Thanks mainly to the Obama administration’s crusade to push the notion that our campuses were full of sexual predators (and therefore women needed protection that only the Democrats were offering), due process for accused students took a nosedive. The infamous Office for Civil Rights in the Education Department put forth a diktat that forced colleges to adopt extremely unfair policies meant to maximize the likelihood that an accused student would be found guilty and punished.
Fortunately, federalism hasn’t been entirely crushed and a number of states fought back against the feds. North Carolina led the way with a 2013 statute, the Students and Administrative Equality Act. The SAE ensures that accused students have the right to counsel in disciplinary hearings. Since then, Arkansas and North Dakota have adopted laws to protect due process on campus and bills to do the same are pending in six other states.
In a new Martin Center article, Jenna Robinson writes about this hopeful trend. She notes that a bill in the Utah legislature goes further. “There” she writes, “Rep. Kim Coleman (R) and Sen. Todd Weiler (R) have sponsored legislation that would give students the right to active counsel as well as add requirements to the adjudication process. The bill would require parties to make good-faith efforts to exchange evidence and would allow students and their advocates to make opening and closing statements and to present and question witnesses.”
That is indeed a change worth adopting, since the campus sexual-assault bureaucracies have a nasty habit of withholding evidence from the accused and disallowing meaningful opportunities to challenge their accusers. There have been many cases where the claims of women accusers were later proven to be false, but only after the male student was declared guilty and punished by the school. The right to confront witnesses is crucial, and the line that women must always be believed is humbug.
Robinson concludes hopefully:
Momentum is building to restore due process on campus. State action can ensure that students are free from arbitrary, onerous, and unfair campus courts — and strengthen the rule of law promised to all Americans in the U.S. Bill of Rights.”
I think she’s right and this is another sign that the harsh winter of “progressivism” is receding.