Sen. Bernie Sanders recently indicated he believes that sexual assault is a criminal matter best left to the police rather than university administrators. This distinguishes him from his rival, Hillary Clinton, who has vowed to combat student-on-student sexual assault in ways that would inevitably be less friendly toward accused students' rights.
There's another leading 2016 candidate whose stance on campus rape is worse than Sanders'—and he is a Republican: Sen. Marco Rubio.
Indeed, Rubio is a co-sponsor of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which would codify into federal law several of Title IX's most oppressive dictates. As The Washington Post's George Will put it:
By co-sponsoring S. 590, Rubio is helping the administration sacrifice a core constitutional value, due process, in order to advance progressives' cultural aggression. The next Republican president should be someone committed to promptly stopping this disgrace, not someone who would sign S. 590's affirmation of it.
The Washington Examiner's Ashe Schow attempted to get to the bottom of Rubio's support for CASA and discovered that the simplest answer was the right one: he just doesn't care very much about due process on campus. Schow writes:
Rubio is the only GOP candidate that has seemingly taken a stance on this issue – and it is a bad one. He has co-sponsored a bill that codifies into law the overreach of the Education Department and ensures that accused students will not have a fair hearing. After the Campus Accountability and Safety Act was introduced in 2014, I sent questions to the sponsors of the bill asking about due process protections for accused students.
Rubio's office was one of the few that responded. His spokesman told me: "This bill does not address this issue" when asked about due process. …
In a statement from Rubio's press secretary Brooke Sammon, I was told that the Florida senator signed on to the bill in order to make it better. …
There's some words of encouragement there from a potential President Rubio, but the claim that CASA is "a starting point" still leaves me with a pit in my stomach. It is not "a starting point," because it will never be fixed if passed. Politicians will pat themselves on the back for having done something, and won't fix the numerous dangerous problems created by the bill.
Schow is right. Signing CASA into law would likely go a long way toward thwarting any possible reform of the Title IX in the future. It's a shame that on an issue so important to civil libertarians, both Rubio and Clinton—the two most plausible presidential nominees (Donald Trump and Ted Cruz notwithstanding)—largely agree that the federal government has a role to play in requiring college administrators to deny due process rights to students accused of sexual assault.