This article was on the front pager of the Merced Sun-Stroke today:
College students who have reported sexual assaults will be called to answer questions in a live hearing from the very people they’ve accused of abusing them — a significant change that critics say turns a classroom into a courtroom.
The Jan. 4 ruling in a lawsuit filed by a male undergraduate USC student against university administrators has immediate repercussions for dozens of students across the state whose reports of sexual harassment, assault or rape are currently under investigation.
In the lawsuit, the student sought to overturn his expulsion from USC after school administrators found he violated campus code, determining that sex he had with a woman was forcible and non-consensual.
Judge Thomas L. Willhite held that when a student accused of sexual misconduct is facing severe disciplinary sanctions, like expulsion or suspension — and the credibility of witnesses is central — a fair process must include a live hearing where parties may cross-examine each other.
While the case was taken up against a private school, the ruling defines requirements for a fair disciplinary hearing at private and public schools, potentially shaping hundreds of investigations a year across campuses statewide.
Victim advocates worry that implementing the policy will result in fewer students reporting sexual assault and rape, compounding the existing problem that most attacks go unreported.
The ruling follows a national trend toward requiring live hearings in administrative procedures on campuses — a practice that college administrators say is traumatic for both the accused and the accuser and fails to reach the truth.
“The courts have long held that we are not required to convert our classrooms into courtrooms, and yet that seems to be precisely what they are doing here,” said Leora Freedman, deputy general counsel for the California State University.
The shift has been celebrated by those who feel the rights of the accused have been sidestepped in educational settings. Victim advocates say that adopting criminal proceedings in campus investigations is traumatic and chill the reporting of campus sexual abuse.
Morgan Dewey, with the organization End Rape on Campus, put it plainly: “This policy change makes schools less safe for survivors and easier for students to get away with sexual assault.”
“(For survivors) to know that they would have to sit through a live hearing with a rapist is terrifying and traumatizing and will definitely curtail reporting on campus,” Dewey said.
State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, echoed those concerns and said she hopes the decision is challenged to the California Supreme Court for that very reason.
“Clearly we need to respect one’s constitutional right to due process,” said Jackson, who recently introduced state legislation on the issue. But, she added, there is a difference between a criminal proceeding, where the accused’s personal liberty and freedom is at stake, and an administrative hearing.
“To conflate them is the height of misogyny and sexism. We do want to provide due process,” Jackson said. “There is a way to get there without discouraging victims to come forward.”
There is a bunch more and you should go read it.
Prior to this ruling, sexual assault allegations on campus were referred to the student disciplinary board rather than law enforcement. The disciplinary board would appoint an investigator to look into the matter. You might think that this investigator would be a retired cop with experience at investigating sexual assaults. If you thought that you might be very, very, wrong.
The kind of person who gets selected for this position is the kind of person who would have a degree in Womyn’s Studies or Intersectional Feminism or some other major within the Department of Misandry. This person would take an alleged victim’s report, believe every word of it (because victims have a right to be believed”) and then unleash a mob of kangaroos who would find the perpetrator, cover him in ‘Roo doo doo and then bounce him from the campus for evermore.
Apparently, some of the rapists who were expelled from college objected to the kangaroo court’s doo doo process. They filed lawsuits, and they are mostly winning. Many cases are still pending. In a lot of the cases I read about the facts are Kafkaesque.
Imagine being told you are facing school discipline for sexual assault, but they won’t tell you who is accusing you, they won’t tell you what you were alleged to have done, nor will they tell you when an=d where it allegedly took place. You are not entitled to an attorney. If you hire your own attorney they are not allowed to participate. Virtually everyone in the process will be biased against you, and there is no right to appeal.
These disciplinary boards are not criminal in nature, so you can’t be incarcerated or fined, but they can (and probably will) expel you from school. Think about how hard it is to get into a top school. What schools would accept you after you were expelled for sexual assault? What employer would hire you with that on your record?
Now imagine you are Brett Kavanaugh, and 30 years ago Christine Blah Blah Ford accused you of attempted rape two or three years earlier. The cops investigate but no action was taken because there was no substantiation and she was vague about key details. But the accusation was never disproven either.
Do you think you would ever become a judge at any level?
If you are ever falsely accused of rape or child molestation, you will never escape the taint that is put on you. No matter matter what happens, some people will always suspect you. “He must have done something. Victims never lie.”