The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
The view endorsed by Rep. Jared Polis (this passage apparently both as to public universities and private universities, start at 1:57:28):
It seems like we ought to provide more of a legal framework, then, that allows a reasonable likelihood standard or a preponderance of evidence standard [for deciding whether to expel college students accused of sex offenses]. If there are 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We're not talking about depriving them of life or liberty, we're talking about them being transferred to another university, for crying out loud.
This passage was followed by applause from the crowd.
Now I should say that there are certain positions where indeed a whiff of suspicion might be enough to get someone removed. I just hadn't thought that being a college student would or should be one of them.
And that's especially so when the policy is defended on the grounds that the students will just go to another university. The innocent expelled students would have their education badly disrupted and delayed. But the guilty students would, by hypothesis, just be at another university, where they'll be able to attack their classmates (just a different set of classmates).
Indeed, if University A expels 10 students on this ground and they'll go to University B, while University B expels 10 students on this ground and they'll go to University A ("we're talking about them being transferred to another university, for crying out loud"), the actual rapists will just be shuffled around from place to place, so neither university will get safer. And the wrongly accused (by hypothesis, eight or nine of them, compared to one or two correctly accused) will pay the cost.
Of course, perhaps Congressman Polis's defense of the argument would be that maybe the expelled students from University A won't be able to easily get admitted to University B, because University B will see the black mark on their records—even if the black mark is just "was suspected of sexual assault, but was never found likely to be guilty"—and refuse to admit the students. But then "we're talking about them being transferred to another university, for crying out loud" wouldn't be a very accurate defense of the policy, would it?