In what at present appear to be distinct and separate cases, two alleged rapes have been reported in the local media. Two separate stories were reported in the news this past week that involve Dixie State University students as alleged victims, but only one resulted in the arrest of an alleged assailant. How the school handled these matters, however, may reveal more about the sinister machinations and dark underbelly of the institution. Something is seriously amiss at that school. DSU has a credibility problem, and it’s not just about the alleged rapes.

The first story was reported April 24 by the Dixie Sun, DSU’s student-staffed newspaper. The student in the story is reported to have had to leave the campus altogether, presumably in fear, after an investigation by university campus police, Dean of Students Del Beatty, and associate general counsel and Title IX coordinator Cindy Cole found there was not enough evidence to support her claim and advised her of such. They also informed her that the alleged assailant would be allowed to continue in his academic endeavors on campus, including registering for classes she might be in.

The second story was reported three days later on April 27. This alleged incident took place on a different timeline than the first one reported earlier, and at present, the timing of the arrest being proximal to the first story should be considered a coincidence.

This distinction between the two stories not withstanding, there is a correlation that needs to be taken into account here. That is the manner in which DSU investigates and handles not only rape allegations but any and all other cases where the rule of law, policies and procedures, and the tenets of civil liberty apply.

Before opining on this point, however, it is necessary to point something out here. Because this article is not so much about two separate rape cases as it is about how an institution systematically abuses its position and prominence in the community and destroys people’s lives in the process.

The Sun’s story implies that the student’s rape was perhaps not alleged but a matter of fact. This is despite the findings of the college and the college’s law enforcement investigation determining there was not enough evidence to pursue a charge.

In essence, albeit without naming the assailant, the Sun tried and convicted this person in the press. And social media sites are now rife with comments to the effect.

Do not misunderstand this scrutiny. It is not at all intended to challenge the validity of the alleged victim’s story. To my knowledge at present, there is no credible reason to doubt her, save the presumption of innocence and the importance of due process of law to insure not only that justice meted out properly to protect the victim but also that innocent people’s lives are not destroyed by false or incorrect allegations.

Because it is equally egregious to be falsely accused of a crime as it is to have one perpetrated upon a person. No innocent person can recover from or be made whole when a false charge is levied and lauded in print, especially if the allegation was sexual in nature.

This is why it is so important that public institutions of higher learning handle cases like these with impeccable and ethical deference not only to the victim but to the accused as well. This, rather than exacting with impunity the personal hostile agendas of the administration under color of law. It’s a practice that the school is becoming well known for.

As for the timing of these two stories, however, a reasonable retort to the Sun’s article implying that the rape really happened and that the college did not handle it correctly could be found in the second article, which was published by St. George News. Which is to say, how can someone imply that DSU does not handle these things correctly when in fact an arrest was made in the second incident involving the same type of crime?

One may want to accept at face value what DSU said in its released statement about the second rape case reported:

“DSU is a dedicated advocate for its students and their safety and works hard to ensure that all students feel safe on campus. Dixie State adheres to University Policy 154, which was written to comply with the Office of Civil Rights under the Department of Education and to keep students safe from harassment and discrimination.”

However, these were not harassment or discrimination cases. They were rape cases. In addition, there is a glaring problem with trusting this or any statement issued by the university, because the school simply has a horrific track record when it comes to following its own procedures or the law. It appears to selectively apply parts of both to suit desired outcomes, legal or not. Ethical or not. No matter whose life it destroys.

Evidence of this is found in the lawsuits brought about against the school in recent years, Varlo Davenport’s case being the most well known at present. Evidence of this is found in the firing of faculty and staff under suspicious and illegal circumstances.

It is found in the fact that the Chief of University Police Don Reid perjured himself in the Davenport trial about the existence of a security camera where an alleged incident took place. Reid has also on at least one occasion written and published a false police report. These are in violation of the most fundamental of laws pertaining to law enforcement.

Evidence of this is more prevalent than evidence to the contrary, and the fact that DSU made an arrest in one case does not assuage for one damn minute the possibility that it mishandled the other. Or that it mishandles all of them.

The above are but a few in a litany of examples illustrating that the school is not in the least in compliance with its own policies or state and federal laws when it comes to matters like this but is perhaps instead operating on an agenda.

A prevailing problem in college rape cases is that the institutions do not want them reported to police outside of campus because a record is then established that hurts their brand. This may well be the impetus behind DSU’s poor track record of reporting rapes. It may also explain its pathetic Title IX record and the fact that it has only even had a Title IX office since 2013.

But what it does not explain is just what exactly that agenda is. What it does do, however, is put a wholly founded fear in the community, both academic and otherwise, of the school and some of its ties. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, it creates a warranted distrust of how the school handles any cases, period.

And if all of this seems a bit a ambiguous, consider the possibility that this is by design. Isolate the incidents. Quell dissension. Assassinate the character of those who question. And accept no responsibility, no matter what. This is a modus operandi that has become a signature of the school and in itself is becoming a pattern.

DSU has a credibility problem, and it’s time to clean it up.

It is time to investigate the people running this school. Time to investigate the investigators. Time to investigate the backgrounds and credentials of the administration, the boards, the foundations, and the supporting entities and businesses of the school. Time to investigate the finances as they are reported versus how they may really be handled. And specifically, it’s time to investigate Dean of Students Del Beatty and his cop buddy Don Reid. Too many lives have been ruined by all of them. Victims not properly protected as well as sometimes becoming tools or targets. The accused not having their rights properly protected and becoming tools or targets. People becoming targets of others wanting their jobs or just not liking them. It’s out of hand.

It’s time to put these bastards on notice.

See you out there.

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Dallas Hyland is a professional technical writer, freelance writer and journalist, award-winning photographer, and documentary filmmaker. As a senior writer and editor-at-large at The Independent, Hyland’s investigative journalism, opinion columns, and photo essays have ranged in topics from local political and environmental issues to drug trafficking in Utah. He has also worked the international front, covering issues such as human trafficking in Colombia. His photography and film work has received recognition as well as a few modest awards and in 2015, he was a finalist for the Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Based in southern Utah, he works tirelessly at his passion for getting after the truth and occasionally telling a good story. On his rare off-days, he can be found with his family and friends exploring the pristine outdoors of Utah and beyond.