On Thursday, NBC’s Megyn Kelly rightly took the Obama administration to task over the college sex bureaucracy that denied due process rights to so many men accused of sexual assault on campus. She cited a New York Times report about forthcoming rules from Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education, putting the issue in its proper context.
Kelly admitted that “back when I went to school, back in my day, … the pendulum was completely against the woman. And so there was a problem that needed solving.” She argued, however, “that the Obama administration overcorrected the problem, and swung the pendulum too far back over against the accused, completely eroding their due process rights.”
The Trump administration has attempted to reverse the Obama overreach. Under Obama, the Department of Education issued new guidance encouraging colleges to set up their own campus rape tribunals, independent of police investigation. This created a perverse “sex bureaucracy” that denied fundamental rights to those who were accused of sexual assault, on the premise that most sexual assaulters get away with their crimes.
Too often, young men have found themselves expelled or suspended, their reputations ruined, and their career prospects irreparably damaged by false accusations propped up by an unjust system. Black men have been disproportionally affected. In some cases, police later confirmed a man’s innocence, condemning the college for wrongly convicting him in the court of public opinion.
Megyn Kelly gave two concrete examples of such men who fell through the cracks.
She first mentioned Grant Neal, a student from Colorado State University-Pueblo. “Great football player, aspiring orthopedic surgeon, had a 3.7 GPA. He had a sexual relationship with a woman. She asked if he was using protection. He said no. For a couple of seconds there, it went on. They resolved the problem. They had a great night. They had another great night a couple nights later. All was great,” Kelly explained.
When the woman told her roommate about the experience later, however, “the roommate said those five seconds were a rape,” Kelly went on. “The girl said, ‘I haven’t been raped. Grant is not a rapist.'”
Even so, the university pursued Grant Neal, finding him guilty, suspending him, and barring him from returning to school until the alleged victim graduated.
“His career was ruined,” Kelly explained. “His college campus experience was ruined, his football—all of it, done. How is that fair?”
She mentioned another case, that of Caleb Warner, a former student at the University of North Dakota. “Charged with sexual assault on campus, he was found guilty by this campus tribunal of amateurs. He was expelled. Later on, he did an investigation, the police wound up charging his accuser with lying,” Kelly explained. “She fled.”
“If you get accused of sexual assault on college campus, you do not have the right to have your attorney in the proceeding with you. You have a very limited right to cross-examine your accuser. You have almost no rights of discovery, no rights to see what the woman has said in texts and so on to others,” the NBC host said. “These campuses, nine times out of ten, will not reopen the case.”
Megyn Kelly noted, “Our Constitution has a Due Process Clause.” For that reason, “you can’t swing the pendulum so far against the accused that it’s a slam dunk for the accusers.” While Kelly said she believes most women are telling the truth, “there’s a faction that are not,” and the men accused by them “need to be protected, too.”
When liberals balk at the Trump administration’s new rules, Americans need to realize the context. Betsy DeVos is trying to fix the system that Obama’s Department of Education made so unfair for men accused of sexual assault. Trump is restoring due process and the Constitution on college campuses. For that, he and DeVos deserve to be applauded.