A female University of Florida student accused a male football player of sexual assaulting her. But she boycotted the subsequent Title IX investigation, because she believes the man in charge of it—a former assistant state attorney and donor to the football team—is biased against her.
An Inside Higher Ed news story suggests that this might be a problem—mostly be interviewing victims' advocates who think that it is. "I don't think it's that hard to find someone who is qualified that isn't also biased, yet it is a common issue that arises," activist Laura Dunn, of SurvJustice, told Inside Higher Ed.
Is an attorney who clearly loves Florida football equipped to adjudicate a sexual assault accusation against a football player? Of course not. I'll go further than Inside Higher Ed here. It's not that this could be a problem. It's absolutely a problem. The former assistant state attorney, Jake Shickel, should not be deciding the case.
But Title IX officials shouldn't be deciding it, either. Why is it that victims' advocates easily grasp that an athletic booster could be biased in favor of the accused, but fail to see that university bureaucrats with obvious connections to leftist-feminist groups are similarly inclined toward a kind of bias—the "believe all victims" kind—against the accused?
Campus sexual assault victims deserve fairness, justice, competent legal representation, and an impartial judge. Accused students deserve the exact same thing. But there's no way either of these groups will consistently enjoy the due process rights to which they are entitled when the university is judge, jury, and executioner.
That's not theoretical: we see case after case in which a university initiated Title IX proceedings against a student, deprived him of his due process rights, and harshly punished him—because the university was under public pressure to do so. We have also seen plenty of cases of universities mistreating sexual assault victims and covering up a perpetrator's wrongdoing in an effort to avoid bad publicity.
We shouldn't be naïve about the criminal justice system: there are plenty of biased prosecutors, judges, and juries as well. And that's a problem. But campus judicial systems don't just have problems—the way they operate is wholly flawed, and an insult to basic principles of justice.
So yes, victims' advocates are right: sports boosters should not adjudicate campus rape cases. Title IX officials shouldn't either, and for the same reasons: obvious bias, and a farcical approach to due process.