The Chronicle quotes New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand celebrating the revised version of the Campus Safety and Accountability Act (CASA), introduced last week, on a an expanded bi-partisan basis (up from eight co-sponsors to twelve), to the Senate. Rejoiced Gillibrand, “”The bill actually has clarified rights for the accused,” since the current system “doesn’t serve the accused.”That's enough to make my point.
The celebration of fairness for the accused seems a little out of place for Gillibrand. After all, this is a senator who in two official statements posted on her website referred to a resident of her state as a “rapist,” even though the affected student, Paul Nungesser, had been found not-culpable by Columbia and was not even charged by police. Clearly Gillibrand’s definition of due process differs from that of, say, a typical civil libertarian.
In any case, FIRE’s Joe Cohn took a look at the bill. In 51 pages, it contains a mere two references to due process for the accused. Here’s Cohn: the bill “provides both students with notice of the charges and sufficient time to ‘meaningfully exercise the due process rights afforded to them under institutional policy.’” The phrase meaningfully exercise isn’t defined. This is what Senator Gillibrand thinks is a good deal for the accused.
The bill also repeatedly refers to students who level allegations of sexual assault as “victim” or “victims”—even though, of course, at a pre-adjudication stage there’s only an accuser or an alleged victim, not a victim. For instance, here’s how the bill describes rights afforded to the accuser in the original intake interview: “The victim shall be given the option to have the interview recorded and to receive a copy of the recorded interview.” How did the senators decide the accuser was already a “victim”? Did they use the Gillibrand rule, that accusers must be assumed to be truthful?
The bill also seeks to mandate colleges creating a “confidential advisor” for the “victim”—again, presuming that the accuser is automatically a victim—while ordering no comparable personnel assistance for the accused.
Monday, March 09, 2015
When "Fair" Is Inconvenient To The Narrative
Why do some women hate men so much that they're willing to deny them constitutional rights?