Free Minds & Free Markets

73% of Top U.S. Universities Do Not Guarantee the Presumption of Innocence in Title IX Sexual Misconduct Trials

A new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education argues DeVos's due process reforms are urgently needed.

DeVosAmy Beth Bennett/TNS/NewscomAmong the top-ranked universities in the country, only about half require impartial fact-finders in sexual misconduct adjudication—and three-quarters make no guarantees that accused students will be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Those findings are included in a timely report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) that surveyed U.S. News & World Report's top 53 universities' due process protections for students involved in disputes relating to Title IX, the federal statute that governs campus sexual misconduct. According to FIRE, just 30 percent of the schools guaranteed accused students a hearing, and only 10 percent mandated some form of cross-examination. As a result, 86 percent of surveyed institutions received a D or F grade for failing to safeguard the civil liberties of the accused.

"Students accused of serious campus offenses routinely face life-altering punishment without a meaningful opportunity to defend themselves," said the report's lead author, Susan Kruth. "Universities need to provide basic procedural protections that help ensure accurate outcomes, and right now they overwhelmingly do not."

Accused students are often unable to meaningfully defend themselves, barred from involving lawyers in the proceedings, and forbidden from questioning their accusers or presenting evidence on their behalf. As a result, many students found responsible for sexual misconduct have filed lawsuits that allege breach of contract on the part of administrators, as well as constitutional violations. As FIRE's report notes, 11 of the 15 institutions that received an F grade have dealt with such lawsuits.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently unveiled a series of proposed reforms to Title IX that would make the process significantly fairer. These would mandate some form of cross-examination, narrow the definition of sexual harassment, and require proper training for adjudicators. They also stress that accused students must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The reforms are currently undergoing a public notice and comment period as required by law. According to FIRE's report, if the surveyed universities adopted all of the new policies, their grades would rise to at least Cs.

It's great that FIRE continues to do the important working of protecting civil liberties on campus (unlike a certain other organization that purports to defend civil liberties).

Photo Credit: Amy Beth Bennett/TNS/Newscom

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  • Longtobefree||

    Why in the world would you want these despicable rapists to have a presumption of innocence?
    The accusation alone is more than enough.

  • Trumptard||

    why would victims lie?

  • wreckinball||

    Of course they never do. I mean Mr Free starts off with the dumb fuck comment of the day.

  • Untermensch den 2||

    Oh the irony.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    J'accuse .... Longtobefree!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Leave fact-based adjudications to the criminal justice system. Universities are really only set up to handle feelings-based ones.

  • Rossami||

    I don't know. I'd probably trust a university to make a fact-based adjudication on plagiarism or cheating on a test. They just need to stick to adjudicating things that have some actual connection to their areas of competence and responsibility.

  • wreckinball||

    Don't forget food fights. Rape not so much

  • WuzYoungOnceToo||

    Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

  • E Blackadder||

    People who have nothing to hide do not need a presumption of innocence.

  • E Blackadder||

    Just ask Ibris Elba.

  • ||

    EXT. Photo shoot.

    Cameraman: Ready Idris?
    Idris: Yes but after wards I want to talk to you. I have big thoughts.
    Cameraman: Sure, Idris. But for now we just need you to stand there and look good, okay?
    Idris: I can do that!

  • wreckinball||

    Well this would be the dumb fuck post of the day if not for Mr Free's first one. Sorry honorable mention

  • E Blackadder||

    Having trouble recognizing sarcasm when you see it, aren't you?

  • Untermensch den 2||

    He's sarcasm-impaired.

  • wreckinball||

    Don't come around here much? Wait for Tony and Chem Jeff and John Galt (aka Hihn) and it will not be sarc same post

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Don't forget the Rev and his bitter clinging bigots.

  • E Blackadder||

    Maybe this will help..


    Tony, Chem Jeff, Buttplug, Hihn and the Reverend are my role models! I can only wish to match their incisive wit and Hemingway-like command of the English language!


  • MarkLastname||

    He hasn't had a sarcasm in years.

  • Brandybuck||

    More dumbing down of the English language.

    First it was Sexual Assault being redefined as quasi-synonymous with rape. As if grope were the same as a rape. But to modern college sensibilities it's the same. Which is probalby why they've also dumbed down rape so that it's no longer a vile criminal act, but merely an administrative offense that can get you expelled.

    Now I see we have "sexual misconduct". What the hell is that? Is it quasi-synonymous with sexual assault, which makes it equivalent to rape (and then punished with mere expulsion from school)?

    Boorish behavior should NOT be tolerated, but at the same time we should not be twisting our words to the point where actual rape is an political offense adjudicated by college administrators. A grope is not a rape! A joke in poor taste is not a rape!

  • Zeb||

    I think the confused meaning of sexual assault has a lot to do with how the law names things. A lot of states there is no charge called "rape", so it's somewhat understandable that it becomes conflated with rape.

    "Sexual Miconduct" is a much more dangerous weasel word, I think. It doesn't tell you whether we're talking about a rape or a rude joke or a clumsy pickup attempt.

  • ByteRot||

    You're right, of course, about Assault being caught up in legal definitions.

    The other issue that compounds is is the whole social justice memetic assertation that "language is violence". If language is violence, and assault is committing a violent act that harms another, now sexual assault can actually be that bad pickup line if you don't reassert and draw bright lines to stand firm on when it comes to language and the ideation of what violence is.

  • Gasman||

    And right down the rabbit hole we go...

    If words that make one feel bad are violence, then words alleging 'violence' are themselves violence against the accused. And thus the accuser is now the perpetrator....

  • georgeliberte||

    And how will the SJW fell if "Sexual Misconduct" comes to include homosexuality or transgenderism. It may seem unlikely at this moment, but all this seemed unlikely in the recent past.

  • Paloma||

    But baby it's cold outside

  • Sevo||

    "Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently unveiled a series of proposed reforms to Title IX that would make the process significantly fairer. These would mandate some form of cross-examination, narrow the definition of sexual harassment, and require proper training for adjudicators. They also stress that accused students must be presumed innocent until proven guilty."

    The left has gone so far out on a limb that these proposals are 'controversial', for pete's sake.

  • wreckinball||

    Up is down left is right these days.

    With all of the "Baby its Cold Outside" controversy I'm surprised they are still allowed to play "Lola"

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    It's an oldie so doesn't get enough play time to garner sufficient outrage, unlike all the frigg'n holiday ersatz

  • CDRSchafer||

    Lola is very pro-tranny unless I'm missing something.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I met her in a club down in North Soho
    Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola
    C-O-L-A cola
    She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
    I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said, "Lola"
    L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
    Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy
    But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
    Oh my Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
    Well, I'm not dumb but I can't understand
    Why she walk like a woman and talk like a man
    Oh my Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
    Well, we drank champagne and danced all night
    Under electric candlelight
    She picked me up and sat me on her knee
    And said, "Little boy won't you come home with me?"
    Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy
    But when I looked in her eyes
    Well, I…

  • Gasman||

    Weird Al does it better:

    I met him in a swamp down in Dagoba
    Where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda
    S-O-D-A, soda
    I saw the little runt sitting there on a log
    I asked him his name and in a raspy voice he said "yoda"
    Y-O-D-A, Yoda
    Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda
    Well, I've been around, but I ain't never seen
    A guy who looks like a muppet, but he's wrinkled and green
    Oh, my Yoda
    Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda
    Well, I'm not dumb, but I can't understand
    How he can lift me in the air just by raising his hand
    Oh, my Yoda
    Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda
    Well, I left home just a week before
    And I've never ever been a Jedi before
    But Obi Wan, he set me straight, of course
    He said, "Go to Yoda and he'll show you the Force"
    Well I'm not the kind that would argue with Ben

  • Furd Turgeson||

    That little fa*got got his own jet airplane

  • Dillinger||

    in December it's "Father Christmas" only ... and what the fuck happened to "Paranoia" nobody ever plays that anymore

  • Ragnarredbeard||

    More reason to have such investigations done by real law enforcement agencies.

  • wreckinball||

    The new Devos guidelines will do nothing because there is no down side for violating them. Also they are not strong enough in asserting that the police handle felony sexual assault cases not the U.

    The schools like the old rules, i.e. they are completely against due process as long as it doesn't ensnare the wrong people, that is anyone other then a straight white male.

    If they get caught the recourse is years of civil suits to get damages which the schools seem OK with. They almost always lose but its a tough process which many students can't afford to take.

    So the only way t get it to stop is to tie $$'s to it. You violate someones due process civil rights and you lose all federal funding. All it would take is one win in this arena and the game is over.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Actually, if the new regulations are passed it should make it easier for railroaded students to sue. Enouy universities start losing big money and they'll change. They care more about money then educating students anymore

  • georgeliberte||

    Most of the accused have been nonwhite males.

  • wreckinball||

    Think about it this way. How swift would the Feds swoop down if some imagined LGBT right was violated. I'll stop my stopwatch now if someone wants to try.

  • wreckinball||

    Start my stopwatch.

  • Zeb||

    That happens like 100 times a day. Shouldn't be hard to find examples.

  • wreckinball||

    Go ahead. Maybe the FIRE website has some examples?

  • Mr. JD||

    There are no universities anymore.

  • ||

    De Vos is clearly a monster and threatens all the good work put into undoing due process.

    She must be stopped.


  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Due process is so rapey

  • CDRSchafer||

    Party pooper. With progressives you get both show tunes AND show trials! What's not to love?


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