February 4, 2012

PETER BERKOWITZ: Sex Smears And The Rule of Law at Yale. More of the former than the latter, alas. “If Yale and other institutions across the country were fulfilling their promise to educate students, then their faculties would teach that riding roughshod over due process shows ignorance of or contempt for the rule of law. Professors would be teaching that the presumption of innocence is rooted in a commitment to treating individuals as ends in themselves and not as a means to advancing some social goal or another, even if that goal is given the name of equality or justice. And students would be learning that our established and legitimate justice system does not presume guilt, because to do so is to fail to appreciate the limits of human knowledge and the propensity of those who wield power to abuse it. The need to restore due process on campus—and in the directives of the federal government—is urgent.”

UPDATE: Reader John Lucas writes: “A red light violator facing a $50 fine gets more due process than a student at Yale (or most other universities) now.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dave Ivers writes: “I’ve wondered what would happen if every male athlete at Yale looked around a classroom and noticed a young woman looking at them and than filed an ‘informal’ complaint. Under the Yale rules that ‘looking’ at well-built athletes could be a sexual crime. Since the athletes don’t know for sure, shouldn’t they file to protect themselves and then get victim status?”

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