PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Wendy McElroy, 301-801-0608, wmcelroy@saveservices.org

ACADEMIA REBELS AGAINST THE PRESUMPTION OF GUILT FOR MEN

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 / U.S. Newswire / — Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is calling on the U.S. Department of Education to rescind a controversial directive. The new DED rule forces persons to abandon their due process rights to get an education. Such persons are considered “guilty until proven innocent” whenever an on-campus sexual accusation occurs.

On April 4, the DED Office of Civil Rights instructed every university that accepts federal funds to use a “preponderance (51%) of evidence” standard in evaluating allegations of sexual offense, including rape. An accuser only needs to ‘tip the scales’ for a professor or student to be found “guilty.”

But the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is now objecting. The group wants sexual accusations to be judged by a higher standard than traffic courts use for parking tickets.

On June 27, Gregory Scholtz, AAUP’s Director of the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance wrote to DED to protest the “lower standard of proof” that threatens “academic freedom and tenure.”

Then on August 18, AAUP’s Chair of the Committee on Women expressed concern about the “potential for accusations, even false ones, to ruin a faculty member’s career.” Backlash from two separate units of the AAUP is remarkable. Their recognition of false accusations is extraordinary.

“People lie for many reasons including revenge and shame; people also make mistakes. This is why courts presume an accused to be innocent and place the burden of proof on the accuser,” explains SAVE spokesman Phil Cook. “Hard evidence and due process are all the more important in sexual cases that often devolve to ‘he said, she said.’”

As a result of the DED directive, campuses are already beginning to reverse the presumption of innocence. Based on questionable data, men are assumed to be predators and women are said to “never lie” about issues like rape.  By lowering the standards of justice, the OCR is encouraging false accusations.

SAVE applauds the AAUP for its courage in demanding the OCR rescind its April 4th mandate. SAVE urges college student parents to contact the Department of Education to demand for due process for all.

The SAVE letter to the Department of Education can be seen here: http://www.saveservices.org/wp-content/uploads/OCRLetter.pdf. SAVE is a national victim advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence.