October 9, 2015

ASHE SCHOW: Education Department officials’ candid acknowledgement.

For years, those opposed to campus adjudication of sexual assault have argued that the document declaring that schools must create court systems was not legally binding. It turns out Education Department officials agree.

The document, known as the “Dear Colleague” letter, was issued in 2011 and directed schools to create courts with severely limited to no due process protections for accused students. This was done supposedly in an effort to combat an “epidemic” of campus sexual assault. Schools that didn’t punish accused students — even if the evidence didn’t support the accusation — were at risk of losing government funding and threatened with federal investigations.

Those investigations almost always (except for once, to my knowledge) result in a finding that the school violated the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX, which is the basis for the Dear Colleague letter. Should a school find an accused student not responsible, the accuser would file a claim with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights and the school would be investigated.

Organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have pushed back against the Dear Colleague letter, arguing that because the document didn’t go through the proper regulatory channels, it was not legally binding. . . .

Cohn has now documented two Education Department officials who have acknowledged that the Dear Colleague letter is not legally binding. Both acknowledgements have occurred in the past few weeks.

Colleges won’t fight, though, because they’re happy to throw young men under the bus. In the War On College Men, they’ve chosen their side.

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