Late August and early September bring recent high school graduates, bright and eager, to campuses around the country. Carefully planned orientation sessions will impress upon freshmen the paramount importance of sensitivity, of avoiding offensive words and ideas, and—notwithstanding that in recent years approximately 55% of matriculating freshmen nationally have been female—the urgency of maintaining a campus atmosphere friendly to women.[via]
The neglect at freshmen orientation of the aim of liberal education and how it undergirds and is undergirded by the principles of freedom is not an accident. It is emblematic of college as a whole. Our universities impair liberal education not only by what they teach and do not teach in classrooms but also by the illiberal rules they promulgate to regulate speech and conduct outside of class.
Most egregiously, OCR requires universities to render judgment using "a preponderance of the evidence" standard. This means that in a rape case, a campus disciplinary board of faculty, administrators and perhaps students serves as both judge and jury. Few if any of these judges are likely to have professional competence in fact-gathering, evidence analysis or judicial procedure. Yet to deliver a verdict of guilty, they need only believe that the accused is more likely than not to have committed the crime.
This is the lowest standard. It is much less demanding than "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is used in the criminal justice system, and the intermediate standard of "clear and convincing proof." Yale, Stanford and many other universities have rushed to comply with OCR's directives.
In short, universities are institutionalizing a presumption of guilt in sexual assault cases. This implements the doctrine developed in the 1980s and '90s by postmodernists, radical feminists and critical legal studies scholars that inspired the ruinous campus speech codes. That doctrine teaches that the American political order is designed to oppress the weak; that racial minorities and women, whether they realize it or not, are victims; and that the truth, except for the first two propositions, is infinitely malleable.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The presumption of Male Guilt
Opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Peter Berkowitz :
Posted by Gavin Doyle