Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, [said] campus policies aren’t going far enough to protect students. “Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?” Childress asked at the panel, before noting that while 2 to 8 percent of accusations are unfounded (but not necessarily intentionally false), 90 to 95 percent are unreported, committed by repeat offenders, and intentional. “It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students. And higher education is not a right. Safety is a right. Higher education is a privilege.”
Thankfully, there was a real lawyer present: “I think the ability of our communities to rely on the processes on both sides of the equation is inextricably connected to a fair, equitable process that is thorough and based on evidence, not just conjecture, speculation and rumor,” said Gina Smith, a partner at Pepper Hamilton Law Firm who consults with campuses on how best to address sexual assault and comply with federal laws. “We cannot in individual cases just punt to statistics.”
For the record, Ms. Smith summed up the philosophy of this blog. Childress’s comment is something we are seeing with alarming frequency among feminist writers: there is no necessity to worry about the wrongly accused because there are so few of them. The chilling suggestion is that we can adjudicate a specific case based on statistics — since it rarely happens, due process is unnecessary.