Sexual Assault, Campus Hearings, and Title IX
Student disciplinary hearings aren’t new. But in the wake of #metoo, restrictions on basic due process rights during those hearings spread quickly over the past several years. Students were frequently sanctioned, suspended, forced to live off campus, and expelled without even basic rights – like confronting their accuser, questioning him/her, appealing the decision, be represented by counsel, trial be a student jury, and even attending the same hearing together. The pendulum is swinging back in the other direction. Accused students, most who have been expelled, continue to win lawsuits in federal court against colleges, demanding due process from schools before they can be expelled or sanctioned. Sexual assault is a terrible thing, but as high profile cases like Duke LAX have frequently proved, false allegations are terrible as well. And basic due process and a fair hearing are critically important to avoiding injustice – to both sides.