An advocacy organization for individual rights on college campuses has issued a scathing report on due process rights in Title IX cases across the country. The report claims that nearly all college campuses fail to provide students who have been accused of sexual misconduct the due process that the U.S. Constitution guarantees them.
Report Blasts Higher Education for Lack of Due Process in Title IX Cases
The report was issued by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and is the second time the organization has released such a survey.
In it, the organization looks at the written misconduct policies used by 53 different colleges across the country. In some cases, schools used different misconduct policies for academic or disciplinary misconduct, on the one hand, and sexual misconduct, on the other. Important factors that FIRE looked for in these policies included:
- An explicit presumption of innocence for the accused
- The right to meaningfully cross-examine the accuser
- A right to appeal the outcome of a case
- A requirement that the fact-finders in a case be impartial
- Time for the accused student to prepare for the case with the evidence that will be used against them
In all, there were 20 points that could be awarded to each school, based on how well it satisfied the factors that FIRE considered important for due process. No school earned a score of 12 or higher for their sexual misconduct policies.
Some Truly Disturbing Results in the Report
There are a lot of things to worry about in the report. However, some of the results stand out more than others. Some of the most alarming results included:
- 72% of the schools in the survey did not explicitly state that accused students were presumed innocent until proven guilty
- A mere 6% of schools require either a unanimous decision by the fact-finding panel or “clear and convincing evidence” before expelling a student for sexual misconduct
- Under 10% of schools allowed accused students to cross-examine their accuser
- Only 40% of schools let accused students challenge their fact-finders' bias or partiality
To make matters worse, the due process rights and safeguards seemed to evaporate in allegations of sexual misconduct when the school maintained separate policies. While the average score given by FIRE was 7.23 for non-sexual misconduct policies, it fell to 5.49 for cases that fell under the school's sexual misconduct policy.
Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
The findings in FIRE's report on due process in college misconduct investigations are not surprising. Students who have been accused of sexual misconduct everywhere have faced a difficult time having their side of the story heard and taken seriously.
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and national Title IX advisor who can help students defend against an allegation of sexual misconduct. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686 if you have been accused of sexual misconduct and want to raise a vigorous defense. Your education and your professional future can count on it.