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Ironically-Named Office of Civil Rights Wants Fewer Rights For Accused Students

The federal Office for Civil Rights gave out yet more guidance to universities that would deprive the accused of due process, if implemented. According to KC Johnson of Minding the Campus:

Seeking to build off the momentum from the “Dear Colleague” letter, the Association also is urging administrators to receive special training in a four-day session devoted to how to implement new, guilt-presuming sexual assault standards.

When colleges and universities use the “adversarial process” to deal with such complaints, the Association laments, “Justice is rarely done. Truth remains elusive.” (Perhaps we should simply shut down the court system, as well.) What explains this failure? Too many schools are “trying to fit campus sexual misconduct into a student conduct/discipline framework.” Instead, according to the Association’s training guide, colleges need to use a “civil rights investigation model for addressing campus sexual misconduct”–which has the advantage, for those interested in overriding due process concerns, that it is “not police-led investigation, and it is not the same as investigating a student conduct violation.”

The topics make clear the one-sidedness of the session’s agenda. (In addition to administrators, the Association invites “prosecutors, sex crimes investigators, magistrates, victim advocates and judges”–but not defense attorneys or civil liberties advocates.) Topics on how colleges should respond to sexual assault/harassment claims include such issues as “due process myopia” and “is a hearing necessary?” The list of “experts” invited to train campus administrators includes Brett Sokolow, who rivals the notorious Wendy Murphy in the almost cheerful willingness with which he presumes guilt in sexual assault cases. As FIRE’s Will Creeley has correctly noted, Sokolow has exhibited a “disdain for due process [that] echoes the worst instincts of the angry mob.”

Read more from TCF on the Office for Civil Rights here.

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