Betsy DeVos Brings Due Process Back to Sexual Misconduct Allegations on Campus

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has instituted some much-needed reforms to Title IX concerning the rights of male students who have been accused of sexual assault on university campuses. Politico explains.

“The Title IX rule will offer new rights to accused assailants and require colleges to respond to formal complaints with courtroom-like hearings. The hearings, which will allow representatives for alleged offenders and victims to call witnesses and challenge their credibility, can occur live or virtually. Students and staff would also have a right to appeal a school’s decisions.”

DeVos has restored due process to instances when male students are accused by female students of rape or sexual assault. It reverses an Obama-era rule that set up what was in effect a Star Chamber system in which the accused student was forced to prove his innocence. Hot Air reminds us of how the system worked.

“The previous Obama-era rules placed heavy financial incentives on colleges and universities to set up systems that shifted the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused. Barack Obama and Joe Biden both wanted to see results from Title IX complaints about harassment and assault for their own political benefit, putting that far above considerations of law and justice. Hundreds if not thousands of college students had their reputations ruined in kangaroo courts without any benefit of due process, or in many cases even an ability to present evidence on their own behalf or question witnesses. It’s a system more similar to the witch trials in Salem than traditional American jurisprudence, and it continues to generate all sorts of abuses and malicious conduct.”

Some of the students who were tossed out of schools on what was often trumped-up charges took to the courts to hold universities accountable. The students invariable won their civil actions but only after years of litigations after their lives were ruined and their good names dragged through the mire.

Civil libertarians are, in general, enthusiastic about the rule change. The new system has safeguards to make alleged victims comfortable enough to pursue an on-campus action, with provisions for informal settlements. The rule also expands the responsibility of colleges and universities to incidents that take place at school-sponsored events off-campus, such as field trips and academic conferences.

Ironically, according to the Hill, one man who had a hand in crafting the Obama-era policy is not happy.

“Former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that if he’s elected president, he will reverse a rule issued by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos aimed at bolstering protections for students who are accused of sexual assault on university campuses.”

The irony comes to play because Biden is the target of a sexual assault allegation by a former staffer named Tara Reade. She accused the then-senator of backing her up against the wall and digitally raping her in the early 1990s. Hot Air notes that if Biden were to be subjected to the same Title IX rules that he championed and has vowed to restore were he to be elected that he would be out of the running as Democratic nominee and would have “rapist” forever attached to his name.

DeVos’s rule change and Biden’s vow to change it sets up an interesting dynamic for the 2020 election that perhaps Team Joe might not have reckoned on. The rule change lifts from every college man the specter of ruination and ignominy as the result of a bad breakup or an instance of ill-considered, drunken dorm room debauchery. It does not give license to collegiate sexual predators. Even frat houses will now come under the DeVos rule.

However, Biden has served notice to every young man going to college that the Star Chamber system will return if Creepy, Pervy Uncle Joe is elected to the presidency. What reason would any male attending an institution of higher learning have to elect such a person?

On the other hand, the sort of college-age woman who thinks that the DeVos rule means open season on coeds on campus is not likely to vote for President Trump anyway. Indeed, such, some think, are more likely to be Bernie Sanders supporters and won’t vote for Biden either.

One can just imagine what Trump, ever ready for the quick put down, would say if the question comes up during a debate. After all, the president considers himself the target of a number of untrue accusations as well.