Judith Grossman, an attorney, self-described feminist, and mother to a college-age son attending a “small liberal arts college”, has found her decades long support of “progressive candidates committed to women's rights” and “unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act” coming back at her in an unexpected and eye-opening manner.
It appears her son ran afoul of the government sanctioned “Dear Colleagues”-style kangaroo courts when his ex-girlfriend accused him of non-consensual sex acts a few years prior to her making the accusation.
It began with a text of desperation. "CALL ME. URGENT. NOW."To answer Ms. Grossman's last question, most of us with a conservative or libertarian bent have known that for quite some time. We've seen civil rights being whittled away in the halls of academia as political correctness, a fascist means of silencing dissent, has replaced the the rights delineated by the Constitution of the United States.
That was how my son informed me that not only had charges been brought against him but that he was ordered to appear to answer these allegations in a matter of days. There was no preliminary inquiry on the part of anyone at the school into these accusations about behavior alleged to have taken place a few years earlier, no consideration of the possibility that jealousy or revenge might be motivating a spurned young ex-lover to lash out. Worst of all, my son would not be afforded a presumption of innocence.
In fact, Title IX, that so-called guarantor of equality between the sexes on college campuses, and as applied by a recent directive from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, has obliterated the presumption of innocence that is so foundational to our traditions of justice. On today's college campuses, neither "beyond a reasonable doubt," nor even the lesser "by clear and convincing evidence" standard of proof is required to establish guilt of sexual misconduct.
How does this campus tribunal proceed to evaluate the accusations? Upo
n what evidence is it able to make a judgment?
The frightening answer is that like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, the tribunal does pretty much whatever it wants, showing scant regard for fundamental fairness, due process of law, and the well-established rules and procedures that have evolved under the Constitution for citizens' protection. Who knew that American college students are required to surrender the Bill of Rights at the campus gates?
We've seen free speech stifled by draconian and unconstitutional speech codes implemented by institutions of higher learning that are supposed to be fostering open and free dialogs about all subjects, great and small. There have been civil rights lawsuits filed against many of those colleges and universities to overturn those speech codes, many of those by FIRE (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). In every case that actually went to trial, the speech codes were found to be unconstitutional and were struck down by the court.
We've seen students subjected to disciplinary 'hearings' that resemble nothing more than Star Chamber inquisitions, where the only evidence of guilt is the accusation, the defendant has no right to examine or question the evidence (if there is any), and where far too often the accused will never know who it is who made the accusation. Lives and careers have been ruined by these college tribunals, based on nothing more than accusations. What's worse is that in some of these cases the local police have investigated the alleged assaults and found no evidence whatsoever to support the allegations. In some of those cases charges were filed against the accuser because the police found them to have filed a false police report. But even this was not enough to spare the accused from disciplinary actions by the colleges, up to and including expulsion. How does any of this protect women?
Much of this hostile climate on college campuses can be laid at the feet of those like Ms. Grossman, where after years of pushing women's rights and, more disturbingly, special treatment for women under the law, any male student is automatically assumed to be guilty of sexual assault, either in the past, present, or future. All male students (particularly white male students) are assumed to be rapists or potential rapists.
As more than a few of those commenting to Ms. Grossman's WSJ opinion piece, “You are reaping what ye have sown.” What would she think if what had happened to her son happened to the son of an acquaintance? Would she still have been 'aghast' at the actions of the college, or would she have figured that he got what he deserved because he must have done something? Unfortunately we may never know.
The hostile environment on college campuses may explain why fewer men are attending college.
When I was speaking to men about college for my book, I found that many did not want their names used and were afraid that there would be repercussions if their identity was known. I use the word afraid because that is what it is. Men don’t want to think of themselves as fearful, many deny that anything is happening and don’t feel the need to fight back. Instead, they stick their head in the sand and call this “bravery” or “not wanting to seem like a victim.” But they are victims of kangaroo courts and angry feminists regardless of their denial.More than a few commenters to both Grossman's piece and Dr. Helen's post linked above have noted that much of this kangaroo court mentality can also be seen during divorces when it comes to custody of any children. While custody has usually been awarded to women in the past, it has gotten far nastier over the past few decades with allegations of spousal or child abuse committed by the husband. The courts tend to take the word of the aggrieved wife, even with little, if any corroborating evidence. Too often it is up to the soon to be ex-husband to disprove the allegations, just the opposite of criminal proceedings. The standards of evidence in family court are almost as bad as those seen in the academic kangaroo courts, but the penalties are far worse.
During the 2012 election season, the Left claimed there was an ongoing War On Women. It was a lie. It has been a War On Men and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon.