June 28, 2014

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: K.C. Johnson: College Attorneys Face the War on Due Process.

It should come as little surprise that in a movement so dismissive of due process that these concerns have attracted virtually no interest from either OCR or the activists. This attitude appears to have taken aback even the Democratic senators who have affiliated themselves with the issue. As FIRE’s Susan Kruth recounted, at a recent Senate roundtable on the issue, Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal wanted to know “what lawmakers can do to ensure that students’ due process rights are respected.”

The activists weren’t interested in responding to Blumenthal; Georgetown Law Research Fellow Nancy Chi Cantalupo told the senator that as long as colleges followed their own procedures, whatever they might be, the school had provided sufficient due process. Indeed, as Kruth noted, the logic of Cantalupo’s expressed support for an “even playing field” between accuser and accused would be a dispensing of the presumption of innocence—a development that has effectively occurred at many schools.In the end, unless judges intervene, the situation seems likely to get worse for due process rather than better.

If I were a college admissions officer — or treasurer — I’d be deeply troubled about how this will impact college attendance.