“university must give the accused student or his agent an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser”
Due process shouldn’t be an issue on college campuses but it often is. Why?
Robby Soave writes at Reason:
In Due Process Lawsuit, Appeals Court Sides with Michigan Student Expelled for Sexual Misconduct
A male student who was kicked off campus has alleged that the University of Michigan did not give him the opportunity to properly defend himself against sexual misconduct charges.
Last week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the lawsuit filed by ex-student “John Doe” against the university has merit. In a decision written by Judge Amul Thapar—a judge with a reputation for defending due process norms in cases involving Title IX, the federal statute that sets rules for campus sexual misconduct cases—the court held that Doe’s lawsuit should survive a motion to dismiss.
“If a public university has to choose between competing narratives to resolve a case, the university must give the accused student or his agent an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser and adverse witnesses in the presence of a neutral fact-finder,” wrote Thapar. “Because the University of Michigan failed to comply with this rule, we reverse [the lower court’s decision].”
Thapar’s strong defense of the right of the accused to cross-examine the accuser is a timely development. As reported in Reason and The New York Times, the Education Department is currently workshopping a new approach to Title IX that would correct some of the due process deficiencies found in previous guidance issued under the Obama administration. An official with knowledge of Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ plans told Reason that the new Title IX guidance would require cross-examination or “an effective substitute.”
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