This August, Columbia University released a new policy for handling “gender-based” misconduct among students. Since April, universities around the country have been rewriting their guidelines after a White House task force urged them to do more to fight sexual assault. I was curious to know what a lawyer outside the university system would make of one of these codes. So I sent the document to Robin Steinberg, a public defender and a feminist.This isn't the first time someone who should know better finds the rules being put forth due to pressure from the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights violate long established constitutional protections. The college procedures are tantamount to kangaroo courts where the verdict is already known before any formal hearings have taken place and the accused has no right to defend himself, to view any evidence, or question the accuser or any witnesses.
A few hours later, Steinberg wrote back in alarm. She had read the document with colleagues at the Bronx legal-aid center she runs. They were horrified, she said—not because Columbia still hadn’t sufficiently protected survivors of assault, as some critics charge, but because its procedures revealed a cavalier disregard for the civil rights of people accused of rape, assault, and other gender-based crimes. “We are never sending our boys to college,” she wrote.
Columbia’s safeguards for the accused are better than most. For instance, it allows both accuser and accused to have a lawyer at a hearing, and, if asked, will locate free counsel. By contrast, Harvard, which issued a new code in July, holds investigations but not hearings and does not offer to obtain independent legal assistance. But Steinberg, like most people, hadn’t realized how far the rules governing sexual conduct on campus have strayed from any commonsense understanding of justice.
Now that the cognoscenti are becoming aware of the unconstitutional madness that is infesting college campuses across the nation, I have a feeling more of them are going to be rethinking their donations and endowments to their alma mater. I think they will come to believe as I and many others that sending your children to college is tantamount to child abuse.
Will it end the madness? Not any time soon. As long as the Obamabots still fill many of the positions within the various levels of the administration, it will continue. Or worse, someone will end up seriously hurt or dead due to the Dear Colleague letter and the push by the White House to solve a problem that doesn't really exist. College administrators and government officials behind this will need to go to prison before this idiocy ends. Or colleges will have to see enrollment drop off and the tuition funds that go with them disappear before they realize they went along with this witch hunt (that's what it is, after all) and it's going to cost them millions in lost revenues. Heck, some might even have to close their doors. They certainly won't be the first to have done so.