Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is This Really The Kind Of Society In Which We Want To Live?

When one class of people has more protection under the law, when one group of people is automatically assumed by law to be a suspect class, there lie problems:
In the rush to advance legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses, California lawmakers have cast aside the due process rights of the accused. As a result, more college men could find themselves unfairly branded as rapists.

On Monday, the California Assembly overwhelmingly passed S.B. 967, a bill that would apply a uniform definition of sexual consent to all colleges and universities that receive state funds.

The law is being pitched as a way to ensure the safety of college students. But instead of merely making sure that all accusations of rape are treated seriously, it creates a standard that stacks the deck against the accused.
For those of you for whom this type of information is important, the author is a woman--not that that matters to reasonable people without an agenda.

Update:  Stupid, unfair, and unconstitutional rules which are applied mostly against men will disappear almost overnight if they start being applied against women:
On June 9, 2014, the female student in question was visiting with friends in UO’s Carson Hall dormitory. According to the student, looking out of the dormitory window, she spotted a male and female student walking together (she did not know either of them) and shouted “I hit it first” at them in jest. The female of the couple responded with two profanities and the couple reported the student’s comment to the Resident Assistant of the dorm. The Resident Assistant located the student and insisted that she apologize to the couple for her remark. The student readily obliged.

That did not end the matter, however. On June 13, the student was shocked to receive a “Notice of Allegation” letter charging her with five separate conduct violations for her four-word joke. In addition to dubious allegations of violating the residence hall’s noise and guest policies, UO charged the student with “[h]arassment,” “disruption,” and “[d]isorderly conduct.” After being presented with these outrageous and unconstitutional charges, the student contacted FIRE.

FIRE wrote to UO President Michael Gottfredson on August 1, demanding that the charges against the student be dropped. FIRE also called on UO to revise its unconstitutional speech codes—in particular, the harassment policy under which it charged the student. That policy contains unconstitutionally broad and vague prohibitions on “[u]nreasonable insults,” “gestures,” and  “abusive words” that may cause “emotional distress” to others, subjecting UO students to punishment for any expression deemed subjectively distressing. FIRE’s letter explained that Oregon courts have struck down state harassment laws containing similar prohibitions.
If you're going to support the "disparate impact" argument regarding race and education, law enforcement, etc, you can't look away when there's a disparate impact against a group or class just because you don't want to see them as victims.


maxutils said...

What do you mean by 'one class of people' having more rights than another ... I actually no what you mean, but the legislation appears to be gender neutral.

I'm not tremendously worried about this, because sexual assult is a criminal matter: you don't get to have 'preonderance of the evidence, you have 'beyond a reasonable doubt..' And, if the defenses is that I was too drunk to know what I was doing, how credible is that testimony, anyway?

Lastly, it doesn't solve any freaking problem. If the woman say no, you're done. But if she doesn't, then you still have a he said-shesaid case ...just like we do now.


Darren said...

In *criminal* cases, "beyond a reasonable doubt" would be the standard used. But we're talking about university disciplinary cases, where Dear Leader and his Dept of Education are pushing for the "preponderance of evidence" standard.

I have posted on this topic frequently lately. This ground has been covered.

maxutils said...

You have, and you're right ... my point was merely that the accused, were he to be tossed out, (there I go ...assuming the one refusing to consent was the guy) would have legal recourse against the university ...much as the Duke lacrosse players did. Still sucks for him, but if enough lawsuits are filed, the policy will go away. But, it's asinine, as you have posted ... the only way to prove yourself innocent is a signed contract, which I guarantee would kill the mood ... and even then the victim could claim she was either too drunk to understand, or that she had not hired counsel to fully understand the stipulations of the contract ...Nothing has been solved here. Expecting drunk college kids not to have sex is ridiculous from the get-go.

Anonymous said...

Max: "I'm not tremendously worried about this, because sexual assult is a criminal matter: you don't get to have 'preonderance of the evidence, you have 'beyond a reasonable doubt..'"

Max, the law is here:

Note, as an example, this: "A policy that, in the evaluation of complaints in any disciplinary process, it shall not be a valid excuse..."

The disciplinary process takes place at the college/university level and is *NOT* a criminal proceeding. The school can't put anyone in jail. The school *can*, however, kick folks out. And the standards for evidence/representation/guilt are whatever the school wants.

The basic idea here is that most of these are *NOT* currently being treated as criminal matters (partially because so many cases are "he said, she said" and thus can't be won). This law requires the schools taking state money to set up some system for non-criminal investigation combined with school imposed discipline ... pretty much because they aren't getting enough criminal trials and convictions with things as they currently stand.

-Mark Roulo

maxutils said...

Mark, I've read the bill, and you are correct: however, a school which bases disciplinary action adverse to a student based on false testimony faces civil consequences from the disciplined one ... my point being that it would only take a couple of times before schools began to be more careful.