News & Politics

Due Process for Sexual Assault Charges Is Returning to Georgia Campuses

No one wants to see rapists walk free, except maybe for the rapists. This is something we can all agree on. But we have a judicial system based on due process to ensure everyone has their rights protected.

However, under an Obama administration directive, Title IX has been used to bypass the rights of men accused of sexual assault on college campuses. Now, the University System of Georgia is implementing rule changes that will undo that travesty. From The College Fix:

The Georgia Board of Regents voted earlier this month to streamline reporting and investigation of sexual-misconduct claims across the public university system.

In cases that could result in suspension or expulsion, colleges will have to notify the university system itself. Accused students will get written notice of the complaint and allegations and the right to remain silent “without an adverse inference resulting,” among other safeguards.

Under the regents’ new changes, the university system will provide its own investigators to colleges as needed and Title IX investigators will report directly to college presidents and the system’s top lawyer. All student conduct allegations, rape included, will be handled under the same procedures.

Accused students will have three business days to respond to allegations in writing and lay out their defense, while accusing students will have the same time period “to respond to or to supplement the notice.”

Though students will still not be able to directly cross-examine each other, the rules instruct hearing officers or panels to ask each party’s questions to the other and witnesses.

They shall “limit questions only if they are unrelated to determining the veracity of the charge” and “err on the side of asking all submitted questions,” with written explanations for why they did not ask “any particular questions.”

As a Georgia resident, this pleases me. Especially since this is the college system my son will most likely be attending when he graduates from high school next year. One of my great fears was him entering an environment where his life could be destroyed based on a false accusation.

State Representative Earl Ehrhart has been spearheading these changes in Georgia, and he’s pleased with these developments. Ehrhart notes that there are more reforms sitting before the Georgia General Assembly to be considered, and I hope they roll through easily enough.

These reforms seek justice. Punish the guilty, protect the innocent. That’s how it should always work, and I’m proud of my home state for making a positive move in that direction.