Yesterday we talked about California’s deep dive into sexual assault laws and the new legal definitions of interpersonal relationships which seem to be blurring the lines between our system of laws and unregulated, nonjudicial college review boards. Today, the focus swings back to the aforementioned kangaroo court system on our college campuses, specifically in the ivy covered halls of Harvard. They’ve set up a new raft of rules which essentially eliminate most normal rights for the accused. A number of legal scholars issued a letter in response excoriating the new system.
Harvard University officials caved in to federal officials in the face of funding threats and enacted a sexual misconduct policy that failed to respect the rights of the accused, claims a group of 28 current and former Harvard law professors.
The legal scholars voiced their frustration with the school’s new policy in a letter sent to The Boston Globe and published Tuesday night.
The Ivy League institution approved new measures to address sexual harassment and sexual assault in July. The policy went into effect this fall.
The new plan appears to lack even basic protections for the accused.
The preponderance of evidence standard provides a lower standard of proof for misconduct charges that was currently being used at Harvard’s 13 individual schools, The Globe reported…
“Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation,” reads the professors’ complaint.
Specifically, the group lamented “the absence of any adequate opportunity to discover the facts charged and to confront witnesses and present a defense at an adversary hearing.”
Under the new policy, one central office is in charge of “investigation, prosecution, fact-finding, and appellate review.”
To paraphrase that, a single office of university bureaucrats is now acting as judge, jury, appellate court and executioner when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct.
This is not being entirely generated in the Ivy League, though. As the letter flatly states, Harvard is exhibiting a fear reaction to implied threats from the federal government. They were listed as one of the colleges not doing enough to ensure that Title IX requirements are being met at the school, which is apparently the only legal pathway that Washington could find to stick their nose under this particular tent flap. The consequences for letting Uncle Sam down would be to lose federal education funding.
Of course, Harvard is sitting on an endowment estimated to be worth nearly $33 billion. (No… that wasn’t a typo. Their endowment is measure in the billions.)
It’s somewhat ironic that Harvard is also the host of what is still considered to be one of the premier law schools in the world. I wonder if they’ll be teaching any courses this year which discuss everything that’s wrong with their internal system of private justice?