better understanding of how to address sexual misconduct at Amherst or to improve the set of recommendations put forth by the Oversight Committee. It should be clear to all that this “opinion” is not really about sexual misconduct but rather a not so well veiled diatribe against athletics. For some reason best understood by a psychiatrist, Tom Dumm does not like athletes and those who engage in sports. A misguided criticism of spending on athletic facilities and a somewhat irrelevant and tangential reference to concussions in contact sports, points unrelated to the issues that are the focus of the committee’s report, are just a few examples of the underlying emotions driving the Dumm “Opinion”. He is entitled to harbor his own prejudices and uninformed, self-serving views, but it is unacceptable to inflict them on the Amherst community in a manner which constitutes a verbal assault, particularly given the position of power and influence held by Professor Dumm. We would not tolerate this behavior if directed at another class, whether that class was based on gender, race, religion, socio-economic, cultural differences or any other category that does not convey moral distinctions of that group. We judge groups when the reason of their affiliation is a purpose that deserves our condemnation. Athletics is not an association that warrants categorization of its members beyond the morally neutral, if not positive, purpose of athletic endeavor.
We should judge individuals on their behavior and actions. Professor Dumm has confirmed for those who read his piece what many on campus and in the body of the alumni were already fully aware of, namely his aggressive dislike for athletes and athletics. Athletes should not have to worry that their professor carries a bias against “their kind” before they register for a course or walk in a classroom. A teacher, someone who seeks to help others to learn, should be ashamed by such offensive behavior. Any teacher with this level of apparent prejudice should be asked to assure his fellow faculty members and the college administration that his blatant bias does not prevent him from serving as a professor at Amherst. The faculty and administration of Amherst should weigh in as to whether they agree or disagree with Thomas Dumm and the bias and prejudice he stands for. The 2,000 pound gorilla on campus is not Tom Dumm’s athletic elephant but rather the unwillingness of the college community to take on a member of the faculty when he or she steps over the line of appropriate behavior. To be clear, when we are faced with isolated incidents involving individual faculty members, we don’t judge the Amherst faculty as a group inclined to act badly or to require constraints or to be more likely to exhibit any other trait just because of the isolated individual incident, much less because that behavior might be prevalent at a higher rate on a national basis or among faculty members at some other different institution. Similarly, if there are incidents involving individuals involved with athletics we don’t cast allegations about all athletes.
Finally, Professor Dumm, perhaps blinded by his own bias and prejudice, can see capital spending on athletics but fails to see hundreds of millions of dollars spent by Amherst on scholarships and academics, in addition to similar amounts being spent on operating the college apart from the athletic budget. Giving by Amherst alumni represents an attempt to give back to an institution that did so much for each person who has had the privilege of attending Amherst, not a barometer of win-loss records. As Tom Dumm should know and could easily ascertain, the college pays roughly half of the cost of each students’ education, and recently raised over $450 million for academic priorities like need-based scholarships and financial aid, hiring new professors and expanding academic facilities. It does not take much investigation to understand the facts. The College spends about 4 - 5% of the $1.6 billion endowment each year to support the operating budget of the college, roughly $65 – $80 million per year, plus about $10 million per year from the Annual Fund. Said another way, the college runs a shortfall of about $75 to $80 million per year before contributions from the endowment and the annual fund. Roughly 60% of the total of about $140 million in current expenses is spent on instruction, meaning salaries and benefits for faculty and staff, which remains the core of Amherst’s mission. Athletics is a small fraction of annual spending. Apart from the annual operating budget, Amherst’s capital investment is also overwhelmingly focused on academics. You may see a $10 or $15 million project for athletics if you drive down Route 9 but you only need to walk on campus to see a $225 to $250 million project to build a new science center, just the latest capital investment in Amherst’s ongoing pursuit of academic excellence. Further, the athletic capital projects described by Tom Dumm were funded with donations that were incremental capital, money that not only did not come from Amherst’s operating budget or endowment but also funds that would not have been donated for a purpose other than the one underway. The “Athletic Complex” and conspiracy described by Tom Dumm exists only in his mind and in his irrational fears and suppositions – he apparently has his own athletic complex, unfortunately one shared by those who keep commenting about a mythical prep school, super rich double legacy lacrosse player strutting around campus with arrogance and entitlement. I know that facts can sometimes get in the way of a good story, but when I look at the roster for the Amherst Men’s Lacrosse team, I see a team headed by captains from public schools, with a roster of student athletes from public schools. Most of the lacrosse players from private schools are from religious day schools which bear little resemblance to the prep schools maligned in the comments, and I am sure that the players come from families with nothing like the economic backgrounds of these misguided and offensive comments.
Maybe this is naïve, but I would like to believe that Amherst students, athletes and non-athletes, will continue to work to understand each other better and to embrace the diversity and opportunity that Amherst provides. Ideally we can all think of each other as individuals, not as members of “groups” and certainly not as members of offensive stereotypes. Amherst students are incredibly fortunate to be part of a community filled with open minded and unbiased teachers and fellow students. There are always exceptions, but most people want to do the right thing, and would rather treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves. It is sometimes easier to say this then to do it, but we should all try to avoid rushing to judgments. If making a judgment of others, we need to make sure it is based on actual experience and a reasoned and grounded evaluation, applied on a principled basis, a standard you would apply to all individuals and that you would want to also be judged by if the shoe were on the other foot.
The Class of 1980 alums hit on a very important point – no matter what your identity, background, preferences, cultural makeup, affiliations, position on athletics or tastes in music or politics, you are all members of a community, one that should and will enjoy lifelong ties built on a shared set of formative experiences. Never lose sight of that.
From the vantage point of someone no longer on campus, I hope that the painful and strident comments come from a distinct but vocal minority on campus, that the overwhelming majority of the Amherst community has a more balanced and understanding view of the community as a whole and of the individuals that make up this community. I know that everyone hopes that the Committee’s recommendations will improve an already healthy community and further the ties of mutual respect. Most importantly, we should all pray for the victims of sexual misconduct and hope that they can draw strength from this community and sense of common concern and caring. I worry in particular for those victims who do not report the incidents suffered, and hope that the committee’s recommendations will bring not only fewer incidents but more willingness to seek help if any form of sexual misconduct occurs. Amherst is a special place, filed with too many extraordinary people, to accept anything less than this ideal.

Faculty member (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 10:01

Amherst prides itself as the "singing" college and the "reading" college. At least we still sing. Imagine if students were subjected to the sort of name-calling, chest-thumping, mischaracterization and sarcasm in class everytime they asked a question.

The very fury of the reaction to Prof Dumm's question reveals that the problem festers. And the support that his remarks receive reveal that the campus needs an open dicussion about this issue.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:27

It's pathetic to see so many of my former classmates up in arms about this, the very classmates who were predominantly white, wealthy and participated in the homophobic, racist, and sexist jock culture on campus. They're absolutely blind to their sense of entitlement and relative comfort to other members of the student body, and it's insane that they feel victimized by the very IDEA THAT MAYBE POSSIBLY an examination of athletic culture at amherst is in order. At the same time, I'm not surprised considering how stupid so many of the jocks are at Amherst. Amherst is shooting itself in the foot by evolving more and more into a jock school and losing open-minded, smart students to Swarthmore and Wesleyan etc

Anon (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 19:42

"Amherst is shooting itself in the foot by evolving more and more into a jock school and losing open-minded, smart students to Swarthmore and Wesleyan etc"

Do you think Amherst missed out on these stellar Wesleyan students?
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/02/wesleyan-students-had-wa...

Also with regard to the discussion of prep schools, many of the prep schools inaccurately portrayed offer full scholarships to students whose families make below a certain amount ( for some the family income mark is $75,000 and some $100,000 and above). Moreover, at many of these prep schools over one third of the students receive financial aid in amounts so significant to make overall costs less than local parochial and day schools . Just because a student attended a prep school does not mean they are wealthy. Research, research, research...this information is readily available .

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/28/2013 - 00:55

You would think I'd be upset at all of the outrageous stereotypes against athletes in this article, but what really gets me is that every morning I have to wake up to the God forsaken sounds of beeping trucks and plowing bulldozers-- the ones building our $220 MILLION DOLLAR SCIENCE CENTER-- and Professor Dumm is irked by the idea of a long-overdue athletics complex. One given by a donor at that. I mean really...

Williams (not verified) says:
Wed, 12/10/2014 - 10:22

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{internet browsers|web browsers|browsers} and I must say this blog
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{Thanks a lot|Kudos|Cheers|Thank you|Many thanks|Thanks}, I appreciate it!|
{I love|I really like|I like|Everyone loves} it {when people|when individuals|when folks|whenever people}
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{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hello|Hey} just wanted to give you a quick
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The {style and design|design and style|layout|design} look great though!

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{topic|matter} on {net|web} as compared to {books|textbooks}, as I found this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph}
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{It is the|It's the} little changes {that make|which
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theme. Did you {create|develop|make|build} {this website|this
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{Hi there|Hello there|Howdy}! This {post|article|blog post} {couldn't|could not} be written {any better|much better}!
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{Any kind of|Any} help would be {really|greatly} appreciated!|
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day}!
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{Other than that|Apart from that|Besides that|Aside from that},
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{I am|I'm} {extremely|really} {inspired|impressed}
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{Hi|Hello}, i think that i saw you visited my {blog|weblog|website|web site|site} {so|thus} i
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to {improve|enhance} my {website|site|web site}!I suppose its ok to use {some of|a few o\

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yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

{It's|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|
I {couldn't|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.
{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I'll} {right away|immediately} {take
hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss
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subscription {link|hyperlink} or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service.

Do {you have|you've} any? {Please|Kindly} {allow|permit|let} me {realize|recognize|understand|recognise|know} {so that|in order that} I {may
just|may|could} subscribe. Thanks.|
{It is|It's} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to
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{I have|I've} read this post and if I could I {want to|wish to|desire to} suggest you {few|some} interesting things or {advice|suggestions|tips}.
{Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write next articles referring to this article.
I {want to|wish to|desire to} read {more|even more} things
about it!|
{It is|It's} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make
{a few|some} plans for {the future|the longer term|the long run} and {it is|it's} time to be
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you {few|some} {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing}
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{relating to|referring to|regarding} this article.
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{It's|It is} {lovely|pretty|beautiful} {worth|value|price} {enough|sufficient} for
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probably did}, the {internet|net|web} {will be|shall be|might be|will probably be|can be|will likely be} {much
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Ahaa, its {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {discussion|conversation|dialogue} {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic
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this place} at this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site},
I have read all that, so {now|at this time} me also commenting {here|at this place}.|
I am sure this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} has touched
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Way cool! Some {very|extremely} valid points!
I appreciate you {writing this|penning this} {article|post|write-up}
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Hi, {I do believe|I do think} {this is an excellent|this is
a great} {blog|website|web site|site}. I stumbledupon it ;) {I will|I am going to|I'm going
to|I may} {come back|return|revisit} {once again|yet again} {since I|since i
have} {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved
as a favorite} it. Money and freedom {is the best|is the greatest} way to change, may you be rich and continue to
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Woah! I'm really {loving|enjoying|digging}
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These are {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {great|enormous|impressive|wonderful|fantastic} ideas
in {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} blogging.
You have touched some {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {points|factors|things} here.

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{I love|I really like|I enjoy|I like|Everyone loves} what you guys {are|are usually|tend to be}
up too. {This sort of|This type of|Such|This kind of} clever
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{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey}! Someone in my
{Myspace|Facebook} group shared this {site|website} with us
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and design|design and style|design}.|
{I love|I really like|I enjoy|I like|Everyone loves} what you guys {are|are usually|tend to be} up too.
{This sort of|This type of|Such|This kind of} clever
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{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey} would you mind {stating|sharing} which blog platform
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near future|soon} but I'm having a {tough|difficult|hard} time {making a decision|selecting|choosing|deciding} between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your {design and style|design|layout} seems different then most blogs and I'm
looking for something {completely unique|unique}.
P.S {My apologies|Apologies|Sorry} for {getting|being} off-topic but I
had to ask!|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hey there|Hello|Hey} would you mind letting me
know which {webhost|hosting company|web host} you're {utilizing|working with|using}?
I've loaded your blog in 3 {completely different|different}
{internet browsers|web browsers|browsers} and I must say this blog loads
a lot {quicker|faster} then most. Can you {suggest|recommend} a good {internet hosting|web hosting|hosting}
provider at a {honest|reasonable|fair} price? {Thanks a lot|Kudos|Cheers|Thank you|Many thanks|Thanks},
I appreciate it!|
{I love|I really like|I like|Everyone loves} it {when people|when individuals|when folks|whenever people} {come together|get together} and share {opinions|thoughts|views|ideas}.
Great {blog|website|site}, {keep it up|continue the
good work|stick with it}!|
Thank you for the {auspicious|good} writeup. It in fact
was a amusement account it. Look advanced to {far|more} added agreeable from you!
{By the way|However}, how {can|could} we communicate?|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hello|Hey} just wanted to give you a quick
heads up. The {text|words} in your {content|post|article}
seem to be running off the screen in {Ie|Internet explorer|Chrome|Firefox|Safari|Opera}.
I'm not sure if this is a {format|formatting} issue or something to do with {web browser|internet browser|browser} compatibility but I {thought|figured} I'd post
to let you know. The {style and design|design and style|layout|design}
look great though! Hope you get the {problem|issue} {solved|resolved|fixed} soon. {Kudos|Cheers|Many thanks|Thanks}|
This is a topic {that is|that's|which is} {close to|near to} my heart...
{Cheers|Many thanks|Best wishes|Take care|Thank you}!
{Where|Exactly where} are your contact details though?|
It's very {easy|simple|trouble-free|straightforward|effortless} to find out any {topic|matter} on {net|web} as compared to {books|textbooks}, as I found this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} at this {website|web site|site|web page}.|
Does your {site|website|blog} have a contact page? I'm having {a tough time|problems|trouble} locating it
but, I'd like to {send|shoot} you an {e-mail|email}.
I've got some {creative ideas|recommendations|suggestions|ideas} for your blog you might
be interested in hearing. Either way, great {site|website|blog} and I look forward to
seeing it {develop|improve|expand|grow} over time.|
{Hola|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Greetings}! I've been {following|reading} your {site|web site|website|weblog|blog} for {a
long time|a while|some time} now and finally got the {bravery|courage} to go ahead and give you
a shout out from {New Caney|Kingwood|Huffman|Porter|Houston|Dallas|Austin|Lubbock|Humble|Atascocita} {Tx|Texas}!

Just wanted to {tell you|mention|say} keep up the {fantastic|excellent|great|good} {job|work}!|
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angeles|California}! I'm {bored to tears|bored to death|bored} at work
so I decided to {check out|browse} your {site|website|blog} on my iphone during lunch break.
I {enjoy|really like|love} the {knowledge|info|information} you {present|provide}
here and can't wait to take a look when I get home.

I'm {shocked|amazed|surprised} at how {quick|fast} your blog loaded on my {mobile|cell phone|phone} ..
I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. {Anyhow|Anyways}, {awesome|amazing|very
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Its {like you|such as you} {read|learn} my {mind|thoughts}!

You {seem|appear} {to understand|to know|to grasp} {so much|a
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{I think|I feel|I believe} {that you|that you simply|that you
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{A great|An excellent|A fantastic} read. {I'll|I will} {definitely|certainly} be back.|
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{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hello}, i read your blog {occasionally|from time to time} and
i own a similar one and i was just {wondering|curious} if you get a lot of spam {comments|responses|feedback|remarks}?
If so how do you {prevent|reduce|stop|protect against} it,
any plugin or anything you can {advise|suggest|recommend}?
I get so much lately it's driving me {mad|insane|crazy} so any {assistance|help|support} is very
much appreciated.|
Greetings! {Very helpful|Very useful} advice
{within this|in this particular} {article|post}! {It is the|It's the}
little changes {that make|which will make|that produce|that will make}
{the biggest|the largest|the greatest|the most important|the most significant} changes.
{Thanks a lot|Thanks|Many thanks} for sharing!|
{I really|I truly|I seriously|I absolutely} love {your blog|your site|your website}..
{Very nice|Excellent|Pleasant|Great} colors & theme.
Did you {create|develop|make|build} {this website|this
site|this web site|this amazing site} yourself? Please
reply back as I'm {looking to|trying to|planning to|wanting to|hoping
to|attempting to} create {my own|my very own|my own personal} {blog|website|site} and {would like to|want to|would love to} {know|learn|find out} where you got this from or {what the|exactly what the|just what the} theme {is called|is
named}. {Thanks|Many thanks|Thank you|Cheers|Appreciate it|Kudos}!|
{Hi there|Hello there|Howdy}! This {post|article|blog post}
{couldn't|could not} be written {any better|much better}!
{Reading through|Looking at|Going through|Looking through} this {post|article} reminds me
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about} this. {I will|I'll|I am going to|I most certainly will} {forward|send} {this
article|this information|this post} to him. {Pretty
sure|Fairly certain} {he will|he'll|he's going to} {have a
good|have a very good|have a great} read. {Thank you for|Thanks for|Many thanks for|I appreciate you for} sharing!|
{Wow|Whoa|Incredible|Amazing}! This blog looks {exactly|just} like my old one!

It's on a {completely|entirely|totally} different {topic|subject} but it has
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{There is|There's} {definately|certainly} {a lot to|a great deal to} {know about|learn about|find out about} this {subject|topic|issue}.
{I like|I love|I really like} {all the|all of the} points {you made|you've made|you have made}.|
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{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What's up}, I {log on to|check|read} your
{new stuff|blogs|blog} {regularly|like every week|daily|on a regular
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{I have|I've got|I have got} you {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} {to check out|to
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Keep on posting!|
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My {coder|programmer|developer} is trying to {persuade|convince} me to move to .net from
PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the
{expenses|costs}. But he's tryiong none
the less. I've been using {Movable-type|WordPress} on {a number of|a variety
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{Any kind of|Any} help would be {really|greatly} appreciated!|
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day}!
I could have sworn I've {been to|visited} {this
blog|this web site|this website|this site|your blog} before but after {browsing through|going through|looking at} {some of
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{I found|I discovered|I came across|I stumbled upon} it
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{Terrific|Great|Wonderful} {article|work}!
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{Disgrace|Shame} on {the {seek|search} engines|Google} for
{now not|not|no longer} positioning this {post|submit|publish|put up} {upper|higher}!

Come on over and {talk over with|discuss with|seek advice from|visit|consult with} my {site|web site|website} .
{Thank you|Thanks} =)|
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I hope to give something back and {help|aid} others like you {helped|aided} me.|
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{I just|I simply|I merely} wanted to {give you a|provide you with a} quick heads up!

{Other than that|Apart from that|Besides that|Aside from that}, {fantastic|wonderful|great|excellent} {blog|website|site}!|
{A person|Someone|Somebody} {necessarily|essentially} {lend a hand|help|assist}
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{Great|Wonderful|Fantastic|Magnificent|Excellent} {task|process|activity|job}!|
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{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day|Hey there}!
{I just|I simply} {would like to|want to|wish to} {give you a|offer you a} {huge|big} thumbs up {for the|for your} {great|excellent} {info|information} {you have|you've got|you have
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thanks to web.|
Your {way|method|means|mode} of {describing|explaining|telling} {everything|all|the whole thing} in this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, {all|every one} {can|be able to|be capable of} {easily|without difficulty|effortlessly|simply} {understand|know|be aware of} it, Thanks a lot.|
{Hi|Hello} there, {I found|I discovered} your {blog|website|web site|site} {by means of|via|by
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{Hello|Hi} there, {simply|just} {turned into|became|was|become|changed into} {aware of|alert to} your {blog|weblog} {thru|through|via} Google,
{and found|and located} that {it is|it's} {really|truly} informative.
{I'm|I am} {gonna|going to} {watch out|be careful} for brussels.
{I will|I'll} {appreciate|be grateful} {if you|should you|when you|in the event you|in case you|for those who|if you happen to} {continue|proceed} this {in future}.
{A lot of|Lots of|Many|Numerous} {other folks|folks|other people|people} {will be|shall be|might be|will probably be|can be|will
likely be} benefited {from your|out of your} writing. Cheers!|
{I am|I'm} curious to find out what blog {system|platform} {you have been|you happen to be|you are|you're} {working with|utilizing|using}?
I'm {experiencing|having} some {minor|small} security {problems|issues} with my latest {site|website|blog} and {I would|I'd} like to find something more {safe|risk-free|safeguarded|secure}.
Do you have any {solutions|suggestions|recommendations}?|
{I am|I'm} {extremely|really} impressed with your writing skills {and also|as well as} with the layout on your {blog|weblog}.
Is this a paid theme or did you {customize|modify} it yourself?
{Either way|Anyway} keep up the {nice|excellent} quality writing,
{it's|it is} rare to see a {nice|great} blog like this one {these days|nowadays|today}.|
{I am|I'm} {extremely|really} {inspired|impressed} {with your|together with your|along with your} writing {talents|skills|abilities} {and
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{stay|keep} up the {nice|excellent} {quality|high quality}
writing, {it's|it is} {rare|uncommon} {to peer|to see|to look}
a {nice|great} {blog|weblog} like this one {these days|nowadays|today}..|
{Hi|Hello}, Neat post. {There is|There's} {a problem|an issue} {with your|together with your|along with your} {site|web site|website} in {internet|web} explorer, {may|might|could|would}
{check|test} this? IE {still|nonetheless} is the {marketplace|market} {leader|chief} and {a large|a good|a big|a huge} {part of|section of|component to|portion of|component
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{leave out|omit|miss|pass over} your {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} writing {due
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{I'm|I am} not sure where {you are|you're} getting your {info|information}, but {good|great} topic.
I needs to spend some time learning {more|much more} or
understanding more. Thanks for {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} {information|info}
I was looking for this {information|info} for my mission.|
{Hi|Hello}, i think that i saw you visited my {blog|weblog|website|web
site|site} {so|thus} i came to “return the favor”.{I am|I'm} {trying to|attempting to} find things to {improve|enhance} my {website|site|web site}!I suppose its ok to use {some of|a few of
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