Thursday, August 25, 2011

Isn't Justice Supposed to be Blind?

I don’t often blog about what is happening on American college campuses. Mostly I don’t because I don’t currently have a dog in this fight. I haven’t attended college in many years, and don’t yet have children of college age.

But this link here caught my attention. Apparently last spring the Education Department of the Obama administration issued new guidelines on how to go about dealing with sexual assault on the college campus. Before I go any further, I do want to say that sexual assault in any form, whether it be forcible rape or of the “date-rape variety” taking advantage of woman in a violent manner is beyond despicable and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But the new guidelines issued last spring are eliminating due process for the accused.

OCR’s new interpretation of Title IX “strongly discourages” universities from permitting the accused “to question or cross examine the accuser” during the hearing. In addition, if universities provide an appeals process, it must be available to both parties – which subjects the accused to double jeopardy.

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, administrator 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 to believe that the accused is more likely than not to have committed the crime. (Source: Tigerhawk Blog)

According to the linked post and the supporting article, the feds have threatened to cut off federal money to colleges if they do not implement these rules. So of course, the colleges are scrambling to put them into effect.

I can certainly understand why sexual assault on college campuses is an important issue and if there is a trend (there is support for that trend), then something must be done. But in the quest for justice for the victim, the Obama administration is throwing out justice for the accused. Justice is supposed to be blind. However, the Obama administration, in their quest for votes, have removed the blindfold and have now hamstrung Lady Justice.

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