Sexual misconduct on college campuses needs to be treated seriously. However, some believe that care only applies to the would-be victims.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order that could reverse due process protections to students accused of sexual misconduct, the Post Millenial reported. Former President Donald Trump was instrumental in making sure the accused students had the same recourse under the law as in the U.S. justice system.
The executive order signed on International Women’s Day directed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to review a Trump-era Title IX rule meant to ensure due process for the accused. The rule enjoyed popularity when Trump enacted it in 2020, but Democrats had it in their sights ever since.
“Too many students have lost access to their education because their school inadequately responded when a student filed a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault,” then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had said last year. “This new regulation requires schools to act in meaningful ways to support survivors of sexual misconduct, without sacrificing important safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent process.”
The problem first arose when former President Barack Obama used Title IX, which was meant to prevent sex-based discrimination, to shape the way sexual assault cases were treated on campus, according to Fox News. Rather than use standards similar to the U.S. justice system that require at least a preponderance of evidence, the standard was simply that an incident occurred “more likely than not” — and that had a devastating impact on accused students.
Rather than seeing this as a commonsense approach to the problem, opponents declared these measures unfairly supportive of “perpetrators.” It’s clear that was the perspective Biden took when implementing the new order.
“The full participation of all people–including women and girls–across all aspects of our society is essential to the economic well-being, health, and security of our nation and of the world. This is a matter of human rights, justice and fairness,” Biden’s executive order said. “It is also critically important to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth, increasing access to education, improving health outcomes, advancing political stability, and fostering democracy.”
The emphasis is on the supposed victims of the crime to the detriment of those accused. Nobody denies that people who commit sexual assault and other crimes should be appropriately punished. However, denying due process to the accused is dangerously destructive and antithetical to the philosophies and protections that underpin the American justice system.