Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently put out long-awaited and much-dreaded — if you’re a leftist — proposed changes to Title IX. She said “every survivor of sexual violence must be taken seriously, and every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined,” reported Campus Reform.
That last part is crucial. It took me only around a few hours last fall to write a piece outlining several cases in which accused students have not received due process for sexual assault charges. A UC San Diego student accused of sexual assault claimed his school wouldn’t let him show text message evidence, cross-examine his accuser, or challenge the investigator. He took the school to court and won. A U.S. District Court judge ruled against James Madison University a couple years ago in a similar case. And a father is suing the University of Texas at Arlington for mishandling a Title IX case after which his son committed suicide.
Yeah, um, I’m not so sure how familiar the ACLU’s Emma Roth and Shayna Medley, the two young ladies who authored the nonprofit’s response to the Title IX proposal, are with those cases.
Emma and Shayna said “previous Department of Education guidance adopted that standard of proof.” They mean preponderance of evidence, or over 50 percent. “But the new regulation would allow schools to use a ‘clear and convincing evidence’ standard” — in other words, more than just a simple majority — “which favors the respondent by finding against complainants even where it is more likely than not that their account is accurate.”
But here’s the thing: in what other scenario does a judge or jury look at a case and say, “well, 51% of the evidence supports the accuser, so I guess that’s enough to send someone to prison for a decade”? It just doesn’t happen and shouldn’t happen unless we want to change “innocent until proven guilty” to “innocent until there’s a 51 out of a hundred chance he’s guilty.”