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Campus Kangaroo Courts
Congress to Consider Due Process for Accused Students

For the last several years, the federal government’s crusade against campus sexual assault has largely taken the form of measures to curtail the due process rights of accused students. The federal pressure on campuses to convict more students began in earnest in 2011, when the Obama administration issued a “Dear Colleague” letter requiring colleges to use the lowest possible burden of proof—preponderance of the evidence—in sexual assault hearings, among other procedural changes designed to increase the number of guilty findings. The federal campaign escalated since that time, with the Office of Civil Rights issuing more mandates broadening the definition of sexual misconduct and pressuring colleges to crack down on a rape crisis they claimed had reached epidemic proportions. Congress has largely gone along; last year, Senator Claire McCaskill held one-sided hearings on the subject and then introduced new campus sexual assault legislation that did not address due process concerns.

Now, it appears that some people in Washington are finally beginning to recognize that the federal crackdown has gotten out of hand, and that basic due process rights are in jeopardy on campuses around the country. The Washington Post reports on a bill, introduced by three Republican members of Congress, that would help ensure that students accused of sexual assault—as well as their alleged victims—are treated fairly throughout the process:

As heated debate continues over how to handle allegations of sexual assault on college campuses, another bill is about to be thrown into the mix – this one most notable for its efforts to ensure that  students are able to get a fair hearing on campus, and give law enforcement a more prominent role in such cases.

It also could trigger concern from victims’ advocates who have long pushed to make it easier for students to report violence, and who point to evidence that students may be hesitant to ask for help if they feel a complaint would automatically trigger a criminal investigation or other harsh sanction.

The House bill, sponsored by Republican Reps. Matt Salmon of Arizona and Pete Sessions and Kay Granger of Texas, is expected to drop Wednesday morning.

Joseph Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a post clearly describing the legislation, known as the “Safe Campus Act of 2015.” According to Cohn, it would: (1) “encourage victims to report allegations to law enforcement professionals by making it a prerequisite for requesting a campus disciplinary hearing,” (2) provide “both alleged victims and accused students the right to hire lawyers to represent them throughout the process” and (3) require that colleges provide “students with timely access to all available evidence.” Finally, it would repeal the 2011 Dear Colleague letter that prompted so many colleges to stack their procedures against the accused.

Campus tribunals, operating under pressure from draconian federal policies, have failed to provide a fair process—both to accused students and to their alleged victims. This bill would create a bigger role for law enforcement professionals, and a smaller role for campus bureaucrats, in adjudicating these very serious cases. When the cases are adjudicated in campus courts, the bill would ensure that the process is more transparent, less improvised, and more consistent with notions of basic fairness.

Even if it passed through Congress, the bill most likely could not escape President Obama’s veto pen. But as the first piece of federal legislation to challenge the politically correct consensus that the only possible response to campus sexual assault is to simply throw due process out the window, the Safe Campus Act of 2015 could change the terms of the debate.

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  • http://allrightforum.blogspot.com/ To See or Not to See

    Hmm

    A funny-wunny problem.

    White conservatives should be pro-Palestinian since the fate of whites in the West will be that of Pallies as diversity/immigration continues.

    Non-white Democrats should be pro-Zionist since their power increases by massive immigration, like that of Jews to Palestine.

    But whites are for Zionists who gained power by massive invasive immigration, and non-whites are for Palestinians who were destroyed by massive immigration, over which they had little control.

    • Proud Skeptic

      Hmm…What does this have to do with sexual assault on campus?

  • Blackbeard

    Like so many good ideas this will only happen when the Republicans (a) hold the White House, (b) hold both Houses of Congress, and (c) have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. In other words, never.

    • FriendlyGoat

      We should be so fortunate as to live in your “never” prediction.

      • Tom

        We already tried it the other way. Take heart–if it goes for us like it did for you, you too will be able to take advantage of political overreach and force gridlock for six years and watch as the President governs by executive order.

        • FriendlyGoat

          You’re not going to get the presidency. People know the difference between executive orders which are FOR people, and those which are against them.

          • Boritz

            Depends on what you mean by “get”. It can be stolen using the supreme court, remember?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Ah, yes.

          • Tom

            If that’s true, then Obama’s going to be gone in three days.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Huh?

      • Blackbeard

        Would you agree that, say, over the last 20 years your side is winning? Of course you don’t win every election or every policy battle but isn’t it true that all the trends are going your way? Look at the social issues, abortion, gay marriage, etc. all going your way, right? Look at taxes and government spending. Up,up, up just like your side likes. In foreign policy our military is significantly smaller and getting smaller every day. All around the world we are pulling back.

        So history is going your way, wouldn’t you agree? And how do you like the results? Stagnant economy, racial hostility, turmoil in the ME and the South China Sea, etc. And look at countries that are already further left than we are like France, Italy and Greece. How are they doing?

        All I hear from my friends on the left is that Republicans are the problem. If only we could silence the Koch brothers we could move further left even faster.

        Are you sure that’s what you want?

        • FriendlyGoat

          Good heavens, no, I don’t think liberals are winning. We have the goofiest House of Representatives in generations. We have the spirit of Scott Walker running through dozens of statehouses. We were irreparably damaged by Citizens United, McKutcheon, rollback of the voting rights act and dozens of other bad decisions from the totality of the Roberts Court. The middle class is sliding downward, and the lower middle class is going off a cliff. Your side got trillions in high end tax cuts. Your side is starving the military and everything else to make the likes of Donald Trump significantly richer.

          The LGBT community got same-sex marriage and you think we liberals are winning??????? Sorry, but you and I are judging this on a completely different set of issues. Your side has been winning since Bush v. Gore on everything that really matters. Obama has done his best to mitigate the damage, but even his best efforts have limited opportunity for the big results. At least two more Alitos didn’t go onto SCOTUS, which is a big deal, but in many ways, liberals are in a long-term losing streak.

  • Proud Skeptic

    It seems to me that we already have all kinds of laws covering such things. Why not pull the college administrators completely out of this and let the REAL legal process cover it? If a woman (or a man, for that matter) feels she has been sexually assaulted, let her go to the police.

    What is the purpose of having two tiers like this?

    • ArmsMerchant

      Exactly. Sexual assault and rape are crimes and need to be handled as such.

  • FriendlyGoat

    I have a feeling that the GOP House members are not going to be as interested in voting for this as the three sponsors. It’s fashionable in those circles to be against feminists, but less so to be voting for “drunk frat boy gets right to have rich dad buy attorney to slap girl”.

    • qet

      This unthinking stereotyping is unworthy of you FG.

      • Andrew Allison

        On the contrary, it’s typical!

      • FriendlyGoat

        Well, I’m glad you think anything I ever said was more worthy, even if not this. It’s my opinion that alcohol (and maybe some drugs ala Cosby) are at the root of most of the campus sexual assault problem. I don’t like the idea of plying the girls with booze, then getting the attorney to argue that she got too drunk and caused the billy goat to misbehave. (I actually have a billy goat and I know how he acts in nature with the ladies—–which is not so far removed from the natural tendencies of us human fellows. Even though I suspect he would like beer, I don’t give him any.)

        The gist is this. Guys who stay mostly sober and hang out with girls who are remaining mostly sober are not going to have sexual assault allegation problems in the colleges. Those who are drunk don’t deserve Dad’s attorney.

        • qet

          Well, you’ve moved from the specific issue at hand to a more general statement about general causes of societal ills. Most people would agree that alcohol is at the root of a lot of bad behavior. In 1917 some of them got together and outlawed it, and we all lived happily ever after. Oh, wait. . . . . .

          Whether and how alcohol factors into a crime is examined every day in courtrooms throughout the land, and it can be examined in a campus sexual assault proceeding. The accused in such a proceeding ought to have no less “due process” than the accused in a proceeding beyond the ivy walls. Feminists today argue (apparently seriously, which I find incredible) that the adjudication function of the quasi-judicial campus process by which the “facts” and “the truth” are supposed to be arrived at (just as in a civilian judicial proceeding) must be made subordinate to a therapeutic function addressing the psychical needs of the accusers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a university providing therapeutic resources to support women who feel they have been wronged, but the adjudication process is not the proper forum in which to provide therapy. That is really all there is to it. It’s all quite simple to understand.

          • Proud Skeptic

            Last I checked, both women and men get drunk and lose their inhibitions. Equal is equal. Nobody gets a pass just because they were intoxicated.

          • FriendlyGoat

            That’s precisely the point. The colleges have been asked to stop giving the guys a pass. There is nothing wrong with it.

          • Proud Skeptic

            The women at the colleges are the ones giving the guys a pass. If something REALLY happened (other than the usual morning after regrets) then they can go to the police. No need to stick a college in the middle. We have a system to handle this.
            Now…if you think there is something about women that makes them unfit or incapable of going through an adult legal process, then you and I disagree. I see women as being perfectly capable of handling themselves if they choose to.
            BTW – I speak as a father whose daughter was drugged and date raped at a party while at a college. It was up to her to decide what to do. The rest is none of your business.
            No, my friend…the law is already there. If you have been raped, then go to the police. If you can’t go because you are ashamed or embarrassed, don’t expect someone to change the rules to compensate for your personal weaknesses.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Please note that I did not ask you anything about your status as a father of a daughter with a bad experience, or any other details about her experience that are “none of my business”.

            I think it’s best for the college fellows to be living under some threat of consequences for over-the-top behavior. That way there will be less of it.

          • Proud Skeptic

            It seems that you are asking for the implementation of a system that duplicates one already in place. If you want accountability , the only way to get that is for the injured party to stand up for itself…under the law.

            Personally, I think that EVERY person is entitled to the presumption of innocence, to confront his or her accuser, and have full access to the evidence against them (along with all of the hundreds of years old tenets of the law). Under the current Title IX mess, these are not being upheld and colleges are rightly getting their asses sued off and losing every one.

            If you think that equal protection under the law is the way to go, then we have no disagreement. If you think that rape victims are entitled to a pass on this stuff then we are never going to agree.

            You can’t ask for special considerations simply because you are a rape or sexual assault victim. You can ask, but under the law you are not entitled to it.

            Stand up and confront your accuser in a court of law or live knowing that you didn’t. There is no in between.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If colleges are getting their asses sued off and losing every one, as you say, they will modify their approach until that changes—without Congress.

            Meanwhile, I’m still for prevention before the fact.

          • Proud Skeptic

            On that we can agree. Women should be taught what to watch out for and made to understand that when they get drunk then it is harder for to protect themselves. I would also prefer that men not get overly aggressive with women and respect them. Both sexes need to know that sex is a two way street with both partners being completely responsible for their actions.
            As for rape…It is a crime and I expect rapists to be caught and punished in our judicial system in accordance with the law.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Okay.

          • FriendlyGoat

            All I’m saying is that I don’t think all the GOP members of Congress are going to be crazy about being asked to vote for this bill as we go into another election cycle. The idea of boys getting attorneys to defend themselves from things they shouldn’t have done while drunk—with drunk girls—-is not the sort of compelling issue they should want to “run on”, in my opinion anyway. We’ll see how it goes at Congress. Maybe I’m wrong and the church guys of Congress just can’t wait to pile on this one for show.

        • Andrew Allison

          Rubbish. This is a very simple issue:due process. I understand, to borrow your stereotypical way of thinking, that there’s no such thing as due process on the left, but under the Constitution, the accused is entitled to it. As to the assault issue, if the woman is impaired or says no, it’s rape, and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If it’s consensual but she regrets it later, and files a complaint, it’s malicious prosecution, which should also be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The idea is to get the college guys to proceed with an abundance of caution. Having the colleges announce in advance that they are not willing to be the environment for push-the-limit ravaging of the girls is progress.
            It’s not like the fellows are going to be snared in a trap of which they are unaware. Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, then tell ’em, then tell ’em what you told ’em (as the saying goes).

          • Andrew Allison

            No, the idea is to to get the guys and gals to proceed with an abundance of caution,

          • FriendlyGoat

            My female goats are cautious by nature. Billy boy is the problem.

          • Andrew Allison

            GMAB! The data demonstrate that, in general, female college students are quite accommodating. We’re discussing the issue of, to use your farmyard terminology, Billy’s responsibilities regarding an incautious female.

          • FriendlyGoat

            “Billy” is a goat. So we excuse him for acting like a—–guess what—billy goat. “Bobby” (for discussion’s sake) is a young male person.
            “Bobby” has as great, or arguably greater, responsibility toward an incautious female as he has toward a more prudent (notice I didn’t say prudish—–prudent) young lady. Bobby is responsible for what happens in any physical encounter and is responsible for not trashing another person’s emotions.

            Maybe Bobby doesn’t know this because his upbringing was as much like being “raised in a barn” as was the case with Billy. So absent what his family might have failed to tell him, and absent what an incautious girl might fail to tell him, now the college policies can tell him. Do not (DO NOT) take advantage while you are enrolled in this institution. If you do, and someone claims to have been hurt by you, we (the college) are not inclined to excuse you for acting like Billy, the goat in our campus society.

    • Proud Skeptic

      Hey…last time I checked, rape and sexual assault were crimes…felonies, in fact…why not use the machinery we already have and run it through the criminal courts?

      Or are we trying to set a lower standard for women in college…so they don’t have to go through all that “innocent until proven guilty” stuff and prove their case. How inconvenient! Why not just let the women accuse people and then drag them away?

      Poor defenseless things…I mean, what ever happened to equality of women?

      • FriendlyGoat

        And why didn’t the victims of Bill Cosby all go to the police in a timely way?

        • Andrew Allison

          If you are asking that question seriously, I question your intelligence. The answer is: for the same reason that the multiple victims of Bill Clinton’ sexual assaults didn’t, namely that power is a genetically programmed aphrodisiac and (here’s where I think we would agree agree) it’s deeply embarrassing to complain about having succumbed.None of which, as usual, has anything to do with campus sexual activities.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The comment writers here are suggesting that criminal prosecution is the only remedy for wronged college girls. I don’t think it is.

          • Andrew Allison

            I beg to differ. As I wrote, the issue is the due process required by the Constitution. You ignore the need for protection of wronged college guys. There’s no need or reason to set up a separate system of jurisprudence for college students (or any other group). Let me be absolutely clear: if the activity was not consensual (and an impaired person cannot be deemed to have consented), throw the book at the perp.

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