How many suicides of falsely accused male students will it take before campus administrators decide they deserve due process – and the same services afforded accusers – in Title IX investigations?
A lawyer and “licensed clinical social worker” writes in The Daily Caller that all the accused students she has worked with “became suicidal during the process.”
Michelle Owens shares her experience of attending a University of Tennessee-Knoxville “listening session” last month, convened by the school’s Title IX commission, which was formed in the wake of its $2.48 million settlement with several women who said they were raped by fellow students.
The self-identified journalists in the room were asked to leave, and for good reason:
There were about 200 people in attendance, the vast majority of whom were women. From their discussions, I got the impression that over 80% were assault or rape “victims.” I am not sure how the meeting was promoted, but the only people in attendance were those with an apparent agenda, plus several Resident Advisors (attendance may have been required for them). …
The leader of the commission, Elizabeth Conklin, focused solely on the “victim” perspective; there was no meaningful discussion about the broader process.
At the beginning they introduced Title IX by stating it was a law designed to protect women from sexual assault and rape. What? Doesn’t the purpose of Title IX include protecting men from the same problem? The way rape is defined on campuses, in terms of lack of consent, it would be easy for a man to be raped by a woman.
Owens told the group she handled “many of these cases on behalf of the accused students” and that they all became suicidal. She blamed in part the Title IX office for “lack of support” given to accused students:
I was the only person in attendance who said anything about the process needing to be more fair or impartial, or who brought up the need to support the accused students. No one seemed to be interested in hearing my perspective, as was apparent from their body language, and they did not respond to my statements.
The predominant focus of the meeting was making reporting easier, Owens said, as if the average public university is not already bombarding students with resources from multiple offices on how to report sexual misconduct:
My biggest concern is that the Commission is gathering information from a very select group of campus advocates. Apparently they did not want to hear from anyone who was an advocate for fairness or who was opposed to harsher penalties.