Georgia colleges tread where prosecutors won’t, but some claim secret tribunals are unfair to the accused. A three-month AJC investigation into the secretive world of campus tribunals found that Georgia’s largest universities are pursuing cases that prosecutors won’t touch. But the newspaper also found that campus justice comes with steep trade-offs. Procedures vary widely and are often poorly understood by both the accused and the accuser. Students, and sometimes their parents, expect the strict rules of a court of law, but instead encounter a looser system where cross-examining witnesses is sharply curtailed and the burden of proof is far lower. Several students claim the proceedings in place are deeply flawed and violated their rights to due process.
investigations.myajc By Shannon McCaffrey and Janel Davis
Monthly Archives: March 2017
There are fundamental deprivations of justice, and then there’s what happened to a male student at Drake University. The student, “John Doe,” was expelled for sexual misconduct-ostensibly because he engaged in nonconsensual sex with a female student, “Jane Doe.” In truth, John was punished for failing to realize quickly enough that he was actually the victim in the encounter. Drake officials still refuse to fix their mistakes.
reason.com By Robby Soave
An incoming freshman at UC Santa Barbara is suing the university to remove a suspension that has barred him from attending the school since August. “Even though my client has never been charged by UCSB with any violation of University rules, he sits out of school and it is now clear he will miss the entire school year unless a court ultimately intervenes,” Doe’s lawyer, Robert P. Ottilie said.
dailynexus.com By Jose Ochoa
AMHERST JUDGE: Male student expelled for sexual assault may have been victim himself
CALIFORNIA JUDGE: Disparity in campus tribunal ‘enough to shock the Court’s conscience’
CORNELL: Caused ‘actual harm’ to student accused of sexual assault
COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY PUEBLO: School’s sexual assault proceeding suggests ‘bias and inaccuracy’
OHIO JUDGE: Accused students have right to cross-examination
watchdog By Ashe Schow
A wave of bills dealing with campus sexual assault are moving through state legislatures, and many of them would codify elements of contentious federal guidelines that deprive accused students of due process rights. The measures would make it easier for accusations to result in expulsions and the permanent branding of students who may be innocent, without allowing them a chance to defend themselves. Some of the bills would expand the definition of sexual assault by narrowing the definition of consent to the point where nearly any sexual encounter could be considered non-consensual.
There are clearly some women out there who are deeply confused about what it means to be raped, and they are, in many cases, being misled by the adults around them. As documented in “The Campus Rape Frenzy,” the Title IX coordinators encourage young, impressionable women to call every incident of regrettable drunken sex “rape.” These days, the reasons for falsely claiming rape have much more to do with the campus soap opera and the sexual politics of one’s peer group… When you decide to ruin a man’s life and reputation in order to cover up your own mistakes or get what you want from others, you’re not a victim-you’re a sociopath.
nypost By Naomi Schaefer Riley
San Diego State University violated “procedural fairness” by refusing to let a student accused of rape have an advocate “with the same or substantially similar skills, training and experience” as his accuser’s advocate. In essence, the accused was left to defend himself while his accuser was able to utilize the services of a “skillful, trained and experienced advocate,” the very person who investigated the case. The Court wonders how, given Petitioner’s youth, infant stages of his post-secondary education and the seriousness of the charges, Petitioner was able to conduct himself as well as he did. Judges have traditionally given schools wide latitude to fashion their own campus judicial systems, but colleges have abused their autonomy, and judges are starting to re-impose the rule of law.
nationalreview By David French
Office for Civil Rights held open focus groups at Cornell during which members of the public could discuss the campus climate surrounding sexual assault and harassment. A Cornell parent, reported that a lawyer cautioned her against sending her son to Cornell based on the University’s reputation for treating students accused of sexual assault unfairly. When the OCR attorneys asked for specifics on how the University might treat accused students unfairly, attendees quickly responded with a list of grievances: respondents have no ability to examine or confront accusers or to question witnesses or be represented by an attorney, and they, like complainants, are unaware of the investigation’s timeline.
cornellsun By Drew Musto
The Obama administration twice rewrote federal rules governing how allegations must be handled at colleges. In particular, since 2011, when DoED reinterpreted Title IX to require that sexual assault cases be judged by a “preponderance of the evidence” -a lower burden of proof than is used in criminal cases -more than 100 accused students have sued their schools. In most of these recent cases the colleges have lost, as they should have. Colleges are at best incapable of adjudicating allegedly criminal conduct, and at worst hopelessly biased. The vast majority of schools we studied now use procedures that stack the deck against accused students. Recent cases can be divided into two groups. In the first are colleges that considerably broadened the definition of sexual assault. The second group includes schools that violated their procedures, which were unfair to begin with.
latimes.com By KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor
An amended complaint filed in February against Yale et al, portrays a grim reality. Yale’s disciplinary procedures sanction abuse of power in the adjudication of charges of sexual misconduct. The conventional wisdom is that while public universities, as government actors, must comply with constitutional requirements, private universities operate under no such constraints. This is broadly correct. But under “state action” doctrine …“If government requires or induces a private party to engage in law enforcement, all relevant constitutional restraints apply.” This, Doe contends, is exactly what the Obama administration DoED did in April 2011 when it instructed universities, on pain of losing federal funding, to investigate, adjudicate, and punish all allegations of sexual assault. That is, although the government also demanded that universities shrink due process protections for the accused, by deputizing them to engage in law enforcement in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct, the administration in effect imposed on them an obligation to comply with constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. This lawsuit is very likely the first to test Rubenfield’s (Yale Law Prof. and Doe’s adviser) legal theory of “Privatization, State Action, and Title IX: Do Campus Sexual Assault Hearings Violate Due Process?”
realclearpolitics By Peter Berkowitz