Contact: Teri Stoddard
Campus Justice Coalition Seeks to Restore Fairness in Campus Sex Cases
WASHINGTON / July 30, 2014 – Representatives of sexual assault victims, the accused, and universities have come together to establish the Campus Justice Coalition. The Coalition will seek to achieve legislative change to assure the proper handling of sexual assault cases on college campuses.
Campus sex committees have been criticized for being poorly trained, under-resourced, and lacking the legal authority to impose meaningful sanctions. Rape is a crime, but the campus boards possess legal authority to only expel, not imprison the perpetrator.
The current system was established by a 2011 Department of Education regulation which shifted the resolution process to campus disciplinary panels, and eliminated a number of due process safeguards. Under current policies, neither the identified victim or the accused person are allowed to be represented by an attorney.
Following imposition of the federal mandate, numerous complaints and lawsuits have been filed by victims, and by men claiming they were wrongfully expelled: http://www.saveservices.org/wp-content/uploads/Campus-Sexual-Assault-Lawsuits.pdf
Basketball star Dez Wells was expelled from Xavier University in Ohio on allegations of non-consensual sex. The County prosecutor termed the expulsion “fundamentally unfair” and “seriously flawed.” In April the University paid an undisclosed amount, likely exceeding $1 million, to the former student: http://mynorthwest.com/33/2506222/Basketball-star-Wells-settles-suit-against-Xavier
Two weeks ago the University of Connecticut agreed to pay $900,000 to a student who was raped in August 2011. Despite the existence of the new federal policy, the university mishandled her complaint, and the alleged rapist never faced criminal charges: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/07/21/u-connecticut-pay-13-million-settle-sexual-assault-lawsuit#sthash.xJR5NBcw.dpbs
“The shadow-system of justice has betrayed victims and the accused, and has put universities in an impossible situation,” notes Campus Justice Coalition spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Sexual assault cases require the full resources of the criminal justice system, not a sorry replay of vigilante justice meted out by untrained amateurs.”
More information on the Campus Justice Coalition can be seen here: http://www.saveservices.org/camp/campus-justice-coalition/