The Best Way to Address Campus RapeWomen are delicate flowers maintained inside an official Victimhood Group. They cannot be told how to defend themselves, that might traumatize them, and break the hermetic seal on their lives. So they must be given prejudicial and privileged treatment, far outside the boundaries of human rights.
"What explains the nearly universal lack of confidence in these proceedings? Universities share some of the blame, but there’s another culprit too: the United States government. People often wonder why college administrators try to adjudicate these fiendishly difficult cases, rather than putting them in the hands of the criminal justice system.
The reason is that the Department of Education has very forcefully told schools to handle sexual grievances themselves and given them very detailed instructions about how to do so. A report last year from a White House task force on campus sexual assault underscored the importance to a university of following that advice. Even though the D.O.E.’s instructions are presented as recommendations rather than law, its Office for Civil Rights can put any school that fails to follow them on the list of colleges under investigation and even take away its federal funding.
There’s no doubt that on many occasions colleges have not treated sexual-assault accusations as seriously as they should have. Nor did they do enough to ensure that women felt completely safe on campus. But in the past half-decade, the civil rights office has tried so hard to correct that problem that it is now forcing schools to go too far in the other direction, which has made campus procedures seem even less credible. Schools are being told to disregard what most Americans think of as the basic civil rights of a person accused of a heinous act.
Among other things, schools have to determine guilt on the basis of a “preponderance of” rather than “clear and convincing” evidence — that is, on a 51 percent likelihood that the man did it, rather than a 75 percent one. (In these cases, the accused is almost always a man, although the accuser is by no means always a woman.) Neither party is allowed to cross-examine the other, lest direct questioning re-traumatize a victim. Schools must resolve cases swiftly — the original requirement was 60 days, though the latest guidelines leave out the number and simply stress the need for a prompt resolution — even if a criminal investigation is going forward at a slower pace.
That puts a student who wants to defend himself at risk of saying things that could later be used against him in court — and at many schools, he’s not even allowed to let a lawyer speak for him. At least 30 male students, some of whom were suspended or expelled for sexual misconduct, have filed suits against their universities, claiming that the process was unfair."