The Campus Sex-Crime Tribunals Are Losing

The Campus Sex-Crime Tribunals Are Losing

Ohio State University (shutterstock)

Thanks to Betsy DeVos, the kangaroo courts on college campus created under Title IX and who deny all parties surrounding allegations of sexual and gender harrassment/assault due process are being reigned in.

Commentary Magazine by KC Johnson

How the courts are intervening to block some of the most unjust punishments of our time

In late August, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett blocked Miami University from suspending a student the school had found guilty of sexual assault. The student claimed that his due-process rights had been violated by Miami University’s fact-finding process. This process had featured a proceeding in which all the witnesses corroborating the accuser’s claims had refused to appear—and at its conclusion the chair of Miami’s disciplinary panel simply accepted their unverified statements as “true.” When the case reached federal court, university lawyers argued that cross-examination of the absent witnesses was irrelevant because the accused student was allowed to say that he disagreed with their claims. The university, Barrett responded, misunderstood the importance of cross-examination for assessing witness credibility. Miami’s “claim that no amount of cross-examination could have changed the minds of the hearing panel members,” the judge concluded, “arguably undercuts the fairness of the hearing.” The “arguably” was a nice touch.

Barrett’s decision marked the 59th judicial setback for a college or university since 2013 in a due-process lawsuit brought by a student accused of sexual assault. (In four additional cases, the school settled a lawsuit before any judicial decision occurred.)

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