Five Best Friday Columns

Gabrielle Glaser on why colleges fail at investigating sexual assault on campus, Kavitha Davison on the latest NFL health-related lawsuit, Errin Haines Whack on Ta-Nehisi Coates' 'Case for Reparations', Rebecca Traister on Jill Abramson and asking the wrong questions about gender, Paul Krugman on the right-wing vote and the European elections.

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Gabrielle Glaser at The Los Angeles Times on why colleges fail at investigating sexual assault on campus. “When my mom entered the University of Oregon in the late 1950s, a "housemother" made nightly doorjamb patrols after the 11 p.m. lights-out. Campus rape certainly happened back when my mother was a student, but it was seldom talked about. Today, female students across the country are determined to bring it into the open and to hold schools responsible,” Glaser writes.“The disciplinary systems of colleges, designed to deal with plagiarism and roommate spats, have proved utterly inadequate to deal with the more serious issue of sexual assault. Indeed, though the crimes at issue are considered among the most serious in the criminal code, the accusations are typically handled by campus administrators who are unlikely to have the sensitivity, forensic training or expertise required to investigate a possible sex crime.” Fortune’s Caroline Fairchild tweets, “‘It wouldn't be happening if we didn't have a 1,000-year system of failure dealing with sexual assault.’”

Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg View on the latest NFL health-related lawsuit. “If the latest lawsuit by former players against the NFL teaches us anything, it's that it's finally time to do away with the entire practice of team doctors. The suit, filed Tuesday by eight retired players, including three from the Super Bowl Shuffling 1985 Chicago Bears, alleges that the league administered painkillers without prescriptions in order to mask injuries and keep the players on the field, resulting in long-term disability and drug addiction,” Davidson writes. “The conflict of interest inherent in the team doctor-player relationship is clear. A physician's primary responsibility is to his patient, but that gets muddled when the prestige and the paycheck come from the organization employing both. Frankly, it doesn't really matter if they do it on purpose or not -- no doctors should be put in a position in which they're forced to consider anything but their patients' needs.” Reuters’ Jake Hemingway tweets, “Really interesting read on the doctors and the NFL.”

Errin Haines Whack at the Guardian on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Case for Reparations.’ “Reaction to the piece has been mixed (to say the least) but it appears to be having at least part of the author's intended effect: to get people's attention, and to begin a national conversation about the lingering effects of racism and oppression in America. Coates admits that he is not starting a new argument, but he does attempt a new approach by framing reparations not just as a financial debt to be paid, but as an emotional and psychological one necessary to begin healing the entire nation (and not just black Americans),” Whack writes. “That anyone in 2014 would be pleading, as Coates is, to simply talk honestly about the implications behind centuries of proven history of one group oppressing another, is astonishing. More remarkable still could be what happens as a result of him asking the question.”

Rebecca Traister at the New Republic on Jill Abramson and asking the wrong questions about gender. “When it comes to identity politics in America, we’re always asking the wrong questions. It happened when people talked about Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President of the United States. And it’s been happening, more or less non-stop, as critics and reporters perform forensics on Jill Abramson’s 32 months as executive editor of The New York Times. The stories are different, but the template remains the same. It’s one we developed in 2008, when Clinton couldn’t lose until she lost. In the wake of her exit from the race, the media erupted in stories that seemed to pivot on one simple question: Did Hillary lose because of sexism?” Traister writes. “In certain intensely worded corners of the internet, the response was an unequivocal “yes.” Reality was far messier than that. Now, we’re performing the same oversimplified set of diagnostics on Jill Abramson, fired last week by Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. When Abramson was fired last week, it wasn’t really a joke that I hoped we’d discover she’d been stealing from the till. It’d be so much easier that way.”

Paul Krugman at The New York Times on the right-wing vote and the European elections. “A century ago, Europe tore itself apart in what was, for a time, known as the Great War — four years of death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. Later, of course, the conflict was renamed World War I — because a quarter-century later Europe did it all over again. But that was a long time ago. It’s hard to imagine war in today’s Europe, which has coalesced around democratic values and even taken its first steps toward political union. But here’s the thing: An alarmingly high fraction of the vote is expected to go to right-wing extremists hostile to the very values that made the election possible,” Krugman writes. “Why is Europe in trouble? The immediate problem is poor economic performance. The euro, Europe’s common currency, was supposed to be the culminating step in the Continent’s economic integration. Instead, it turned into a trap. It’s terrifying to see so many Europeans rejecting democratic values, but at least part of the blame rests with officials who seem more interested in price stability and fiscal probity than in democracy.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.