When he arrived at Harry’s house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on the evening of April 23, 2016, Dev had good reasons to be a tad apprehensive.
The occasion was Med Ball, a yearly prom for students enrolled in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University (MSU). Dev was one of those students, and he had decided at the last minute to accept an invitation to gather with a small group of acquaintances for drinks before the main event.
He knew several of them—Harry the host, and two women, Jillian and Valerie—from a service trip to Cuba a few weeks earlier, during spring break. Dev had thought he’d detected a certain mutual attraction between himself and Jillian, though nothing came of it. After Cuba, she broke up with her boyfriend and entered into a casual, friends-with-benefits arrangement with Harry. Valerie’s date for the Med Ball was Lucas, her soon-to-be-ex-husband. (All these names have all been changed to protect their anonymity.)
The night began with beers, wine, and Cuban cigars. It ended with hangovers and regret, following a series of alcohol-fueled arguments, dancing, some tears, and sexual encounters between several unexpected pairs of people. In other words, it was a night the various participants might well have been happy to forget—and move on with their lives.
But Dev can never move on from that night. Two years later, Jillian and Valerie told friends and administrators that the events of Med Ball had left them feeling deeply uncomfortable about Dev and that they didn’t […]