The issue of rape and sexual assault on college campuses is a sensitive one. Talking about such a subject is often difficult because it is so sensitive, and rightly so. But there are discussions about how colleges handle such cases that need to happen; most notably the due process rights of the accused.
All institutions of higher learning that receive any federal dollars (loans and grants) are subject to the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. Included in that bill is the infamous Title IX, a series of regulations which prohibit discrimination based on sex in the higher education field.
Title IX includes a requirement that schools have procedures to handle allegations of sexual assault. The idea behind it was to ensure that anyone who suffers from a sexually based attack may have an avenue by which to seek justice.
However, over the years, the Title IX process has evolved into a system of kangaroo courts that regularly violate the rights of the accused and destroy the lives of anyone who is accused of such a violation. Especially after the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter, the system was turned into a weapon that spiteful women have used to attack the men who they are upset with. Innocent lives are destroyed by this system thanks to this policy change.
In The Atlantic‘s recent story on this problem, author Emily Yoffe made clear that the policies are now being used in ways that blatantly violate the rights of the accused, especially if the party is male:
On too many campuses, a new attitude about due process—and the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty—has taken hold, one that echoes the infamous logic of Edwin Meese, who served in the Reagan administration as attorney general, in his argument against the Miranda warning. “The thing is,” Meese said, “you don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime. That’s contradictory. If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect.”
There is no doubt that until recently, many women’s claims of sexual assault were reflexively and widely disregarded—or that many still are in some quarters. (One need look no further than the many derogatory responses received by the women who came forward last year to accuse then-candidate Donald Trump of sexual violations.) Action to redress that problem was—and is—fully warranted. But many of the remedies that have been pushed on campus in recent years are unjust to men, infantilize women, and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the fight against sexual violence.
In the story, the author recounts the tragic tale of a student who was accused of rape at the University of Massachusetts. The student who accused him initiated the sexual encounter, but after leaving came to believe that it was an instance of sexual assault. She filed a police complaint, and a university complaint.
Police did not file charges against the man because there was not evidence of sexual assault, but the university absolutely crucified him from the beginning. It nearly destroyed his life, and he is now suing the school because of it.
This man’s case is not rare, nor is it restricted to big liberal state schools. I went to a smaller private university, and a friend of mine was subjected to the same kind of violation of his rights.
Another student accused him of rape to the school’s Title IX officer. The school took her story bait, line, and sinker, and immediately put sanctions on the accused. He was removed from all leadership positions he held, and was put into the Title IX kangaroo court without any sort of representation.
The accuser, over the course of the process, changed her story multiple times, and was even coached by the school for the hearings. The accused received nothing, and could not have any representation there for him.
He was nearly expelled, but for one thing: the date which his accuser chose as the day that it “happened” was a day when the accused’s roommate was present and could verify that absolutely nothing sexual took place. If not for that fact, he would have been gone, in spite of the shaky and changing story from his accuser.
The inherent problem should be readily obvious for anyone who is not an authoritarian at heart: the absence of due process of law. The accused is afforded no access to legal counsel, is assumed to be guilty from the start, and is punished even before a decision is made. It is like a Soviet tribunal where the accused is suspected of opposing the General Secretary.
Rape and sexual assault are felony offenses. These crimes must be handled by the courts where the rights of the accused are not habitually and blatantly violated. In a criminal case, the accused has the right to due process of law, with legal counsel, trial by jury, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the right to appeal the case.
In colleges’ kangaroo courts and tribunals, there is no recourse for the guilty, but especially for the innocent. An innocent person who is convicted by the tribunal (an accusation is almost as good as a conviction these days) has their life completely shattered, even if the courts do not file charges against him.
Would it be appropriate for a business to hold a tribunal for an employee accusing another of sexual assault? “Hell no!” the Left will scream, “They can’t handle that!”
Then why the hell are universities handling felony offenses outside of the court system, and outside of the rule of law? Because they can, and because the Obama administration effectively demanded it.
The Title IX process for handling allegations of sexual assault is an inherently authoritarian system, and one that destroys the lives of almost everyone who happens to be caught up in its tentacles. The good news is that Betsy DeVos plans to address this as Education Secretary.
This system of heinous overreach must be abolished so that true justice may be done.