In case you missed it, an op-ed published Nov. 3 in the Boston Globe by former Yale University quarterback Patrick Witt is making the rounds. In it, Witt details how his promising NFL career and an opportunity at a Rhodes Scholarship were completely derailed by a baseless “informal complaint” lodged against him and adjudicated by the then-newly-created Yale University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct.
If ever there was a quintessential example of how “jerrybuilt, due-process challenged“ campus sexual assault tribunals wield far too much power, and how mere claims are held sacrosanct by administrators to the detriment of the young men who stand accused, it’s this one.
“I would say more about what the accusation itself entailed if indeed I had such information,” Witt writes. “Under the informal complaint process, specific accusations are not disclosed to the accused, no fact-finding takes place, and no record is taken of the alleged misconduct. For the committee to issue an informal complaint, an accuser need only bring an accusation that, if substantiated, would constitute a violation of university policy concerning sexual misconduct. The informal ‘process’ begins and ends at the point of accusation; the truth of the claim is immaterial.”
As Greg Piper on The College Fix points out, Witt “goes on to state that Yale pretty much lied to him about the consequences of this ‘informal complaint’ – Witt’s post-graduation job offer was rescinded and his potential Rhodes Scholarship became untenable following an ‘anonymous tip.’”
“I cannot begin to describe how exasperatingly difficult it has been to try to explain to people what an informal complaint is and how there was never any evidence — nor any effort made to discover evidence — to substantiate the claim made by my accuser,” Witt writes. “My summer employer and the NFL certainly couldn’t understand it, and the media flat out didn’t care — the words ‘informal complaint’ were all that was needed to establish my guilt in their eyes.”
How many more Patrick Witts need to have their lives ruined before there’s an end to this madness? There are currently at least 44 lawsuits filed against universities across this nation alleging due process and other violations in adjudicating sexual assault claims.
Witt is now attending Harvard Law School. I have a feeling I know what type of legal battles he might want to tackle first.