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Consensus: Campus Kangaroo Courts are Harming Survivors

SUCCESS! On May 6, 2020, the Department of Education released its new Title IX regulation. The regulation, which supports both complainants and the accused, took effect on August 14, 2020.


In 2011 the Department of Education released its Dear Colleague Letter on campus sexual violence. The Letter launched a bold new experiment in campus jurisprudence. Despite reservations of due process proponents, many persons decided to take a wait-and-see approach before passing judgement.

Nine years later, nearly everyone has reached the same conclusion: Campus sex tribunals are shortchanging both groups of survivors: complainants and the accused. Hence the derisive – and well-deserved – term, “Kangaroo Courts.”

These are the key milestones in the emergence of this consensus:

  1. 2013: The Department of Education reported that following release of its new campus policy, the number of Title IX complaints to OCR increased more than five-fold, from 391 complaints in 2010 to 2,242 in 2013.
  2. 2014: Twenty-eight members of the Harvard Law School published their watershed statement, “Rethink Harvard’s Sexual Harassment Policy.”
  3. 2016Twenty-six law professors from around the country issued the “Law Professors’ Open Letter Regarding Campus Free Speech and Sexual Assault
  4. April, 2017: SAVE published its report, “Six-Year Experiment in Campus Jurisprudence Fails to Make the Grade,” documenting widespread dissatisfaction among identified victims, the accused, and campus administrators with the Dear Colleague Letter.
  5. June 27, 2017: The American Bar Association issued a report on the need for robust due process protections in campus sexual assault investigations.
  6. September 22, 2017: The Office for Civil Rights announced the withdrawal of the controversial 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, and its plan to release a new regulation designed to assure a fair process for all.
  7. February 15, 2018: During an interview, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg commented: “There’s been criticism of some college codes of conduct for not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard, and that’s one of the basic tenets of our system, as you know, everyone deserves a fair hearing.”
  8. November 2, 2018: The American Association for University Women reported that 89% of American colleges had received zero reports of rape incidents in 2016.
  9. November 29, 2018: The Department of Education released its proposed Title IX regulation.
  10. December 2018: Nearly 300 law professors, other legal experts, and scholars from across the country release a Due Process Statement that enunciates key principles for the fair resolution of campus sexual assault complaints.
  11. May 2019Families Advocating for Campus Equality published its report, Trauma-Informed Theories Disguised as Evidence.
  12. October 15, 2019: The American Association of Universities reported that compared to its 2015 climate survey, the rate of sexual assaults had increased for undergraduate women, graduate women, and undergraduate men.
  13. November 7, 2019: SAVE released a list of the 25 Worst Colleges for Campus Due Process.
  14. December, 2019The NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy published an in-depth analysis of the lawsuits filed by accused students against their universities.
  15. December 2, 2019: Former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder issued a statement decrying the “unimaginable nightmare” that he experienced at the hands of a campus tribunal.
  16. January 16-17, 2020: SAVE representatives held meetings with 60 offices in the Senate and House. Both Democratic and Republican staffers widely agreed the current campus system is shortchanging all parties.