Leading Editorial Boards Endorse Reforms of Campus Sex Policies


September 13, 2017 (subsequently updated)

Editorial boards of numerous newspapers and media outlets have recently endorsed the need to reform flawed campus sexual assault policies. These statements are excerpted here:

  1. Wall Street Journal: The DeVos Guidance Speech – Sept. 7: “The result, unsurprisingly, has been a travesty of injustice, incompetence and inconsistency as schools struggled to comply. Many institutions, often small colleges with limited resources, are now engulfed in lawsuits flowing, again unsurprisingly, from these kangaroo courts.”
  2. Washington Post: Betsy DeVos’s Remarks on Campus Sex Assault Were Right on Target – Sept. 8: “At the same time, legitimate questions have been raised about whether there was an overreach by the Obama administration in its prescriptions that resulted in imbalances and injustices. Ms. DeVos, while crediting the Obama administration for bringing the issue of campus sexual assaults “into the light of day,” blasted the current system as failing both victims and the accused and being too onerous for administrators.”
  3. National Review: DeVos Takes on Lawless Campus Tribunals – Sept. 8: “The individual stories are harrowing, and DeVos provided startling examples in her speech. Schools have punished students even though the alleged “victim” claimed that nothing happened. They’ve investigated and punished professors and students for engaging in First Amendment–protected speech. They’ve refused to allow students to introduce exculpatory evidence.”
  4. Detroit News: Make Justice Goal in Campus Assault Cases – Sept. 9: “Sticking to the Constitution’s due process clause is the best way to protect both the accuser and the accused. Efforts to bend that document to favor one or the other always cheat the cause of justice….’Due process is the foundation of any system of justice that seeks a fair outcome,’ DeVos said. We agree.”
  5. Boston Globe: Revise Campus Sex Assault Policies, But Don’t Scrap Them – Sept. 9: “Victims deserve support, respect, and a clear-cut system for reporting and adjudicating their allegations. There’s no sympathy here for perpetrators of sexual assault who whine afterwards about how their lives were ruined by what amounts to their own actions. But having a tribunal of college administrators reach conclusions about what really happened late at night in a dorm room or frat house is not the best path to justice. Local law enforcement should be part of any campus policy to address sexual assault.”
  6. USA Today: Campus Rape Cases Don’t Deserve Second-Class Justice – Sept. 10: “Sexual assaults are serious crimes best handled by the criminal justice system. The most stringent punishment schools can order is expulsion…In other words, due process is not some legal technicality. It’s a matter of fairness that lies at the heart of America’s justice system.
  7. BloombergDeVos’s Right Call on Sexual Assault — Sept. 12: “Schools overreacted in ways that have disregarded basic due-process rights and made a mockery of justice….Some do not even notify students who stand accused in writing. In many cases, these due-process procedures offer less protection than those established for other types of student misconduct.”
  8. Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA): DeVos Right on Assaults – Sept. 12: “The current system too often swaps one injustice for another, replacing neglect of victims with an assumed guilt of the accused. DeVos is correct to seek a better course.”
  9. The Economist: The Trump administration’s approach to rape on campus is welcome — Sept. 14: “Because the OCR letter was sent without time for notice and comment—steps that Ms DeVos is rightly taking in revising the policies now—the letter lacked the force of law. Still, colleges were cowed into compliance after the OCR threatened to cut off federal funding to offending institutions.”
  10. Orange County Register (California): Campus Sexual Assault Policies Need Revision – Sept. 14: “Like many overzealous state interventions, the federal government’s actions were well-intentioned…But the government, and universities under its direction, have gone too far, and, as a result, threatened and violated the rights of the innocent.”
  11. San Bernardino SunCampus Sexual Assault Policies Need Revision — Sept. 14: “The current system not only violates the rights and educational opportunities of innocent students wrongfully accused, it also cheapens the plight of legitimate rape victims. There is no reason we should have to choose between protecting victims of sexual assault and contravening the rights of the accused through an unfair process.”
  12. Quad-City Times (Iowa): Leave Rape Investigations to Police – Sept. 15: In “society’s haste to rectify one injustice, a new one was created where the accused are often punished before the facts are known. Due process — a tenet of American justice — is sacrificed at the altar of expediency.”
  13. St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Like Her or Not, Betsy DeVos Made the Right Call on Campus Rape Courts – Sept. 16: “It’s been all too convenient in the past for universities to encourage rape victims to keep their complaints quiet and allow a disciplinary panel to resolve the matter. Seemingly sympathetic counselors will warn victims about the invasiveness of a police investigation and the likelihood that the victim’s past sexual history would be brought up in a court proceeding.”