February 19, 2015

DEFENDING DUE PROCESS: Ashe Schow: UPenn law professors speak out against new campus sexual assault policy.

Law professors at the University of Pennsylvania are not happy about the university’s new sexual assault policies, which they say undermine due process.

Nearly one-third (16 out of 49 tenured or tenure-track professors) signed a letter to school administrators denouncing the new policy, which institutionalizes the low “preponderance of evidence” standard for sexual assault allegations and disallows cross-examination of the accuser.

“Due process of law is not window dressing; it is the distillation of centuries of experience, and we ignore the lessons of history at our own peril,” the faculty members wrote. “All too often, outrage at heinous crimes becomes a justification for shortcuts in our adjudicatory processes. These actions are unwise and contradict our principles.”

The professors cite five reasons they disapprove of the new policies, including an ambiguous definition of consent, lack of due process in mostly “he said/she said” situations, the federal government’s involvement and penalties and of course the lack of due process.

Good for them.

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