One new group has launched a national campaign to push for equality in campus sexual assault cases.
We’ve previously reported on the uneven playing field upon which campus sexual assault cases are tried. In the world of faux-egalitarian bureaucracy that is the university system, there seems to be little concern for the due process rights of the accused; but one new group is aiming to change that.
Families Advocating for Campus Equality, or “FACE,” is spearheaded by the mothers of several male students who were falsely accused of sexual assault while at their universities. They’re working to change the standards by which students accused of sexual assault are “tried” by universities, and for good reason:
On the basis of a mere accusation, students have been suspended or expelled from school, have been denied their right to attorney representation and have been prohibited from confronting or questioning their accusers. Investigations conducted by college administrators are often faulty, relying on hear-say, rumor, and teenage gossip, while the “burden of proof” — the amount of evidence necessary to render a finding of guilt — has been expressly reduced from the more exacting “clear and convincing” to a mere “preponderance” of the evidence.
In practice, what this all means is that a student, accused of, say, pilfering another student’s computer in a dormitory, would be entitled to a full and fair hearing with legal representation, a right to confront his accuser, and would be judged by the more exacting “clear and convincing” standard. So, too, for that matter, would someone standing accused of murder in a court of law, where the standard of proof would be “beyond a reasonable doubt.”. But when the accusation is of some variation of sexual misconduct on a college campus — a charge that itself carries enormous life-altering consequences for the accused — no such safeguards are afforded.
FACE has, of course, been accused of being “anti-woman” for having the audacity to demand equal justice, but the founders of the group vehemently deny this accusation:
The women who have come together to organize FACE are emphatically not anti-women; they are, in fact, self-defined ‘feminists.’ Protecting students — whether male or female, and regardless of sexual orientation or identification — from assault, and the proper and effective prosecution of those who would prey upon them are issues of vital concern to FACE.
However, of equal importance to the women of FACE is our sacred heritage of justice and due process of law. Establishing a system that is fair and impartial, and that affords the accused the rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Bill of Rights is hardly a gender-based issue. Under present circumstances, colleges and universities, while striving to protect alleged victims, colleges and universities are inadvertently creating new victims — the unjustly/falsely accused.
Restoring fairness and balance to a system run amok is not a matter of gender division.
A bipartisan coalition in Congress recently introduced new legislation aimed bringing more transparency to how universities address sexual assault on campus. However, this new bill fails to address the very problem that FACE seeks to remedy. In an article at National Review, AEI Research Associate Caroline Kitchens explains why Congress’s latest effort to address campus sexual assault fails on a due process level:
In the past several years, at least 25 men have filed lawsuits against their universities, contending that they were denied due process and railroaded by campus rape courts operating under a “presumed guilty” mindset.
The erosion of due process on campus has been well documented. Yet the Campus Accountability and Safety Act does nothing to alleviate or even acknowledge these concerns. McCaskill and her colleagues did not include a single defense attorney or civil-liberties advocate in any of their roundtables. When the Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow astutely asked the bill’s sponsors about services and protections offered to the accused, a spokesman for Senator Rubio’s office replied, “This bill does not address that issue.”
Campus sexual assault is a very real issue, and Title IX has been an incredible force in ensuring gender equality on college campuses; however, the spirit behind Title IX has been abused by both federal policymakers and university officials in the name of political correctness. Groups like FACE are an important boon to the rights of the falsely accused, and its membership serves as a constant reminder that equality cannot be achieved when we insist replacing one victim with another of our choosing.DONATE
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