The Trump administration appears to have tapped a longtime critic of the federal government’s role in education policy for a job at the Education Department. Hans Bader, who until last week served as senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will be joining DoED’s Office of General Counsel.
DoED, TitleIX, OCR
Articles specific to Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX
Many times throughout history societies cast aside the idea of due process, such as during the Salem witch trials and the 1980s and ’90s satanic day care scares. In each case, those accused were not given a proper chance to defend themselves, and society was told to “believe the victim.” But due process appears to be making a comeback. Accused students have been racking up settlements with their universities, DeVos rescinded the Obama-era anti due process Title IX guidance, and California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation mentioning due process concerns as his reason for vetoing.
thefederalist.com By Ashe Schow
Four women met late last month at a restaurant in a Twin Cities. Each had a son who had been accused at college of sexual assault. One was expelled and another suspended. The other two were cleared, yet one had contemplated suicide and the other was so crushed he had not returned to school. Some of the mothers met with Ms. DeVos in July to tell their stories, and Ms. DeVos alluded to them in a speech she gave last month.
nytimes.com By Hartocollis & Capecchioct
Yale was under federal investigation from April to September of this year after an alumnus filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleging that the University discriminated against him in its Title IX procedures because he was a man. The case alleges “John Doe,” first experienced discrimination in the fall of 2013 after he submitted an essay that included a discussion of the impulses that might drive someone to commit rape. A teaching assistant reported him to Yale’s Title IX office. Yale then prohibited Doe from contacting the TA and required him to attend sensitivity training. After Doe graduated in May 2015, Doe filed complaints both in federal district court and with the regional OCR branch in Boston alleging that Yale had violated his Title IX rights. On April 17, 2017, it became one of the first civil rights violation cases taken up by the Department of Education under President Donald Trump.
yaledailynews By Sweedler and Schick
The “Yes Means Yes” bill was a big deal when Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed it into law in 2014. It made California the first state to pass an “affirmative consent” law requiring all parties to get consent for each touch each time; silence can not be interpreted as consent. Now, it seems, Brown is not so certain about what has been wrought. This week, in an unexpected move, Brown vetoed a new bill that would have broadened the definitions and rules regarding alleged sexual misconduct for students attending California colleges and universities. Brown wrote he could not endorse the bill because of troubling concerns that have arisen in recent years. He noted that since he signed Yes Means Yes, “thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault—well-intentioned as they are—have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students.”
theatlantic.com By Emily Yoffe
A complaint filed in federal court alleges John Doe completed undergraduate work but the college withheld his diploma over a complaint lodged against him in 2016. It notes the college’s actions “fly in the face” of standards issued by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in September 2017. “The Department promulgated the new guidance specifically to protect the due process rights of accused students and ensure fundamental fairness to all parties, but the University has ignored and continues to ignore these rights,” the lawsuit argues. However, John Doe falls outside the new DoED mandate because he has already graduated, leaving the plaintiff in a “punishing, extended state of limbo,” his complaint states.
www.masslive.com By Stephanie Barry
California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB169, there by refusing to codifying 2011 Obama era guidelines. Thank you Jerry for supporting the presumption of innocence! Read Gov. Brown’s veto statement here.
This is my story about how a Title IX regulatory regime designed to crack down on sexual assault managed to ensnare me, a professor, for telling colleagues 20 years ago about how I proposed to my wife…As is customary, I was not immediately notified I was facing sexual harassment charges and initially, my Title IX inquisitor refused to tell me I was accused of sexual harassment and gender discrimination…The investigator became much more conciliatory once he learned I’d retained counsel. Most of the accused, particularly students, aren’t so fortunate.
deseretnews.com By Nicholas Wolfinger
Dear Governor Brown,
I am a long time California resident, attorney and Co President of Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), a nonprofit formed to provide support and advocacy to innocent students wrongfully suspended or expelled from their college and university campuses following Title IX disciplinary proceedings.
Today I am asking you please, please veto SB-169.
Do not stop reading because you think you know what I’m about to say, because you do not know the half of what I have seen, and how many times I have been brought to tears by the destruction the Title IX machine has left in its wake.
Most Americans would be stunned to learn how Title IX disciplinary processes are conducted on many campuses, and those who have learned cannot fathom that such Kafkaesque “trials” are allowed to occur in our country, land of the free and fair.
In the past three-plus years hundreds of students and some professors have contacted FACE after experiencing result-driven Title IX disciplinary processes in which school officials have: refused to disclose details of the conduct of which they’ve been accused; denied them access to the very same evidence relied on to find them responsible; refused them the opportunity to question their accusers and witnesses; relied on hearsay and other evidence inadmissible in any other adjudicatory arena; ignored their lack of harmful intent or good faith beliefs; and dispensed with any presumption that the student may actually be innocent.
Denied the protections which normally accompany the use of the required (under California law) preponderance standard of evidence, innocent students are routinely found “more likely than not” to have committed what, more often than not, is not a crime, but a technical violation of the school’s conduct code. For this they earn lengthy suspensions or expulsions.
Though FACE representatives met personally with the SB-169’s sponsor Sen. Jackson, the Senator refused to acknowledge or even consider that students most tragically affected by these one-sided proceedings are the underserved, minorities and scholarship students, most of whom have worked diligently to rise above the circumstances into which they were born.
When faced with Title IX investigations, these innocent students believed the advice, variations of which they’ve heard their entire lives, that they should “just tell the truth and you’ll be fine.”
Unfortunately, these young students – often just 18 or 19 years old – are blindsided by experienced campus attorneys and administrators who effectively act as their prosecutor, compiling evidence and testimony only to establish their guilt, while denying them access to an equivalently experienced advocate or attorney because their families do not have the resources to retain one. Imagine constructing your own defense at that age. The consequences of this David v. Goliath farce are students left with no opportunity to complete their education, loss of a promised career and significant loans to pay for a diploma they will never receive.
No wonder an African American mother told me that, to them, “it’s just more of the same.”
Perhaps even more tragically, the foundation on which these students have relied since childhood, the promise of a better future and their belief in the American sense of justice, is destroyed. Disturbingly, many attempt suicide, some successfully, many, many are hospitalized and most suffer significant life-long trauma, PTSD and anxiety. Some have psychotic breakdowns and, in at least one case, a California college student developed schizophrenia, documented to have occurred as a direct result of the traumatic Title IX process he endured at his college.
When will this stop?
When will our representatives realize the lives of our children are being lost, destroyed, permanently and irrevocably changed?
When will our legislators take off their political hats and, as human beings, open their eyes to see the resulting destruction of promising young, innocent lives, not only in California but across this entire country?
Governor Brown, will you be the hero who opens your eyes to help stop this madness?
Cynthia P Garrett
FACE Co President
San Diego, California