Modern Day Salem Witch Trials

The ongoing battle on college campuses between those who fervently believe there is an epidemic or rape and those who are firm believers in the rights enumerated in the Constitution rages on.

It seems that ever decade or so some new social evil comes to light that must be addressed “by any means necessary” and the usual suspects – our so-called Social Justice Warriors – go into full combat mode. This in and of itself is not the problem and never has been. It is the “by any means necessary” mindset that takes them down the wrong path.

We've seen examples of this over the past 323 years just in America, the first being the Salem Witch trials starting in 1692. Hundreds were accused during the hysteria and 20 were put to death. Then there was the Red Scare in the 1950's where innocent and guilty alike were accused, blacklisted, and in some cases, imprisoned. Then there were the daycare child abuse witch hunts in the 1980's and early 1990's that destroyed reputations and sent innocent people to prison.

And what do we see today? The Campus Rape Culture where the Social Justice Warriors claim that 1 out of every 5 women will be sexually assaulted on college campuses even though the study cited as proof doesn't claim that. (Most people misread or chose to ignore the study's authors' disclaimer about drawing any conclusions based upon their study because the respondents were self-selecting and the number of respondents was small.) What's worse is that a bureaucrat within the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights took it upon herself to issue a directive – the so-called “Dear Colleague letter – that instructed our institutions of higher learning to start trying and convicting more students of sexual assault or lose federal funding.

It was a call for a modern day witch hunt, something right out of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. All that was required was the allegation. No proof. Little or no investigation, and any 'investigation' was performed by someone not competent to do so, and in many cases, by someone who would also stand in judgment of the accused. No right to legal counsel. No right to cross-examine witnesses or the accuser. And worst of all, in many cases no right to even know what charges were being brought against them or by whom. But it led to numerous suspensions and expulsions, something the colleges and universities to point to and tell the OCR that they were now doing something about the 'problem'.

What made this even worse is that the definition of sexual assault was so broad on many campuses as to be meaningless. But it made it easier to accuse and convict all of the rapists running around on campus.

What's ironic is that this Department of Education bureaucrat had no power to issue the directive, no actual means of enforcing it, and didn't care that it was not within the scope of Title IX, outside the Department of Education's charter, and thoroughly ignored the Bill of Rights. But that didn't stop colleges from running their tribunals and kangaroo courts and convicting students, male students, based purely on accusations and very poor definitions of sexual assault. This same bureaucrat is also responsible for the growing total of lawsuits against colleges and damages being paid out to many of these 'convicted sexual assailants' because of the hostile and prejudicial tribunals that violated due process and damaged the reputations of these students.

Even the few cases where these tribunals found the accused was not culpable, the accused student was still harassed, libeled and slandered as a rapist, which made continuing their studies difficult, if not impossible. Call it the “Guilty until proven innocent, and even then still guilty” mentality that pervades many campuses.

With time this latest witch hunt will end, leaving behind large numbers of innocent victims and destroying any trust between students and college administrators as well seriously dampening trust between the male and female students on campus. Eventually another round of hysteria will bring about yet another witch hunt and the cycle will start all over again.