90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:

Wendy Kaminer: The White House task force report reflects a presumption of guilt that practically obliterates the due process rights of the accused. (AP)

“Not Alone,” the White House entitled its task force report on campus sexual assaults. “Believe the Victim,” the report might as well have been called. It reflects a presumption of guilt in sexual assault cases that practically obliterates the due process rights of the accused. Students leveling accusations of assault are automatically described as “survivors” or “victims” (not alleged victims or complaining witnesses), implying that their accusations are true.

When you categorically presume the good faith, infallible memories and entirely objective perspectives of self-identified victims, you dispense with the need for cumbersome judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and an adversary model of justice. Thus the task force effectively prohibits cross-examination of complaining witnesses: “The parties should not be allowed to cross-examine each other,” the report advises, denying the fundamental right to confront your accuser.

Every student accused of a crime or disciplinary infraction has an equal right to due process and fair adjudication of charges.

Alleged victims are supposed to be protected from “hurtful questioning.” The impulse to protect actual victims from the ordeal of a cross-examination by their attackers is laudable. But by barring cross-examination, you also protect students who are mistaken or lying, and you victimize (even traumatize) students being falsely accused.

School officials are also encouraged to substitute a “single investigator” model for a hearing process, which seems a prescription for injustice. As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education points out, pursuant to this model, “a sole administrator would be empowered to serve as detective, judge and jury, affording the accused no chance to challenge his or her accuser’s testimony.”

These “reforms” exacerbate an already dangerously unreliable approach to evaluating charges of assault. In 2011, the Department of Education issued guidelines requiring colleges and universities to employ a minimal “preponderance of evidence” standard in cases involving allegations of harassment or violence. This is the lowest possible standard of proof, which merely requires discerning a 50.01 percent chance that a charge is more likely than not to be true. It facilitates findings of guilt, which will be merited in some cases, and not others. For students wrongly accused, the consequences of a guilty finding can be as dire as a not guilty finding for students actually victimized.

In this Jan. 22, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama signs a memorandum creating the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The report was released Tues, April 29, 2014. (AP)

In this Jan. 22, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama signs a memorandum creating the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The report was released Tues, April 29, 2014. (AP)

These are difficult, potentially traumatizing cases for all parties involved, and not surprisingly some students complaining of sexual assault prefer not to participate in investigations or hearings. How do you evaluate their claims? If you’re the White House task force, you simply presume that they’re true: “Where a survivor does not seek a full investigation, but just wants help to move on, the school needs to respond there too.” Move on from having “survived” precisely what? You can sympathize with a victimized student who doesn’t want to pursue a claim and still wonder how school officials can respond fairly and intelligently to an accusation that hasn’t been investigated and may or may not be true.

Does this approach exaggerate or trivialize the problem at hand? Sexual assault is a serious felony, the task force and victim advocates would agree. According to the Administration, one in five students are victimized by it. Assume that estimate is accurate and imagine that 20 percent of the people in a community are suffering violent assaults. Residents would likely demand a stronger police presence and stepped up criminal prosecutions, rather than informal neighborhood councils to “adjudicate” complaints. But on campus, felony complaints are to be prosecuted informally, the way schools might prosecute violations of a dress code, without affording accused students any meaningful rights.

Justifications for this include the particular ambiguities of sexual assault charges on campus. Alleged assaults often involve alcohol, actual victims may know their attackers and, in a closed campus community, may be hesitant to press accusations against them. The irony is that these factors complicating the prosecution of campus assaults and inspiring calls for informal, non-adversarial responses to them are the same factors that, as victim advocates rightly assert, have encouraged victim blaming and prevented law enforcement authorities from taking allegations of campus assaults seriously.

The solution to the problem of ignoring sexual assault charges shouldn’t be assuming that they’re true. The “believe the victim” biases underlying the White House task force report aren’t subtle or inconsequential, but they’re not generally recognized by left of center media. The occasional students’ rights watchdog, like Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson, offers a critical, in depth analysis of the Administration’s approach, but in general reactions are dictated by partisan or ideological biases: The right has its own politically correct mandate to oppose any Obama Administration civil rights initiative. The left labors under a pop feminist mandate to reflexively believe self-identified victims of sexual assault.

Similar assumptions about victimization often dictate how people view the rights of the accused and their accusers. Compare the administration’s disregard for due process in formulating disciplinary procedures for campus sexual misconduct complaints to its critique of harsh, due process-less disciplinary practices in elementary and secondary schools.

The ‘believe the victim’ biases underlying the White House task force report aren’t subtle or inconsequential…

School discipline tends to be discriminatory, at least in effect, targeting racial and ethnic minorities, so civil rights advocates outside the Administration are rallying against it, rightly seeking due process protections for students accused. But in response to allegations of sexual misconduct in colleges and universities, the same advocates generally favor a prosecutorial approach that sacrifices due process over protections for presumed victims.

How do we account for these opposing approaches to student rights? Considering elementary and secondary school disciplinary practices, the administration sympathizes with students accused. In campus sexual assault cases, it sympathizes with accusers. But rights shouldn’t be allocated on the basis of subjective sympathies, unless we want to encourage discrimination — the sort of discrimination that plagues minority students in public schools. Every student accused of a crime or disciplinary infraction has an equal right to due process and fair adjudication of charges. You’re also “Not Alone,” the Administration should guarantee students accused of sexual assault. You’re accompanied by fundamental rights.


Tags: Crime, Law

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the writer and do not in any way reflect the views of WBUR management or its employees.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Law student

    I’m so disappointed by this article. She’s absolutely correct that the accused in a sexual assault case should be afforded the full extent of his constitutionally-protected due process rights in the event that he is criminally charged. However, the White House Report was list of suggestions for universities to reform their current internal policies which have proven to be utterly inadequate when it comes to protecting the rights of accusers. These universities are run by biased administrations seeking to avoid publicity about the alarming rates of sexual assaults on their campuses. These reforms, at best, might make it slightly less traumatizing for a young person to make an accusation in the first place. If – and it’s a big if – the case is ever turned over by the school to the police, then the full range of due process rights, including the Confrontation Clause, will be afforded to the defendant. If, however, the author is suggesting that complaining witnesses should never come forward in the first place lest some poor, victimized fraternity brother be wrongly accused, then I respectfully disagree.

    • PaulD

      Are you suggesting that there should be some lesser requirement to protect the rights of the accused if the situation stays within the purview of the campus where it happens? What if a “poor fraternity brother” is wrongfully accused. Is it ok if a university throws him out of school without the sort of due process we demand from our justice system?

      This all begs the question of why a college or university is involved at all in these situations. When pretty much all students are legal adults, why is the university involved at all in the prosecution/punishment of a criminal act?

      • mamram

        “Is it ok if a university throws him out of school without the sort of due process we demand from our justice system?”

        Since when does “due process” apply anywhere OTHER than our justice system? We have different standards for different situations, and obviously the standard for imprisoning someone is going to be much higher than the standard in other contexts. For instance, if a coworker finds me stealing from my employer? My employer doesn’t actually owe me a trial before they can fire me. They don’t need to prove me guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, because in that context, there’s rightly a lower standard. Similarly for violations of a university’s honor code (e.g. plagiarism/cheating). This doesn’t seem to trouble anyone in those contexts. In fact, the only time people have difficulty understanding why we’d have different standards in different situations is when we’re talking about sexual assault. I wonder why that is?

        • Funcuz

          “Since when does “due process” apply anywhere OTHER than our justice system?”

          Funny you should ask that question considering the context.
          You cite a hypothetical scenario in which your employer summarily dismisses you. You seem to think that an employer has the right to do that without even determining whether there’s any evidence that you committed a crime. You’re saying that the accusation alone is tantamount to the charge being true. Your employer CAN’T just throw you out of work on those grounds. Haven’t you ever heard of wrongful dismissal lawsuits ? If you WERE stealing then your employer does indeed have the right to notify the authorities. If you weren’t, do you think that that’s even remotely fair that you’d be fired for an offense you didn’t commit and which may not have even occurred at all ?

          If we’re talking about rape here, the real question is why universities are involved in it at all. Why are they ? They don’t have the resources. They don’t have the expertise. They don’t even have the the legal authority to make a determination of guilt in such a serious matter. You talk about a university being a safe place. Well, it’s in the public realm is it not ? If the police are involved then the accused is automatically dealt with either by being granted bail or being jailed for an indeterminate amount of time. Just because a university says a person can’t be a student doesn’t mean there’s some magic wall that’s going to stop the accused from entering the campus grounds. They can’t really do anything at all in a real sense as far as protecting one individual from another. And that’s assuming that they’ve actually thrown the correct party off the campus in the first place.

          Lastly, you intone that sexual assault and rape are already biased in favor of the accused. Utter nonsense. The accused can’t raise doubts about an accuser’s credibility via their history. The accused can’t cross examine the accuser. In fact, all it takes is the accuser’s word against the the word of the accused and it’s often enough to send somebody to prison for years. Can you imagine if that’s how everything else in law worked ? Your employer could essentially decide to have you imprisoned for life on a whim simply by overstating how much you supposedly stole. What defense would you have ? You’d have none. It would simply be a matter of whose word the judge found more credible. You against an army of legal professionals and who knows how many former co-workers who didn’t like you enough to speak in your favor…you lose.

          Let’s do away with the metaphors and get straight to what we’re really talking about here. Men get sent to prison all the time simply on the say so of scorned women. Don’t say it doesn’t happen because the Innocence Project begs to differ.

          Universities didn’t address the issue because it wasn’t and still isn’t something they should be adjudicating in the first place. We’re talking about serious crimes here, not vandalism or some breach of ethics.

          You’re defending a system whereby every legally defined entity (be it a business, an organization, or an individual) is suddenly a legal expert and given authority to mete out justice.

          If you think that this is in any way not a violation of due process rights then perhaps you wouldn’t mind if some mechanic or baker presided over a murder trial where you stood as the accused. It makes just as much sense.

          • mamram

            “You’re saying that the accusation alone is tantamount to the charge being true.”

            No, I’m not saying that. You are inventing extraneous claims in order to avoid acknowledging the validity of the ONE point I am making: that nobody is owed “due process” in the context of a university expulsion hearing.

          • PaulD

            Yes, and I acknowledge that. However, you are ignoring the greater point in my original post here. I said “any *sort* of due process”. That may have been a poor choice of words but the insinuation you make, by concentrating on those words, is that the accused has no recourse whatsoever within the university system.

            Further, your analogizing being thrown out of college to being fired is substantially false. If a senior is thrown out of college, they have likely just wasted a few years of their life and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to pursue a degree. That work and money is being taken from them if they are denied being allowed to complete it. If an employee is fired, that person is merely prevented the opportunity from future employment at that employer.

            So, how about addressing the real point in my post.

          • magdelyn c. prossii

            You’re wrong.

          • mamram

            OMG do I recognize you from manboobz? When the MRAs descend on comments sections like this, I always think to myself, “there aren’t actually that many of these folks, I must have run into some of them before.” I guess it’s true!

          • pierceharlan

            Not correct. You would do well to head to FIRE and school yourself on the issue.

          • http://www.facebook.com/don.meaker Don Meaker

            “You’re defending a system whereby every legally defined entity (be it a
            business, an organization, or an individual) is suddenly a legal expert
            and given authority to mete out justice.”

            There was such a system in the US once. It was called slavery. The slave was subject to the whims of the slave owner, with a presumption of guilt on the part of the slave. That permitted slaves to be raped, legally, for there was no appeal to the whims of the slave owner or his agent. That permitted slaves to be tortured, as there was no appeal to the whims of the slave owner or his agent.

            So, does the Democratic Party want to return to that system, just with a different identity as to who will be the slave? Really?

        • PaulD

          You are correct that due process, as instantiated in our justice system, does not apply to a private institution. However, the male in this example has paid (or will pay) a very substantial amount of money to attend a university and there should be substantial verification done before that university can kick a person out based on the accusation of another. Certainly we would want a great learning institution to at least somewhat model the ideals of society that institution is training young adults for. This is not an employer/employee relationship.

          Further, I find your comparison to a workplace disingenuous. If one person at a company is raped, they go to the police, not HR. There is also no “in loco parentis” in an employment situation.

          • mamram

            “However, the male in this example has paid (or will pay) a very substantial amount of money to attend a university and there should be substantial verification done before that university can kick a person out based on the accusation of another.”

            That’s not how it works for honor code violations. Universities don’t need to hold a trial with due process to all in order to expel a student for cheating on an exam. Being expelled from school is not the same thing as being imprisoned, and so its RIDICULOUS to expect the same standard to apply.

          • PaulD

            So the school can simply expel the accused with absolutely no verification of the accusation. Got it.

          • mamram

            I didn’t say that, and I’m not even sure how you got that from what I did say (is that how you think honor code violations are dealt with?) but ok!

          • magdelyn c. prossii

            He got it from your ridiculous argments. BTW, private institutions that take federal funds are required to adhere to Title IX. That means, they are also required to adhere to due process.

          • George Purcell

            Absolutely wrong, manram. Actions of public institutions as state actors can and have been successfully challenged on both substantive and procedural due process grounds.

          • Anne

            How can universities accepting billions of dollars in Title IX funding with the threat of losing those funds possibly be fair in these situations?

          • PaulD

            I’m not following. Is that part of what the Obama administration is saying? If so, I hadn’t read that.

            Given where the cost of higher education is going, I’m appalled that we fund private colleges and universities in any way whatsoever, short of research grants.

        • magdelyn c. prossii

          “…Since when does “due process” apply anywhere OTHER than our justice system?”
          There are MANY other venues where there are due process requirements. For instance, to take away someone’s professional license, to take away one’s driver’s license, and in many other administrative tribunals. In fact, if one is attending a public school, then due process considerations are almost assuredly required. Due process in getting civil orders of protection. But, even if your ill-advised statement were true, there are still remedies for the accused. Civil suits for discrimination, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, contract causes of action.

          • Anne

            There is only one case where the accused has been successful to my knowledge. He received a whopping $26,000 compared to millions that have been paid out to accusers. That combined with the threat of losing Title IX funding and being fined will always make universities look to find the accused guilty.

          • CurlyDave

            Just as one more example, think about the Duke LaCross case. The settlement is still confidential, but the whisper numbers are in the millions each…

            I think your knowledge may not contain the full data set.

        • George Purcell

          A public university is a state actor–thus requirements for some due process protections.

        • mmichlin

          You are normally employed “at will” so your employer doesn’t really need any legal reason to fire you. If you steal from your employer and it just fires you without pressing charges – consider yourself lucky, because they definitely can do that (and will if you steal their IP and not just a box of tissues).
          The relationship between universities and students is based on contracts and they do need solid reasons to expel you.

          • mamram

            I’m not saying they don’t need “solid reasons,” just that I don’t see any reason why that standard of proof needs to be the same as, or anywhere close to, that which we require for criminal charges. That’s basically all I’m saying.

          • Zimba Zumba

            There are different levels of certainty required for different crimes that balance the severity of the consequences with retaining public order. Without this principle a system does not function.

            “Preponderance of Evidence” is wholly inadequate for the adjudication of Rape or Sexual Assault, a finding of guilt is profound and life lasting.

          • Frank411

            “I don’t see any reason why that standard of proof needs to be…anywhere close to…that which we require for criminal charges.”

            Because obtaining a college education isn’t essential to participation in middle class life?

            You are aware that colleges are being told there is no such thing as a “false accusation” because all that is required is subjective belief on the part of the accuser, aren’t you? See Brett Sokolow’s comments to that effect. So making an accusation, even if done out of pure malice, is cost-free.

          • Anne

            With all the attention on this issue, universities are skewing evidence and ignoring testimony to arrive at guilty verdicts out of fear of losing Title IX funding and bad publicity.

        • pierceharlan

          “Since when does “due process” apply anywhere OTHER than our justice system?”

          It is an issue well settled. It is amusing that feminists think due process is less necessary than Title IX protections.

      • mmichlin

        Absolutely agree – sexual assault is a criminal act and should be dealt with not by the university but by the justice system!
        There are non-criminal activities, like cheating on an exam, which are the prerogative of the university; however, sexual assault is not just violation of university rules – it is a crime and should be dealt with as other criminal acts.

    • magdelyn c. prossii

      “…White House Report was list of suggestions for universities to reform their current internal policies which have proven to be utterly inadequate when it comes to protecting the rights of accusers…”
      Universities should not be handling these cases under any circumstances, because they are “inadequate” vehichles for such conduct.

    • http://www.facebook.com/don.meaker Don Meaker

      The alarming rates of sexual assault on campus are, as George Will pointed out, shown to be false by simple arithmetic.

    • armst

      You are a failure as a law student. Please go into some other line of work. My god, I cant believe that you even support this concept one iota. This is a nation of laws not women and we have due process. If some fairy princess thinks she was wronged, she needs to get off her charming little ass and go to the police and file a criminal complaint. That is the process in this country and it needs to be followed.

    • Pointguard

      The victim can call the police – period – if a crime has been committed the judicial system will deal with it. It is not the role of colleges to create kangaroo courts and ruin people’s lives with half truths and unconstitutional processes.

    • Pointguard

      Just FYI “Law Student” – U.S. Supreme Court precedent has concluded when a person’s good name, reputation, honor or integrity are challenged, due process requires “precautions against unfair or mistaken findings.” maybe a little time with law books will prevent future embarrassment for you.

  • Jenna

    Even as someone who advocated for the wrongly accused in campus sexual assault cases in college, I cannot get on board with this criticism of the Obama Administration’s task force report. The recently released report (though, admittedly, I did not read it in great detail) and PSA convey the message that we should “never blame the victim”, NOT that we should inherently “believe the victim” as this article claims.

    This article criticizes the report’s recommendations/the DoE’s guidelines on how schools should deal with sexual assault awareness and reporting on campus. Law student and mamram have already made some great points that clarify that a school’s internal processes should not be mistaken for the rule of law, and that in a court of law the defendant’s due process rights, such as the Confrontation Clause, still hold. I don’t want to repeat what they’ve said, but I’d like to look quickly at a few of the recommendations that came up in the article:

    “The Department of Education is providing more clarity on schools’ obligations…Among many other topics, this new guidance clarifies that:

    - questioning or evidence about the survivor’s sexual history with anyone other than the alleged perpetrator should not be permitted during a judicial hearing;

    - adjudicators should know that the mere fact of a previous consensual dating or sexual relationship does not itself imply consent or preclude a finding of sexual violence; and

    - the parties should not be allowed to personally cross-examine each other.”

    (White House “Not Alone” report, April 2014)

    I will dispute the article’s suggestion that these recommendations take rights away from the accused in order:

    1) Hypothetically, IF this case was being tried in a court of law, this line of questioning could be considered objectionable for being “irrelevant” or “beyond the scope”. It probably wouldn’t fly anyways.

    2) This goes without saying, but is important to reiterate. No harm no foul.

    3) I believe the use of the word “personally” here means that the accused’s council could still cross-examine the accuser, though I could be wrong.

    In sum, the guidelines don’t dramatically abate the accused’s rights, if at all. They serve more as a reminder of bias-negating protocols that school officials should already be well aware of.

    Oh, and one more thing – my stomach back-flipped when I read the following sentence, “For students wrongly accused, the consequences of a guilty finding can be as dire as a not guilty finding for students actually victimized.” Both potentialities are extremely unfortunate, but they are the result of two quantifiable different issues – in my opinion, they really cannot be compared. As I stated above, I know firsthand how damning a false accusation can be in a sexual assault case, and it is certainly something we need to be more conscious of, but juxtaposing such consequences with the traumatic experience of a victim is misplaced.

    I think we need to remember how pervasive a problem this is, and we should be thankful that we have an administration that is committed to finding effective solutions. I’d like to end this post with a little quote from a quaint TV show that I feel sums up the attitude too many people have towards this issue:

    “Detective Olivia Benson: SVU–it’s the only unit where the victim’s word isn’t good enough.You have to prove that a crime was committed.”

    • George Purcell

      Most internal disciplinary procedures explicitly ban counsel for the defense in these cases.

    • Fraga123

      Wow, you not only don’t understand the DoE due process-free guidelines, but the constitutional protections in criminal cases seem unknown to you, too.

      • Jenna

        Oops, my bad then! Are you willing to explain my misunderstandings in greater detail?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      The most serious crime possible is murder. It is always referred to the police, though there may also be a university disciplinary process to kick out murderers as a side issue. In those cases, the University generally follows the lead of the court, as it should. In trivial cases, let’s say drawing mustaches on an event poster, it seems a reasonable thing to keep such incidents in house. You would expect that there would be a dividing line between the two poles where you shift over from one model to the other. I would not expect that feminists would be generally supporting keeping sexual assault cases on the trivial side of the line but here we are.

      Why is that?

  • ray

    Most of you folks wanted an uber-totalitarian feminist nation, well now you’ve got your constant demand of the past forty years. You have no idea what you have done, and what you have unleashed upon the world, in your ignorance, selfishness, and self-righteousness. Now the government you cheered for twice, and elected twice, has tossed away due process of law on your college campuses… uh, that is, due process for MALES only. Because as you’ve told us every day for forty years, males are evil, so don’t deserve to have “rights” like the Good People, females.
    That’s your goddess Equality, in a nutshell.
    Good luck with your feminist government, courts, schools, workplaces, government, and families. You will need it.

    • Jefferson Paine

      What Clueless-Americans don’t realize is that government only implements these fascist policies to give itself more power and that once they feel they have enough power, they will dispense with the pleasantries of these insipid, bigoted “PC sensibilities”, unveiling the iron fist within the fluffy pink PC-mitten…

      Such governments always eat their young.. the “young” in America are the pathetically clueless masses who for some inexplicable reason believe that *this time* big all-powerful government will not do what big all-powerful government has always done, crush our liberty and brutally oppress the people.

  • Fraga123
  • nosex4me

    frankly whip out a consent contract first!
    Obama suxs.

  • Bruce Hayden

    There is not a sexual assault problem on campuses. Let me repeat. There is not a sexual assault problem on campuses. The actual rape rate is apparently lower than in many other places in the country. What we are often talking about are he says/she says situations, and the situations that have been in the new recently have almost always been situations open to different interpretations, and very often the “victim” doesn’t come forward for a period of time – in one case, a year. There is typically no evidence of “rape”. The big question is how consensual was the sex. And, the guidelines seem to assume that the male is responsible for sexual assault when both are heavily impaired with alcohol. She has no responsibility, and he has full responsibility, when two young adults do what comes naturally when both are drunk. And, then, she has regrets the next day, or months later, charges him, and he is expelled.

    Not only does the DoE attempt to heavily tilt the field against males, in favor of females, but there is most often no negative consequences if the woman lies and gets caught doing so. Or, loses on her claim. But, if the guy loses, he is often expelled, and unable to attend similarly prestigious colleges. It is heads she wins, tails he loses. Making things worse, the tribunals are rarely trained in this sort of thing, and often don’t bother to look at corroborating evidence, such as texts and emails after the supposed event that indicate the woman thought nothing wrong at the time. They are, essentially, often kangaroo courts.

    The DoE seems to assume that a female would never lie about this sort of thing. But, we know that they do (e.g. the Duke lacrosse “rape” cases). Young women have as many reasons, if not more, to lie about sexual assaults as the men to, and maybe more, since lying is apparently in most cases consequence free.

    The reason that these cases are not tried in the criminal system is mostly because no crime occurred, or, at best, no triable crime. We are talking talking something much closer to civil liability. Most often, it seems from the stories I have read, when the woman is not blatantly lying, both were drunk at the time, and she has regrets the next day. But, notably, there are never allegations that her inebriation (as his) was not completely self-induced. She intentionally got drunk, and then wants a do-over for the natural consequences of getting drunk and often amorous when young people with raging hormones and a lot of alcohol in their systems get together.

  • wGraves

    I wonder if we might be able to think of a code to protect the rights of the accused which could improve on the administration’s proposal. Now, let me think a minute. Oh, I think I have it now:

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy
    and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district
    wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have
    been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and
    cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against
    him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
    and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    Well now, don’t all cheer at once y’all.

    • Michael Bergsma

      The Constitution is so old fashioned, being a 100 years old and all.

  • NikFromNYC

    College women outside of STEM majors are now tyrannically *insane* due to the fact that absolute power (over men) corrupts, absolutely. Boycott liberal arts psychos. They know how to get any man dragged away in handcuffs without consequence when you are let go, ten thousand dollars later.

  • Bandit Keena

    Dems need victims

  • Laurie Davis

    The left has continually attacked the Catholic Church for not calling authorities….do the same on campuses and prove the accusations in court. We have laws against rape. I have seen cases locally where women waited a year or more before they accused a young man of raping them….after they had gone to his room for sex and ‘changed their mind’! The mantra I heard was ‘no means no’ whenever you decide. Well I am here to say that many women, if the are honest, don’t always mean ‘no’ during an evening with a young man. Please … Just more rhetoric on the made up ‘War on Women’! If I had a son getting ready for college I would find an all male one for him!

  • SteveAR

    The obvious problem is that the Obama regime has taken fellow Democrat Mike Nifong’s approach to prosecuting sexual assault and applied that approach to how colleges and universities handle these cases.

    What’s really bad about all of this is that colleges and universities are going to pay through the nose when those falsely judged as “guilty” through this approach are going to demand major payback sue these schools. If the heads of these schools had any sense at all, they would demand that the Obama regime rescind their “guidance”, taking Obama and his regime to court if necessary to get it done.

    In the end, it will be we the taxpayers who will foot the bill for this fiasco. Unfortunately, that leaves out Obama, the other Democrats in his regime, and every other Democrat. Thanks for nothing, Obama.

  • OldNHMan

    The biggest problem with this issue is that the universities have made the definition of rape and sexual assault so broad that they have become meaningless. In some cases someone asking someone else out might be considered sexual assault if the’ askee’ felt uncomfortable being asked out by that particular person. (Think it can’t happen? Unfortunately it already has…and it didn’t deal with a stalker or other miscreant.)

    It is California, if I recall correctly, that wants to strictly define in law how sexual relations between two consenting adults MUST take place, at least on college campuses. My response to that bit of idiocy was to suggest that any student on a California college campus should protect themselves under such circumstances by either recording video and audio of the entire sexual encounter to prove continual consent was given or making sure a college appointed monitor was in the room to ensure compliance with the law. (In the spirit of helping keep our young adults from going astray, I volunteered my services to review all such video recordings to ensure the letter of the law was followed. Some folks were not amused. I guess they really had no sense of humor…or irony.)

    With overly broad definitions of rape/sexual assault and then using what is to all intents a kangaroo court to adjudicate ‘offenses’, is it any wonder all of this is seen as a War on Men? Men are automatically assumed to be the perpetrator, even when both parties are equally liable for their actions. While feminists decry the so-called rape culture, what they are really accomplishing is undoing decades of equal rights activism by portraying women as being incapable of dealing with sex (or even social interactions) on their own terms. They have reduced all women to the very caricature of the helpless/defenseless/clueless woman they fought so hard to eliminate. (Yes, a little off-topic, but I call ‘em as I see ‘em.)

  • keith12345

    The vast majority of accusations are true. It is only a small minority that are false accusations. I have no problem presuming guilt, considering the severity of the crime and the effect on the victim, and all the other women in the community, especially in a college setting. For those who are falsely accused, that is unfortunate, but I think it’s the price we have to pay for attaining justice for the victims and assuring the safety of our young women. It’s simply part of the price to pay for being a male, who have so many other inherent advantages in society.

    • OldNHMan

      You are assuming that those making the accusations are using the same definition of rape and sexual assault that most of the rest of the country uses and not the definitions that exist on college campuses. In many cases they aren’t the same, and that’s the problem.

      Those same on-campus definitions applied to the outside world would either be laughed out of court or we’d find an extremely large portion of the male population in prison, Were that indeed the case I think you’d either see growing misogyny (“Hey, they’re gonna blame me for being a sexist pig no matter what I do, so what the hell!”) or a push for sexual segregation by men fed up with being seen as nothing but a rapist or future rapist by a society that has been indoctrinated to believe that women are incapable of taking care of themselves and need Big Nanny Government to take care of them.

      • keith12345

        If a woman is feeling so threatened or uncomfortable that she feels she has to seek legal/disciplinary action against a man, then the definitions aren’t really important, are they? The important thing is whether the woman feels threatened or not, and how to alleviate that threat. That threshold will differ depending on the individual and the circumstances, so I think it’s a little naive to think that a single one-size fits all definition is warranted. It’s better to err on the side of safety with broader definitions, anyway.

        • Pointguard

          Well, Keith12345 there is this little thing called the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights that each person in the United States is afforded rights under. Whether a woman feels uncomfortable is irrelevant – the accused have rights that must be preserved. Period. Full stop. As the President might say. If one thinks a crime has been committed – call the police – no kangaroo courts, no preponderance of evidence – just the American judicial system like any other crime. IS that so difficult to understand?

          • keith12345

            There are other means of punishment/justice short of legal conviction, and that’s mostly what we’re talking about here. We’re mostly talking about collegiate discipline in the form of suspension or expulsion. Colleges/universities are completely within their authority to discipline students with a burden of proof less than what the legal/judicial system requires, so please stop with the condescending histrionics trying to make this into a constitutional crisis or something.

          • Pointguard

            Just one example of how you are wrong – you cannot pick and choose the Constitutional Rights of Americans (histrionics – you really are an idiot) :


          • keith12345

            One judge’s opinion hardly makes for Constitutional precedent. I’m sure there are plently of liberal judges who issue rulings that you would be quick to disagree with and condemn, so you’re being a bit hypocritical by holding up this one ruling as the be-all-and-end-all. There is far more legal precedent for colleges and universities being allowed to discipline students for a burden of proof less than that required by criminal law. And you know that is the case, notwithstanding this one decision.

          • Pointguard

            Here is an article from a middle of the road writer that contains a letter from liberal and conservative legal scholars on the subject – read it through and you will see how your approach is unfair, illegal and unconstitutional:


          • Pointguard

            Also, FYI -U.S. Supreme Court precedent has concluded when a person’s good name, reputation, honor or integrity are challenged, due process requires “precautions against unfair or mistaken findings.”

          • keith12345

            And doesn’t an organization have a right to protect their reputation? Allegations of sexual assault on campus are extremely damaging and disrupting to a college/university’s reputation, and results in a major circus. If I were a college/university, I would want the and the issue, and the accused individual gone, period, whether he’s guilty or not. I don’t need that kind of negative publicity/headache. Businesses fire employees on mere allegations all the time, and it is legal. This is really no different.

          • Pointguard

            Firing someone is materially different from labeling someone a rapist in the public square.

          • keith12345

            OK, I’ll agree that the college shouldn’t label someone a rapist (I don’t know whether they’re doing that or not, but I’ll agree with you that they shouldn’t be doing that if there is no legal conviction). They should still be allowed to suspend/expel someone who is accused of sexual crimes, though.

    • Attart

      Wait until you or your son is falsely accused by a vindictive former girlfriend, then tell us how you think it is reasonable to presume guilt.

  • Aaron

    Alcohol makes these campus incidents incredibly complicated and difficult to judge. I don’t know enough about this specific legal matter, but I have to say, I’ve never been as terrified of the “system” as I was after reading John Grisham’s “An Innocent Man”, it’s a masterpiece of investigative, thorough non-fiction about how the truth can be, as in the Central Park five in the news yesterday, surreally totally irrelevant to the authorities. Incompetence, laziness, careerism, control-freaks, sadism, and a propensity for authoritarian figures to never admit they screwed-up or erred in any way, can, and indeed has all too often, led to innocent citizens to be scapegoated and thrown in jail, or in Grisham’s account, put on death row. Should give any death penalty or law enforcement zealot a chilling pause. I think the scales of justice need to be balanced and only weighted by one thing – the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.