PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Chris Perry

Telephone: 301-801-0608

Email: cperry@saveservices.org

With Growing Bipartisan Support for Campus Due Process, SAVE Calls for an End to ‘Kangaroo Courts’

WASHINGTON / December 4, 2017 – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is calling for the restoration of fairness and due process in campus sexual assault cases. SAVE is issuing this appeal in light of the resurgent bipartisan support for fair and equitable treatment of all students.

This recent bipartisan support includes California Governor Brown’s October 15, 2017 veto of a bill that would have codified the denial of key due process rights for accused students, such as the right to cross-examination and a presumption of innocence.  In his veto message, Governor Brown highlighted the fact that accused students, “guilty or not, must be treated fairly and with the presumption of innocence until the facts speak otherwise.” (1)

On October 26, the House of Representatives Roundtable on Campus Sexual Assault convened a hearing during which Task Force members argued that fundamental fairness was essential (2):

  • Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH): “Too often conversations about these proceedings break down into two camps: those in support for the rights of the accused, and those who support protections for survivors of sexual assault. These are not mutually exclusive.”
  • Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA): We appreciate the “very delicate balance that exists in which all students have an expectation of the right to due process.”

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the PROSPER Act, a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The bill would guarantee several fundamental due process rights, including adequate written notice, a meaningful opportunity to admit or contest allegations, access to material evidence, and a prohibition on institutional conflicts of interest (3).

In light of these developments, SAVE urges state lawmakers to consider passage of the Campus Equality, Fairness, and Transparency Act (CEFTA) (4), which contains many due process provisions similar to those in the PROSPER Act.

Presaging the rescission of the Department of Education’s 2011 policy on campus sexual violence, Secretary Betsy DeVos declared on September 7, “Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach…It’s no wonder so many call these proceedings ‘kangaroo courts.’” (5)

Citations:

  1. https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/SB_169_Veto_Message_2017.pdf
  2. https://www.thefire.org/bipartisan-task-force-to-end-sexual-violence-discusses-campus-sexual-assault/
  3. https://www.wsj.com/articles/higher-education-bill-requires-notice-on-free-speech-policies-1511963076?tesla=y
  4. http://www.saveservices.org/wp-content/uploads/CEFTA-2.26.2017.pdf
  5. http://abcnews.go.com/US/campus-rape-policy-review-trump-administration/story?id=49687058

SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is working for practical and effective solutions to campus sexual assault: www.saveservices.org