Contact: Jonathon Andrews
SAVE Calls for End of Campus ‘Kangaroo Courts’
WASHINGTON / January 24, 2017 – In the wake of continuing reports of incompetence and neglect, SAVE is calling for a wide-ranging re-evaluation of the role of campus disciplinary committees in adjudicating allegations of felony-level sexual assaults.
Last week, for example, it was reported that a rape tribunal at the University of Kentucky repeatedly violated the accused student’s due process rights, leading to three appeals and three re-hearings on the case. As the process dragged on for two-years, the woman’s mental health began to deteriorate. She eventually filed a lawsuit.
In response, District Court Judge Joseph Hood issued a strongly worded ruling, suggesting the University may have acted with “deliberate indifference.” The Judge concluded, “the University bungled the disciplinary hearings so badly, so inexcusably, that it necessitated three appeals and reversals in an attempt to remedy the due process deficiencies.” These problems “profoundly affected Plaintiff’s ability to obtain an education at the University of Kentucky.” (1)
Numerous expelled students have filed lawsuits as well, charging that their former universities ignored fundamental due process protections. In 30 cases, judges have ruled at least partly in favor of the accused students (2). Many of these lawsuits arose from schools’ use of “victim-centered” investigations in which the guilt of the accused party was presumed (3).
The American public supports the need for criminal justice involvement in campus cases. One national survey found that 91% of likely voters agreed with the statement that “The justice system, not colleges, should be primarily responsible for deciding if students are guilty of sexual misconduct or assault.” (4)
Today SAVE is launching its End Kangaroo Courts campaign to assure justice and fairness for both sexual assault victims and for the accused. The campaign will consist of meetings with state lawmakers, radio interviews, a whiteboard video, and more (5). SAVE is inviting state lawmakers to introduce the Campus Equality, Fairness, and Transparency Act (CEFTA), which seeks to involve the criminal justice system in campus sex cases (6).
SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is working for practical and effective solutions to campus sexual assault: www.saveservices.org