College sexual assault victims up in arms over new guidelines granting more rights to accused

"It's better that 99 guilty men go free than one innocent man go to jail."  That used to be liberal dogma and was used to justify granting ever more rights to the accused.

But that standard was thrown out the window on many college campuses when it came to sexual assault cases.  Obama-era rules tipped the scales of justice heavily in favor of victims – whether they were truly victims or not.

No one kept track the last few years of how many men were falsely accused of rape or sexual assault and had their lives ruined by being kicked out of school or even put on trial.  Many have sued.  The fact is, many colleges have policies that violate simple rules of due process, leaving the accused with little or no defense.

Education secretary Betsy DeVos decided earlier this year to repeal the Obama-era guidelines that tilted the scales of justice heavily in favor of the accusers in sexual assault and rape cases.  This has set off a chorus of complaints from victims and victims' rights groups with the usual exaggerations.

USA Today:

"Is ruining lives your version of a back-to-school welcome?" Morgan McCaul, a survivor of sexual abuse by former MSU doctor Larry Nassar, tweeted as reports of the potential changes broke this week.

"When we define policy about criminal sexual misconduct, it is imperative that we consider victims first," she told the Detroit Free Press later.  "Limiting the availability of justice for complainants is concerning and reckless, especially in today's climate."

What changes is DeVos actually proposing?

The proposed changes, from the federal Department of Education led by Betsy DeVos, would limit colleges to investigating only those sex assaults that happen on campus.  Assaults that occur just off campus, in places like fraternity houses or off-campus housing, no longer would be investigated by the institutions.

They will be investigated by police, who should have been investigating the charges all along.

The changes, first reported by the New York Times, would narrow the definition of sexual harassment and let the accused and accuser cross-examine each other.

The outrage!  Oh, the humanity!  Simple, basic rules of due process should not be tossed away simply because victims are traumatized.

The changes would also have the department's Office for Civil Rights use a higher legal standard to determine whether a college violated Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination at an educational institution based on sex, including sexual harassment, assault or rape.

"The lack of clear regulatory standards has contributed to processes that have not been fair to all parties involved, that have lacked appropriate procedural protections, and that have undermined confidence in the reliability of the outcomes of investigations of sexual-harassment allegations," the draft from the Department of Education says, according to the New York Times.

This is a clear improvement if you value equal protection under the law and upholding due process rights.  I'm sorry for sexual assault victims who have to deal with the legal procedures and implications of their accusations.  You wish they could be spared the pain.  But the lives of two people are involved in these cases, not one.  It has been an outrageous miscarriage of justice to allow accusations of sexual assault and even rape to end up railroading male students out of school when basic legal protections have been denied them.

It's sad that whether these changes are implemented or not, they won't stop men from assaulting or raping women, or women making false accusations for any reason against men.  The changes also won't affect that gray area in interpersonal relations between men and women where misunderstandings and poor communication can lead to "he said, she said" legal situations.  All these changes do is try to level the legal playing field so the rights of both the accused and the accuser are protected.

"It's better that 99 guilty men go free than one innocent man go to jail."  That used to be liberal dogma and was used to justify granting ever more rights to the accused.

But that standard was thrown out the window on many college campuses when it came to sexual assault cases.  Obama-era rules tipped the scales of justice heavily in favor of victims – whether they were truly victims or not.

No one kept track the last few years of how many men were falsely accused of rape or sexual assault and had their lives ruined by being kicked out of school or even put on trial.  Many have sued.  The fact is, many colleges have policies that violate simple rules of due process, leaving the accused with little or no defense.

Education secretary Betsy DeVos decided earlier this year to repeal the Obama-era guidelines that tilted the scales of justice heavily in favor of the accusers in sexual assault and rape cases.  This has set off a chorus of complaints from victims and victims' rights groups with the usual exaggerations.

USA Today:

"Is ruining lives your version of a back-to-school welcome?" Morgan McCaul, a survivor of sexual abuse by former MSU doctor Larry Nassar, tweeted as reports of the potential changes broke this week.

"When we define policy about criminal sexual misconduct, it is imperative that we consider victims first," she told the Detroit Free Press later.  "Limiting the availability of justice for complainants is concerning and reckless, especially in today's climate."

What changes is DeVos actually proposing?

The proposed changes, from the federal Department of Education led by Betsy DeVos, would limit colleges to investigating only those sex assaults that happen on campus.  Assaults that occur just off campus, in places like fraternity houses or off-campus housing, no longer would be investigated by the institutions.

They will be investigated by police, who should have been investigating the charges all along.

The changes, first reported by the New York Times, would narrow the definition of sexual harassment and let the accused and accuser cross-examine each other.

The outrage!  Oh, the humanity!  Simple, basic rules of due process should not be tossed away simply because victims are traumatized.

The changes would also have the department's Office for Civil Rights use a higher legal standard to determine whether a college violated Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination at an educational institution based on sex, including sexual harassment, assault or rape.

"The lack of clear regulatory standards has contributed to processes that have not been fair to all parties involved, that have lacked appropriate procedural protections, and that have undermined confidence in the reliability of the outcomes of investigations of sexual-harassment allegations," the draft from the Department of Education says, according to the New York Times.

This is a clear improvement if you value equal protection under the law and upholding due process rights.  I'm sorry for sexual assault victims who have to deal with the legal procedures and implications of their accusations.  You wish they could be spared the pain.  But the lives of two people are involved in these cases, not one.  It has been an outrageous miscarriage of justice to allow accusations of sexual assault and even rape to end up railroading male students out of school when basic legal protections have been denied them.

It's sad that whether these changes are implemented or not, they won't stop men from assaulting or raping women, or women making false accusations for any reason against men.  The changes also won't affect that gray area in interpersonal relations between men and women where misunderstandings and poor communication can lead to "he said, she said" legal situations.  All these changes do is try to level the legal playing field so the rights of both the accused and the accuser are protected.