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Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]
C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific
Research Institute [go
to Pipes index]
[Sally C. Pipes] 1/7/05
in March 2004, we explored a case which seemed to indicate
that women are better than men at faking
stories that cast themselves as victims. The verdict is in,
15, Kerri Dunn, professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna
College in southern California, was sentenced to one
year in prison following her conviction for filing a false police
report and attempted insurance fraud.
we noted in the earlier piece, professor Dunn told police that
damaged her car, stolen more than $1,700 worth
of her personal property, and sprayed the vehicle with racial
slurs. The professor, who is white, told the police she had
been the target of "a well planned-out act of terrorism," for
speaking out against racism on campus. It wasn't quite that simple,
but Dunn's story was swallowed, hook, line, and sinker.
drew a 1,000-word news story in the Los Angeles Times, replete
photos. Police called it a hate crime. College
officials canceled classes and posted a $10,000 reward for apprehension
of the vandals. The FBI even joined the hunt. Dunn became a hero
on campus, a champion of the battle against oppression. A week
later it emerged that the "act of terrorism" had indeed
been planned – by professor Dunn herself.
Two witnesses saw her Dunn driving the car, already adorned
with hateful graffiti, into a parking garage, where she smashed
the windshield and slashed the tires. Then the supposedly stolen
items mysteriously turned up in the possession of Dunn. Meanwhile,
reporters who had been taken in by Dunn's antics started looking
into her background.
During her time at the University of Nebraska, where she earned
degrees in law and psychology, Dunn was arrested for driving
with fictitious license plates. She was also arrested for shoplifting,
found with, among other things, a pink sweater, three Liz Claiborne
bracelets, a necklace and a pair of earrings, and $403 worth
of steak knives.
Hoaxes involving racism and sexual assault have become common
on college campuses. Some of the perpetrators are male, such
as Ahmad Saad Nasim, the University of Arizona student who faked
assaults against himself, hoping to show himself a victim of
9-11 backlash. Women, however, appear to have the upper hand.
As we previously observed, at the University of California,
Davis, student Angela Hartley made up a story about being kidnapped
at knifepoint and assaulted. University of Wisconsin student
Audry Seiler faked her own abduction. At the University of Iowa,
student Katharine Robb faked a story about being raped by four
black men. For Kerri Dunn, a faculty member no less, one year
is probably not enough but the action sends an important message.
Political correctness may still be the rule on campus but the
courts, thankfully, do not feel obliged to abide by its dogmas.
Kerri Dunn's prison sentence should prompt reporters and editors
to conduct some research and ask some hard questions before they
publish. It should encourage healthy skepticism among campus
officials, who must no longer take seriously the politically
correct argument that hoaxes don't matter. And most of all, it
should help explode the cult of victimhood. tRO
2005 Pacific Research Institute