The internets are afire with talk of this weekend’s “Modern Love” column in the NY Times, authored by one Ashley Cross, a reputed student at our very own university. The mysterious Ms. Cross, who could not be located by Facebook, Columbia directory, or truly thorough Googling (unless she happens to own this site), has come under attack for defending her relationship with a Harvard student suspended from the institution after being accused of rape. In her piece, Cross divulges the two are no longer together, her ex-lover’s apparently attractive assertiveness having been suppressed by the re-education programs he was ordered to attend as part of the plea bargain he worked out after criminal charges were filed (which also included house arrest). Still, she is now seen by many as having severely downplayed the allegations against him– and helping to cast doubt on future rape accusations.

A tour of the controversy so far: a thread on the topic at liberal politics blog Daily Kos, where some seem confused by the fact the story has not run as a straightforward news item and others link the social implications of Cross’ piece to the Duke rape case, has run to 340 responses; Gawker questioned Cross’ reasoningtwice, Harvard’s Gadfly ran lots of Crimson documentation on the question of the rape case, and IvyGate wants Cross’ number.