Just when you think things might calm down, we get hit with another wave of insanity and destruction. Watching the news the past couple of months has been exhausting. Still, we’re Americans and we’re tough, so we’ll keep facing our problems with heads held high.
With larger events in the fold, it’s easy to miss some of the smaller headlines, so here’s a win that you may not have seen. Betsy DeVos has removed one of the most dangerous and destructive policies from Obama’s entire tenure, and it’s good news for anyone who believes in justice.
The Dear Colleague Letter
Let’s start by scrutinizing Obama’s policy. He put it into place in 2011 with his Dear Colleague Letter. In the letter, he outlined a change of procedure for institutions of higher learning to use in regards to sexual misconduct. The first, and most disturbing, thing to note is that Obama emphasized that colleges should not involve police forces. Even though sexual misconduct and sex-related crimes often overlap, Obama wanted these cases deliberately separated from the criminal justice system, and the reasons are disturbing.
The primary point of the letter was to deliberately move away from due process. Obama used Title IX and funding tied to it to force universities to abandon the notion of clear and convincing evidence and instead operate under the standard of preponderance of evidence.
For those who haven’t been to law school, clear and convincing evidence is the standard for criminal court. You’ve probably heard the term “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is another phrase to describe the same thing. The premise is that we shouldn’t subject someone to the life-ruining punishments of criminal justice unless we are unflinchingly certain of guilt.
Preponderance of evidence is actually an inversion of this principle and the standard for civil court. It switches the burden of proof to the accused and makes it much easier to get a conviction. This is typically deemed acceptable in civil courts where the cost of losing is typically a matter of money and fiscal responsibility.
The problem with running college tribunals in this way is that the consequences are far more damning than a fine or cash settlement. Sexual misconduct often results in expulsion from school and blacklisting. A convicted student has lost any opportunity of pursuing higher education, and they can still be taken to trial. This is fine if the student in question actually committed a crime, but preponderance of evidence leads to wrong verdicts far too often. We’ll see an example in a minute.
John Doe vs Alger
This was a highly publicized case that involved James Madison University. It began when a student (we’ll call her Roe) accused John Doe of rape. The case went to tribunal and Doe was not found guilty of any misconduct. Later, during a school break, Roe appealed the case and submitted new evidence. The tribunal considered the evidence and ruled against Doe, all while he was absent from the school. He was notified while on break that he was not allowed to return.
Ultimately, Doe appealed the case to the real courts, and they ruled that JMU had violated due process, which is completely obvious to anyone with any common sense. The problem is that JMU was simply following the procedures mandated to them by Obama, and if they didn’t, they could lose all funding and privileges tied to Title IX.
New Department of Education Policy
Betsy DeVos has rescinded the Dear Colleague Letter and institutions are once again able to follow normal procedures and involve law enforcement to conduct investigations. This seems like a good fix, but it actually falls short.
The primary problem is the DeVos didn’t tie the new policy to Title IX or funding. Colleges can stick to Obama policy if they want, and there are no direct consequences. Removing the mandate is certainly a step in the right direction, but considering the climate around higher learning right now, we can assume a large number of institutions will continue the witch hunt.
It all boils down to the insidiousness of the left. They need a narrative that shows women are frequently raped and then ignored by the justice system. Due process wasn’t netting enough convictions, so they created a loophole. By removing actual investigation, cross examination and a general defense for the accused, they could inflate reports of sexual assault.
It justifies major platforms from the left, even though the new evidence is a direct attack on integrity that comes at the cost of ruining innocent lives. In the meantime, they actually undermine the support structure for women who really have been the victim of sexual crimes. All of this is just so they can point fingers and accuse political opponents of being the bad guys. Still, DeVos has taken a big step back in the right direction.
~ American Liberty Report