A former University of Virginia School of Law student challenged the Department of Education’s unlawful “preponderance of the evidence” mandate. While that suit has made big news for its direct challenge to the federal government, it is far from the only lawsuit that has been filed recently in response to the due process crisis on college campuses. In fact, more than ten new complaints have been filed in the past two months alone.
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
Monthly Archives: June 2016
In the context of sexual assault, “innocent until proven guilty” is sometimes invoked to silence survivors; when a survivor’s experience is validated through measures…But it’s the person who makes the first accusation– most likely someone without a penis – who will always be judged the victim, regardless of the evidence.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
“Here is the down and dirty bottom line regarding 90 percent-plus of reported adult sexual assaults: It’s the alcohol. Period”… The current orthodoxy is to presume the guilt of the accused —usually the man— There are numerous stories of young men who innocently, albeit foolishly, believed they were engaged in a consensual sex act, only to find a day, a week or a month later, that they have been accused of rape, often by a young woman who is confused or racked by guilt and regret over her own behavior.
star-telegram.com By Cynthia M. Allen
The Simpsons is perhaps the greatest educational tool…what I have grown to most appreciate about the show as an adult is its depressingly accurate portrayal of mob rule. I’ve been thinking about this because the online reaction to former Stanford athlete Brock Turner’s sentence for sexual assault is pretty much a Simpsons mob scene – deeply ignorant and utterly unaware of the terrifying precedent it’s setting.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
Even now, the process of ‘moving on’ after our son endured a false accusation of sexual misconduct in college traps our family standing in raw emotional tracks.
One night as the clock read 3:30 a.m., my mobile phone lit up and I sat up in bed. “Honey, what’s wrong?” my husband asked. “Nothing, babe, it’s okay, go back to sleep,” I replied, knowing he had a stressful day at work ahead of him.
On the phone I could hear quiet sobbing. I knew in an instant who it was. “It’s okay, I’m here,” I told the voice on the other end.
“I’m sorry mom, I just can’t do this anymore…”
And my heart broke yet again for my son, who is struggling to rebuild a promising life derailed by a false accusation.
I’m learning with our son that life doesn’t just go on after an allegation of rape on campus. Even after clearing his name, even years later, the pain returns, staggeringly fresh.
Our son isn’t weak, he is strong; our son isn’t unstable, he is a good person with a kind heart. This experience has knocked us all to our knees, and the long fight has left us reeling and raw.
I’m learning that the healing process isn’t a straight path for survivors of trauma. I’m learning that it offends some to even equate our experience with trauma. I’m learning that the message is clear to the American people, that on campus the innocent do not matter, that their lives aren’t as important, that we should be happy and celebrate clearing his name. I’m learning it doesn’t work that way. The damage to him, our family, his reputation, has been done. Moving on is not as easy as it seems.
Later that morning, I reached out to some of my new friends, other parents who have lived through campus adjudication with their innocent student. Finding this group has been a lifeline for our family. It’s hard being a parent of someone accused on campus, you feel that instant mark of abomination. The looks of pity and utter contempt you receive when on campus. Looks of horror including from campus employees afraid to meet your gaze is something, which with I’m familiar. They know who you are: you’re the rapist’s mom, and for an instant you know exactly how your innocent child feels.
I find myself brought back to those moments, years ago but so fresh in my mind. So real, even now, that I remember feeling the warmth of the sun, the smell of fresh cut grass on the campus lawn as I leaned over to pick up my son who was in a crumble, vomiting after a meeting with the Dean of Students. I remember students walking by and they seemed to be moving in slow motion. I remember their faces, stacks of books, laughing and smiling on their way to class. I remember seeing the Dean look out the glass door window, turning and walking the other way. It was in that moment that I knew we couldn’t trust the school. It was in that moment that I knew my son would never be the same.
I think what is hardest for me now is the silencing.
The bizarre feeling in the pit of my stomach I get watching Senators, Vice Presidents, Celebrities, and Activists all shouting for a cause, and I want to speak… I want to say “yes, yes I understand, we want survivors to feel supported, we want our girls to be safe… but what you’re preaching isn’t the truth of the story, it isn’t the reality for many innocent students on campus, there is another side.” I want to beg Senators McCaskill and Gillibrand to see the destruction of an innocent life, to feel his pain, to see his trauma, to know what it’s like to pick up your child who is in a crumble on the campus lawn, to ask them why his life doesn’t matter… but the silencing continues, and the war wages on.
But one day, hopefully the tide will turn toward a reasonable fusion of compassion and common sense. And until that day arrives and changes are permanently made in law and policy toward due process and fairness, my family and I will live on to fight another day. And one day when my son’s invisible wounds are healed, he will have been stronger for the journey.
-Mother of a falsely accused son
This should be Good News. The Washington Post conducted a review of federal campus safety data from over 2,220 colleges, the newspaper’s analysis showed that over 1,300 those colleges had zero reported rapes on campus in 2014… But darn it all, here come the ladies crying fowl. One U.S. Senator is accusing colleges of knowingly sweeping rapes “under the rug” with zero actual evidence, aside from her own preconceived notions of reality. And the other, is making a bizarre statement about wanting to see reports going up and incidents going down. But, again, her preconceived notion of reality seemingly prevents her from believing that there could actually be no incidents of rape to report.
lawnewz.com by Chris White
A former University of Virginia School of Law student filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the Department of Education’s unlawful mandate that colleges abandon due process protections and try sexual misconduct cases using the lowest standard of evidence. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is sponsoring the lawsuit.
This case is clearly being used to whip a new moral panic about campus rape and “rape culture,” which will be used to step up the policing of consensual sex and punish innocent people (most but not all of them men). Whatever one thinks of the sentence, letting self-righteous outrage mobs and ideological zealots such as Stanford law professor Michele Dauber shape law and policy is extremely dangerous.
allthink.com By Cathy Young
OCR found insufficient evidence that Occidental violated Title IX, “except with respect to the issue of promptness in several cases during the 2012-13 school year.” In short, OCR seems to approve of the idea that due process can be achieved after a questionable hearing by simply lessening the repercussions an accused student suffers… it is essential to remember that due process protections must be provided before the fact-finders reach their conclusion.
thefire.org By Susan Kruth
Former Rutgers football player Razohnn Gross will compete for the school’s wrestling team this season and coach Scott Goodale isn’t shy about boasting that the incoming class he’s bringing into the fold may be the best…”We’ve done our background with him and we’ve talked to all the right people, all the important people inside the university,” we feel good about it,” coach said …”We’ll give him a second chance. He’ll have a short leash, but I don’t foresee any problems. He’s very appreciative and he’s working hard.”
www.nj.com By Keith Sargeant