As the students researched the case, they asked why the women accused the men of rape. Many students simply responded that the women had to have been racist and wanted to see the men punished. While it was easy to see how they reached that conclusion, the real answer was far more nuanced. It turns out the two women had been engaging in some...questionable activity on the train and, in order to avoid being arrested, and evade social criticism, they covered up their deeds by crying "rape". Their actions were racist, but also done in order to preserve their own reputations as they battled their own stigmas. Students were asked if the women's actions were more justifiable under the circumstances.
As the students have been learning in high school, truth is often a shade of gray. As much as the "goody buys v. bad guys" mentality plays in media, there are usually elements of sympathy, and ignorance on both sides. Not only is literature debatable in theme and message, but so are the events of the past. English class is about learning to think, more than learning the "right" answer.