It’s frightening that legal minds and educated people see the inclusion of due process rights as “an attack on survivor rights.” More sensible people realize that due process is not an impediment to justice, but in fact necessary to ensure fairness. In a recent survey from the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that due process is necessary for those accused of the heinous crime of sexual assault. Sixty-five percent of Democrats, 77 percent of Republicans, and 67 percent of Independents told researchers they agreed with the statement: “Students accused of crimes on college campuses should receive the same civil liberties protections from their colleges that they receive in the court system.”
thefederalist.com By Ashe Schow
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos vowed to replace the “failed system” of campus sexual assault enforcement, to ensure fairness for both victims and the accused. The speech, harshly critical of rules put in place by the Obama administration, was made to invited guests at George Mason University. “Here is what I’ve learned: the truth is that the system established by the prior administration has failed too many students. Survivors, victims of a lack of due process, and campus administrators have all told me that the current approach does a disservice to everyone involved. That’s why we must do better, because the current approach isn’t working.” Read DeVos’ prepared remarks in full.
washingtonpost.com By Susan Svrluga
A federal appeals court upheld blocking a university’s suspension of a male student who argues he was completely denied his right to confront a female student accusing him of sexual assault. The court ruling said with the “he said/she said” nature of the case, UC officials needed to provide fundamental fairness to a state university student facing long-term exclusion… “What is most important as the Department of Education reconsiders the guidance provided to schools is the Court’s recognition that due process is in the interest of both the accused and the accuser,” Attorney Josh Engel said. “In this case, the court found that the ability to confront one’s accuser is important not merely because it aids in the defense by an accused student, but because it allows the school to better get at the truth of accusations.” Engel said this was the first time an appeals court has ruled that a college or university violated an accused student’s right to confront the accuser.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidance on sexual assault that ensured more innocent students accused of the abhorrent crime would be found responsible and expelled…schools will now have to adhere to 2001 and 2006 guidance from DoE. This really is good news, but there is still a long, long road ahead for colleges and students. Activists, media and legislators have succeeded in expanding the definition of sexual assault. Essentially, if a woman says she was raped, she was raped. Drunken hookups are now rape, regretted sex is rape, because, in the words of one activist, students “need some time to reflect” before deciding to make an accusation. There is virtually no way for a student- especially a male student- to have consensual sex on campus.
thefederalist.com By Ashe Schow
Six years of federal Title IX policy that stripped college students and faculty members of important due process protections and sowed confusion among administrators is finally over. Today, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced that the April 4, 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter and an accompanying 2014 guidance document are rescinded. The 2011 letter mandated that colleges use the low, “preponderance of the evidence” standard in adjudicating accusations of sexual misconduct on campus. It also recommended the removal of other critical elements of a fair procedure, such as the right to cross-examination and prohibitions on double jeopardy (being tried for the same accusation twice)…“The campus justice system was and is broken,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley and author of Twisting Title IX.
Two former members of the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity have a strong enough defamation argument against Rolling Stone that the case should proceed to trial, an appeals court ruled Tuesday. The decision is a major blow to Rolling Stone‘s publisher, Jann Wenner and to Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the disgraced author of a now thoroughly debunked RS article about a gang rape on UVA’s campus. No one disputes that no such assault took place at Phi Psi. The question is whether Erdeley and her editors screwed up so colossally that the magazine can actually be held liable for defamation. And now, for a third time, a court has said, yes.
reason.com By Robby Soave
Sandra Vasquez, Pitzer’s new Dean of Students, was cited in a court order for concealing evidence in a Title IX investigation at UCSB. Vasquez concealed two pieces of material evidence despite assuring the [accused] student that she had disclosed to him all information. Vasquez willfully denied the accused the opportunity to respond to all the evidence against him. The evidence turned out to be completely fabricated, but not before the accused student was punished with a suspension. In his ruling, Judge Thomas Anderle chastised Vasquez and her colleagues for violating the student’s due process rights and ordered the university to lift the suspension against him. This story demonstrates one of the fundamental reasons why Betsy DeVos is correct in seeking to overhaul the Obama Administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter.
dailywire.com By Elliot Hamilton
Nearly 60 Democratic legislators tweeted criticism of Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ speech, which advocated a fairer approach and more respect for due process in campus Title IX tribunals. The preferred adjectives included “terrible,” “despicable,” “insulting, “perverse,” “appalling,” “disgraceful,” “shameful,” and “dangerous. No congressional Democrat, in any way, praised her remarks, which insisted on the rights of both accusers and accused.
mindingthecampus.org By KC Johnson
Two years ago, Miami University in Ohio, convicted one of its male students of sexual assault and banned him from the university. “John Nokes” as court documents refer to him, subsequently filed suit against the university, claiming he was denied his due process rights. A federal judge has now ruled in favor of his appeal. A week later, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a speech announcing the reversal of Obama-era changes to federal law regarding campus sexual assault. One would be hard-pressed to find a better illustration of the need for that reversal than how Miami University found John Nokes guilty of sexual assault. His is an appalling example of due process being suspended. Due process always counts and should never be suspended, for any higher purpose.
For the first time, it looks as if women’s voices coming from an entirely different quarter may actually have had more influence on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ thinking and policies. Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) was founded in 2013 by three mothers of sons who had been falsely accused of sexual misconduct at their respective colleges. FACE has built a formidable legal case and established itself as a serious political presence in the US. Earlier this year, representatives of FACE had a lengthy discussion in person with Betsy DeVos. The mothers who have banded together in FACE are part of a growing worldwide movement consisting of women speaking on behalf of men. On behalf of their sons, these women are demanding better treatment for boys in schools.
telegraph.co.uk By Neil Lyndon