"A student's First Amendment rights do not end at the schoolhouse gates," asserts the 2016 Republican platform's section on improving higher education. The document has much to say on the subject of campus due process and free speech issues—some of it good, some of it absurdly silly.
For instance, the platform almost immediately undermines this stated commitment to free expression by condemning "the campus-based Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel" in the very next sentence.
"It is anti-Semitism and should be denounced by advocates of academic freedom," says the platform.
It certainly sounds like the authors of the GOP platform believe a student's free speech rights do end at the schoolhouse gates if said speech is critical of Israel.
Indeed, this hypocrisy is evident throughout the platform's education section. It criticizes far-left ideological indoctrination in schools—and rightly so—but simultaneously asserts that abstinence-only education should replace sex ed. It makes fun of emotional safe spaces—"safe zones"—but can't cope with opposition to the policies of the state of Israel. The Republicans don't really want to eradicate ideological bias from institutions of education: they want to replace it with the right kind of bias.
Still, the platform's section on Title IX-based sexual assault adjudication is quite strong—and blessedly free of rightwing social control:
Sexual assault is a terrible crime. We commend the good-faith efforts by law enforcement, educational institutions, and their partners to address that crime responsibly. Whenever reported, it must be promptly investigated by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge. Questions of guilt or innocence must be decided by a judge and jury, with guilt determined beyond a reasonable doubt. Those convicted of sexual assault should be punished to the full extent of the law. The Administration's distortion of Title IX to micromanage the way colleges and universities deal with allegations of abuse contravenes our country's legal traditions and must be halted before it further muddles this complex issue and prevents the proper authorities from investigating and prosecuting sexual assault effectively with due process.
I bet that most people would agree with the above paragraph: rape is a serious crime, and one that university administrators are wholly incapable of adjudicating. The federal government, however, forces universities to get involved—compromising the rights of accusers and the accused, and ensuring that actual justice remains elusive.
Overall, the 2016 platform is an incredibly flawed document that actually makes negative progress on several important fronts, particularly gay rights. But its evaluation of the campus due process landscape is downright reasonable—a testament to the enduring, destructive insanity of the Obama administration's enforcement of Title IX.