Due Process to Return to Title IX Campus Sexual Assault Tribunals

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/09/22/due-process-to-return-to-title-ix-campus-sexual-assault-tribunals/

The Obama-era “preponderance of evidence” standard used to adjudicate allegations of campus sexual assault — in which the accused is barred from directly questioning his or her accuser — is officially over.

On Friday the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced the scrapping of the executive order, originally enacted via a series of “dear colleague” letters drafted in 2011 and fired off to colleges and universities across the country in April of that year.

“The 2011 Dear Colleague Letter required schools to adopt a minimal standard of proof — the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard — in administering student discipline, even though many schools had traditionally employed a higher clear-and-convincing-evidence standard,” read a department press release issued Friday.

Friday’s announcement appeared to take the previous presidential administration to task, noting that under former President Barack Obama, federal policy “discouraged” cross-examinations and “forbade” criminal investigations conducted by trained law enforcement professionals. The preponderance of evidence standard, coupled with the threat of losing out on federal funds should administrations fail to follow the 2011 guidelines and additional standards enacted in 2014, resulted in a flurry of expulsions and subsequent lawsuits, several of which were documented and reported on by the New Boston Post:

NPR Identifies False Accuser as Survivor

Expelled Yale hoops player seeks reinstatement, claims school violated its own Title IX confidentiality rules

Former Brandeis student withdraws Title IX lawsuit, claims ‘vindicated’ by judge’s ruling

Christian college sues Obama admin over sex assault rules

Lawsuit accuses Obama of destroying due process on U.S. campuses

Harvard Law profs challenge federal sex-assault ‘guidance’

Judge rips Brandeis for handling of sexual assault case

Yale may have prevented accuser from recanting claim that got hoops star expelled

GOP senator questions new Title IX policies

“The [2011] letter insisted that schools with an appeals process allow complainants to appeal not-guilty findings, even though many schools had previously followed procedures reserving appeal for accused students,” Friday’s announcement stated. “The letter provided that any due-process protections afforded to accused students should not ‘unnecessarily delay’ resolving the charges against them.

“The 2011 and 2014 guidance documents may have been well-intentioned, but those documents have led to the deprivation of rights for many students — both accused students denied fair process and victims denied an adequate resolution of their complaints.”

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Executive Director Robert Shibley praised the decision to roll back the Obama-era guidelines. FIRE, formed in Philadelphia in 1999, bills itself as an organization devoted to backing individual liberties on campus.

“The campus justice system was and is broken,” Shibley said in a prepared statement. “Fair outcomes are impossible without fair procedures.

“When the government sprang its 2011 letter on colleges and students without warning, it made it impossible for campuses to serve the needs of victims while also respecting the rights of the accused. With the end of this destructive policy, we finally have the opportunity to get it right.”

Other organizations like the National Women’s Law Center were not so enthused about the rollback.

Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, called the decision “a huge step back to a time when sexual assault was a secret that was swept under the rug.”

The organization also took to social media to slam federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, claiming that she “ignored hundreds of thousands of people urging her to keep the guidance” while “siding with a tiny group of extremists who are against it.”

Kyle Lierman, a policy adviser under Obama, called the decision an example of Trump and Devos “making campuses across the country less safe.”

Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey was one of the first Congressional Democrats to take to social media to rip Trump and Devos, tweeting out that both have betrayed the victims of campus sexual assault with this decision.

Meanwhile, NARAL Pro-Choice America, a pro-abortion outfit that typically aligns itself with leftist causes, posited that Devos’s “rescinding survivor protections is a slap in the face to them” and cited a much-disputed statistic claiming that one out of five women will be or have been sexually assaulted on a college campus.  

Read the Department of Education’s latest Q&A, released Friday, regarding campus sexual assault:

2017-09-22 Q and a Title IX by Evan on Scribd