“Justice is an immeasurably precious thing, and due process is an essential part of justice.” – FIRE's Guides to Student Rights on Campus
Innocent until proven guilty has been the rule of the American justice system since its inception. Unless, that is, you happen to be accused of wrongdoing on a college campus.
As we explored last week with Carissa Hessick in the case of plea bargains and the vanishing jury trial, it is a far graver injustice to deprive an innocent person of the liberty than to let a guilty person go free. That is why the founders gave the accused so many protections in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) was created to uphold these protections against rules passed under the Title IX legislation that require colleges to effectively prosecute students outside of the criminal justice system. In these campus tribunals, those accused of sexual harassment have been denied basic protections like the right to a live hearing, the right to cross examine witnesses, and even to hear the full charges being levied against them.
Joe Cohn, director of FIRE’s Legislative and Policy department, joins me discuss a new proposed rule change from the same administrative office behind the infamous 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter. The new language would turn certain kinds of constitutionally-protected free speech into a punishable offense under the broad umbrella of “sexual harassment.” Under the new rule, the “trial” that results from alleged misconduct would be conducted by a single college administrator acting as judge, jury, and prosecutor.
Anyone connected with an American university that receives federal funding (aka, virtually all colleges) should tune in to this important broadcast. The first step to protecting your rights is to know what they are.
Opinion | Biden Renews Obama's Attack on Campus Due Process
Judge José Cabranes of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals fired off a blistering critique of how colleges and universities adjudicated sexual-misconduct allegations during the Obama administration. Thanks to "regulatory diktats" imposed by the Department of Education in 2011, Judge Cabranes wrote in a concurring opinion earlier this month, campus procedures were so devoid of basic due-process protections that they "compared unfavorably to those of the infamous English Star Chamber."
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs. One of our nation's most famous - and sometimes most controversial - civil rights laws, Title IX was for many years best known for its impact on college women's athletics.
5 Ways Biden's New Title IX Rules Will Eviscerate Due Process on Campus
Today, on the 50th anniversary of Title IX's implementation, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education is getting a radical overhaul that will gut critical due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct.