April 30, 2014

STANDING UP AGAINST INSTITUTIONAL SEXISM: FIRE Responds to White House Task Force’s First Report on Campus Sexual Assault.

Perhaps most worryingly, the Task Force appears to be enthusiastic about essentially eliminating hearings altogether for students accused of assault and harassment. The Task Force is exploring a “single investigator” model, where a sole administrator would be empowered to serve as detective, judge and jury, affording the accused no chance to challenge his or her accuser’s testimony. Tellingly, the Task Force expresses only the most meager sense of the rights necessary to secure fundamentally fair hearings, noting that it believes the single investigator model would still “safeguard[] an alleged perpetrator’s right to notice and to be heard.”

Keep in mind that in recent years, federal agencies have already ordered a breathtaking expansion of the definition of sexual harassment that cannot be squared with Supreme Court precedent. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has also mandated the use of our nation’s lowest standard of evidence in adjudicating campus allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Compounding these troubling developments, the Task Force recommends trainings that seem more likely to prejudice investigations than to deliver an impartial hearing.

Maybe I’ll buy stock in some online education companies. This seems like it will be a boon for them.