Phi Beta Cons

Leave Rape Investigations to the Police

That’s the argument of April Winters in today’s Pope Center feature.

Winters says that due process rights and other standards of fairness are “thrown out” when campuses adjudicate sexual assault cases.

Part of the problem, she says, is that in 2011 the Department of Education told public universities to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard when handling such cases, rather than the stronger standard of proof used in criminal proceedings, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

Furthermore, says Winters, campuses have shown that their inexperience, lack of investigative expertise, and often biased agenda – usually intended to mollify sexual assault victims advocates and feminists – makes them ill-suited for handling cases that can have major impacts on the lives of students: “The sometimes tragic experiences of both accusers and the accused stem from one problem – that universities are expected to handle sexual assault cases in the first place. They are not equipped to do so, and when they do, the justice they mete out is anything but impartial.”

Winters also says that universities should be required to direct all sexual assault issues to the police, and that false accusers – think Jackie from the recent Rolling Stone hoax – should be punished accordingly. “If a student can be expelled for rape without proof, students who make false claims that ruin lives should face expulsion, too,” she writes. 

Jesse SaffronJesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...

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