Contact: Gina Lauterio
Lawmakers Double-Down on Campus Due Process Abuses
WASHINGTON / March 14, 2016 – In an effort to restore due process rights on campuses, state and federal lawmakers have taken determined steps in recent weeks to press college administrators and a federal oversight agency to uphold constitutionally based rights for students accused of sexual assault.
In the most dramatic development, Georgia Rep. Earl Ehrhart, chairman of the House appropriations committee, disapproved a $47 million funding request for Georgia Tech University over due process concerns for accused students.
Ehrhart then called out the Georgia Tech administrators. “The president and the administration are just clueless when it comes to due process on that campus and protecting all those kids. If I have to talk to another brokenhearted mother about their fine son where any allegation is a conviction and they toss these kids out of school after three and a half years, sometimes just before graduation, it’s just tragic,” Ehrhart charged (1).
At the federal level, criticisms were voiced during the course of two hearings in which Department of Education secretary-designate John King provided testimony.
At an Appropriations Committee hearing this past Thursday, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee repeatedly confronted King with the fact that his department was threatening colleges with loss of federal funding if they did not comply with a 2011 “guidance” document (2).
During a previous hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina voiced concerns that the Department of Education has issued sexual assault directives with “potential negative impact on students and institutions.” She then requested that King provide written answers to nine questions about the department’s policy-making procedures (3).
On March 4, James Lankford of Oklahoma, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, sent a strongly worded letter to the John King. The letter charged, “OCR’s silence on important due process considerations, coupled with the requirement of a lower standard of proof, indisputably tips the playing field against the accused, making the disciplinary process anything but ‘equitable.’” (4)
More information about executive over-reach by the federal Office for Civil Rights can be found on the SAVE website (5).
SAVE is working for evidence-based, constitutionally sound solutions to campus sexual assault: www.saveservices.org