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PR: Liberal Voices Call for Campus Due Process, Reject Return to Former DCL Policy

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Contact: Rebecca Stewart

Telephone: 513-479-3335


Liberal Voices Call for Campus Due Process, Reject Return to Former DCL Policy

WASHINGTON / March 30, 2021 – On March 8, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order instructing the Department of Education to consider back-tracking on campus due process protections (1). In response, numerous editorials have been published supportive of campus due process, rejecting the excesses of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) policy on sexual violence (2).

On March 22, the Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times criticized the Obama-era policy, which “ignored common traditions of due process for the accused,” causing colleges to swing too hard in favoring accusers. The essay urged the Biden policy review to be “thoughtful rather than reactive.” (3)

Three days later, former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg penned an editorial highlighting how the 2011 policy had shortchanged defendants by failing to “uphold due process.” Bloomberg also noted that “Alleged victims said that schools failed to investigate their claims professionally.” (4)

Then on March 28, the Washington Post Editorial Board weighed in. The editorial highlighted the due process deficiencies with the Dear Colleague Letter, which gave rise to numerous “successful court challenges.” The Editorial Board affirmed the usefulness of the Biden review, and warned, “there are some things worth saving in these educational rules – and so the administration should tread carefully.” (5)

In addition, the New York Times published a news article on March 8 on the Biden policy review and invited readers to express their opinions (6). A review of all reader comments posted on March 9 reveals the vast majority of NY Times’ readers, many of whom identify as liberal, are supportive of campus due process. This comment by “R.P.” in Bridgewater, NJ received the largest number of Recommends:

“This is one area where the Trump Administration was on the correct side of civil liberties and due process rights, and where the Biden Administration is retreating to interest-group politics. Do any of the people who want to go back to the ‘old days’ of no due process for the accused, have sons in college? Do they want them to be subject to these kangaroo courts where you have no right to question your accuser?” (7) [bolding in original]

Seven separate public opinion polls have been conducted in recent years, all documenting that a strong majority of Americans support due process on campus (8). The most recent poll, commissioned by SAVE, found strong bipartisan support for campus fairness (9):

  • “Students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should have the right to know the charges against them before being called to defend themselves.” Agree: Democrats: 80%, Republicans: 88%
  • “Students accused of crimes on college campuses should receive the same civil liberties protections from their colleges that they receive in the court system.” Agree: Democrats: 66%, Republicans: 75%
  • “Students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should be punished only if there is clear and convincing evidence that they are guilty of a crime.” Agree: Democrats: 71%, Republicans: 86%

SAVE urges college officials to continue to fully implement the new Title IX regulation, which upholds rights and protections for both complainants and the accused.