Sex Crimes

When Colleges Abolish Due Process in Sex Disputes, Innocent Lives Are Ruined

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Harvard
Wikimedia Commons

As a victim of Yale University's rush to abandon any pretense of fairness in sexual harassment cases, Patrick Witt has quite a sad tale to tell. The college football player, NFL hopeful, and Rhodes Scholarship candidate lost everything after Yale mishandled an informal sexual harassment accusation against him. Now Witt is a law student at Harvard University and he is worried his new college is equally committed to trampling accused students' due process rights.

Witt recently penned a column for The Boston Globe detailing the travesty of justice that ruined all his plans and put his life on hold. Relevant excerpts:

Harvard's new policies are substantially similar to those already in effect at Yale, my alma mater. While an undergraduate there, my ex-girlfriend filed an informal complaint against me with the then-newly-created University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct. The committee summoned me to appear and styled the meeting as a form of mediation. Its chairman, a professor with no prior experience handling dispute resolution, told me that I could have a faculty adviser present but no lawyer, and instructed me to avoid my accuser, who, by that point, I had neither seen nor spoken to in weeks. The committee imposed an "expectation of confidentiality" on me so as to prevent any form of "retaliation" against my accuser.

I would say more about what the accusation itself entailed if indeed I had such information. Under the informal complaint process, specific accusations are not disclosed to the accused, no fact-finding takes place, and no record is taken of the alleged misconduct. For the committee to issue an informal complaint, an accuser need only bring an accusation that, if substantiated, would constitute a violation of university policy concerning sexual misconduct. The informal "process" begins and ends at the point of accusation; the truth of the claim is immaterial.

When I demanded that fact-finding be done so that I could clear my name, I was told, "There's nothing to clear your name of." When I then requested that a formal complaint be lodged against me β€” a process that does involve investigation into the facts β€” I was told that such a course of action was impossible for me to initiate. At any time, however, my accuser retained the right to raise the complaint to a formal level. No matter, the Committee reassured me, the informal complaint did not constitute a disciplinary proceeding and nothing would be attached to my official record at Yale.

Nevertheless, Witt's employer, the Rhodes Trust, The New York Times, and the public at large eventually found out about the accusation. He was disgraced but unable to rectify the matter, since the claim was never investigated or adjudicated in any logical way. Witt's dream of playing in the NFL was crushed, he was forced to withdraw his Rhodes Scholarship candidacy, and his employment ended.

Witt warns that "the destructive power that Yale's and now Harvard's new sexual misconduct policies wield is immense and grossly underestimated." For what it's worth, 28 members of Harvard's law faculty agreeβ€”and signed a letter saying so. Sexual harassment and rape are serious issues that demand serious responses. They should not be dealt with by kangaroo courts or extra-legal inquisitions.

Read Witt's full story here.

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  1. Its chairman, a professor with no prior experience handling dispute resolution…

    Those who can, do; those who can’t, do anyway, if they’re academicians.

  2. As the luminary at Vox would say, you have to crack a few skulls to make an omelet.

  3. So was he trying to get into the NBA or the NFL?

    1. The NFL:

      “At the time the article was published, I was busy preparing for the NFL Combine, which I had been invited to as one of the top college quarterbacks in the country. Projected as a likely NFL draft pick before the accusation was made public, I went not only undrafted but completely untouched by any NFL team.”

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/opi…..nt=event25

      1. I went….completely untouched by any NFL team

        So you WANTED to be raped by a team of football players?

        Kids these days….

      2. Didn’t even get an edit note from Soave…

      3. Yeah, he’s full of shit, if he had an talent he could get caught raping a troop of girl scouts and it wouldn’t matter.

        Also, he played for Yale. He wasn’t the “top” anything.

        1. He wasn’t a top tier talent, by any stretch of the imagination. And when you’re a projected late rounder you can’t get caught doing shit.

          “Witt is the 17th-rated quarterback in this class by NFLDraftScout.com and the No. 320 prospect overall, making him a late-round pick or priority free agent. At 6-3, 220, he has good size and a record-setting resume.”

          http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/d…..-nfl-crowd

  4. Social or collective conceptions of justice Individual justice. What about that doesn’t Reason get?

    1. Syntax, for a start.

      πŸ™‚

    2. Engrish I am speak now OK guy thanks you much today!

  5. As our famous credentialist Tony would say – that professor was teaching at Yale. How could he not be qualified to adjudicate sex crimes?

    1. Yeah. The professor is really smart. He probably watches the Daily Show because smart people watch the Daily Show. Tony watches the Daily Show too. That means he’s smart because smart people watch the Daily Show.

      1. And has John Stewart covered this story? No, then clearly it’s Faux News.

        1. Fake. Skandull. FAKE.

        2. John Stewart did however cover the over-the-top GOP campaign ads warning about terrorism and ebola. No coverage of over-the-top Democrat campaign ads warning about Jim Crow, lynchings, and rape dungeons.

          1. No coverage of over-the-top Democrat campaign ads warning about Jim Crow, lynchings, and rape dungeons.

            What do you mean over-the-top? Those ads are true!

            /progderp

  6. OT: Local CBus news staion does a story on police militarization in Ohio. Gives shout out to Balko. Interesting that the agency getting the most military equipment is not Columbus, Cleveland. or Cincinnati but podunk Lima which is ridiculas. Pretty much everyone gets an MRAP though.

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/271…..ilitarized

    1. Hah. You ever been to Lima. I lived and worked there for a couple years.

      THEY NEED ALL THE ARMOR THEY CAN GET!

      Props, Lima!

      PS Mascot – the “Lima Being”, a little Lima-bean shaped stuffed toy. Cause…caring. I have a couple in my possession. #diversity

  7. So, why hasn’t this person been able to sue Yale, the members of the Committee, and his ex for defamation of character? IS there some technical reason he isn’t able to ruin them back?

    I mean, this would seem to be the answer to the spread of this kind of fundamentally unfair process; make its use so expensive in money and time that no University will touch it will an ten food pole. Or am I missing something.

    It also seems to me that he could bring charges of violation of his basic civil rights. Something of an uphill climb in this atmosphere, but a couple of credential-rich Progressive Professors in jail would be a wake up call that even the most political-correctness addled administrator would find hard to ignore.

    What am I missing?

    1. I have no idea why he hasn’t sued them. The damages for this:

      Witt’s dream of playing in the NFL was crushed, he was forced to withdraw his Rhodes Scholarship candidacy, and his employment ended.

      Would be astronomical. And his potential claims of wrongdoing multitudinous, starting with the breach of promised confidentiality.

      It happened in 2012, I gather, so he could have statute of limitations problems. But that just begs the question, if true, of why he let the statute run.

      1. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/d…..trick-witt

        He didn’t get drafted because he’s not any good. That’s why he never sued.

        1. He could still sue for loss of employment, loss of Rhodes scholarship, defamation, and discrimination under Title IX.

  8. No one white and male is innocent.

  9. This area is the one real ding on Rand Paul. Paul supported the idiotic bill to address the “sex assault” epidemic in the military, which is just this bullshit applied to the military. Shame on Paul for doing that.

  10. I was told by my feminist betters that whenever a college woman reports that she was raped, the accusation is always true. So why have due process when one can statistically prove the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt beyond a shadow of a doubt?

    1. False accusations are a cis shitlord myth.

  11. take the deep pocketed kangaroo courts to real court.

  12. How could any male not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome vote Democrat at this point? Forget what you think about taxes or abortion or any of the other issues. If you are a male, the Democratic Party wants to take away your right to a fair trial and due process protection. They want to make you a second class citizen whose rights and interests are subservient to those of women.

    1. They want to make you a second class citizen whose rights and interests are subservient to those of women.

      They have already succeeded in many areas.

      1. They have you are correct. A man voting Democrat today is like a black person voting Democrat in the Jim Crow South.

        1. They have you are correct. A man voting Democrat today is like a black person voting Democrat

          FTFY

  13. Now Witt is a law student at Harvard University and he is worried his new college is equally committed to trampling accused students’ due process rights.

    No shit? Sorry, my sympathy for those who worship the Ivy League is in short supply.

    1. Evidence he worships the Ivy League?

  14. “When I demanded that fact-finding be done so that I could clear my name, I was told, “There’s nothing to clear your name of.” When I then requested that a formal complaint be lodged against me ? a process that does involve investigation into the facts ? I was told that such a course of action was impossible for me to initiate”

    How do you initiate plagiarism charges @ Harvard? Because this is basically a ripoff of Kafka’s ‘the Trial‘.

  15. I’d say every guy that gets a text from a girl that you are thinking of breaking up with needs to file an informal complaint about her. After a 100 or so complaints are files USING THEIR RULES, maybe they will pull their heads out of their a-ses and get around to making some common since rules.

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