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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Tide turns on Title IX investigations

Last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have “codified the Obama-era Education Department’s guidance for how college campuses should deal with sexual misconduct, writes Reason‘s Robby Soave. Accused students, guilty or not, “must be treated fairly and with the presumption of innocence until the facts speak otherwise,” Brown declared.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is revising the guidance on campus sexual assault.

Caleb Warner was expelled for rape by the University of North Dakota. Police charged the accuser with filing a false report. Nearly two years later, UND revoked its decision. Warner never returned and works as a truck driver.

“Brown is the first prominent elected Democratic official to raise such questions of  fundamental fairness,” writes Emily Yoffe in The Atlantic.

The governor also wrote, “We have no insight into how many formal investigations result in expulsion, what circumstances lead to expulsion, or whether there is disproportionate impact on race or ethnicity.”

Democrats and feminists have spoken out against Obama-era policies because they worry “that the legitimacy of the fight against sexual assault was being undermined by new rules on campus that had the effect of potentially turning any sexual encounter into a possible violation,” writes Yoffe.

Except for Brown’s singular statement, Democratic elected officials have not widely acknowledged—or perhaps do not understand—that their constituents equally desire the safety of their college-age daughters and sons, and that they want their sons to get through college without being labeled as predators because of a normal, if stumbling, teenage sexual encounter. Numerous Democratic members of the House and Senate have vowed to do everything in their power to oppose any Trump administration reform of Title IX. Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, just introduced federal legislation that mirrors the bill Brown vetoed.

“Civil libertarians, law professors and journalists . . . have deplored the now-revoked Obama requirements,” write KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr, authors of The Campus Rape Frenzy.

One sign the tide is turning: Mothers of young males accused of sexual misconduct on campus are the subject of a New York Times story. One young man was cleared, but it was too late. “Her son had become a pariah, dropped by his friends and called a rapist by women on campus.” He dropped out.

“Due process is making a comeback,” writes Ashe Schow in The Federalist.

By K.C. Johnson’s count as of Sepember 8, 59 accused students had received at least partially favorable rulings from judges after they sued their schools for gender-bias and denying due process. I believe this count is now over 60. Some of these judges decried schools shifting the burden of proof onto accused students, some stated cross-examination was essential, others noted the potential ramifications for expelled students that activists seem to ignore, and others simply said the campus kangaroo courts were “unfair.”

In addition, “accused students have been racking up settlements with their universities for years, with a seeming uptick in 2017,” she writes. Columbia University settling with the man accused by “Mattress Girl.”

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