Bad Behavior on College Campuses Brings Advocates to Washington, DC

Don Corsaro

At first glance, the bad behavior seen on college campuses may be recognized as the protests and riots reported on news programs when some group disagrees with an invited speaker. However, the bad behavior I speak of is being perpetrated by the universities themselves. In 2011 the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) was introduced as a guideline to handle campus sexual misconduct. Many believed these guidelines forced universities to find guilty parties at all costs or risk loss of funding.

Since then the numbers of complaints from students alleging lack of due process by universities has increased exponentially. Some students felt their rights were so violated that they filed suit against universities. At last count the students are winning a sizable majority of these cases. These landmark decisions have started to pull back the veil on colleges and their misdeeds.

In 2017, Betsy DeVos became the new Secretary of the Department of Education. She heard complaints of the flawed, unjust way college campuses were handling claims of sexual misconduct. She also conducted a summit seeking feedback from all sides of the issue. What she found was a system that was not fairly serving the needs of students. After much consideration, on September 22, 2017, Secretary DeVos rescinded the DCL.

Sadly, I found myself caught in wrongful termination while previously attending Kent State University. I later learned the school’s investigator falsified evidence to justify his actions. One would think that once this was exposed, the school would take corrective action and reinstate me. No, not the case. I was just another example of collateral damage caused by one of the many universities out of control.

These types of occurrences have become far too common, reaching epidemic levels on campuses across America. I became a volunteer trying to make the process more fair with an organization called SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments). In September I traveled to Washington, DC to lobby against this injustice. We shared our stories in meetings with both Democrats and Republicans. The one common thread they ALL agreed on is the need for fairness and due process on campus.

During the event,  I was paired with one of the mothers of FACE (Families Advocating for Campus Equality). I met other mothers from every corner of the country who shared stories of universities using every outlandish tactic imaginable, causing families unbelievable amounts of pain and frequent visits to mental health professionals.

One mother described how her son was exposed to three separate campus investigations. One might call it,“Triple Jeopardy.” This young man was so emotionally damaged by these events that he was unable to function for almost five years.

Another example is Richard in Oklahoma, a 20-year Navy veteran. After his service to our country, he returned to school. He was just a few months from graduation when he was suddenly suspended. He was only told a complaint had been lodged against him for harassment. After an 11-week investigation he finally learned that a female classmate complained that he had discussed subjects of a sexual nature with her — conversations that the female herself had initiated. He later learned this student previously had falsely accused two female students of discrimination. Her past actions were never considered, and he is now in a legal battle with the school.

Other accounts can be found in the book The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr.

I know Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and Deputy of the Office of Civil Rights, Candice Jackson, have an enormous uphill path ahead. First, they must construct fair guidelines for all students. Second, how do they deal with the students who already have been abused by an unjust system?

All fair-minded Americans, regardless of party affiliation, should expect and demand fairness from the institutions receiving taxpayer money. For those of faith, we can take our requests before God and pray for our leaders and believe in miracles going forward.