Yale and other universities should advise women alleging sexual assault or rape to go directly to the police—and not to campus police, who answer to university administrators, but to regular police departments, which have the appropriate resources and skills to conduct criminal investigations. For all its flaws, our criminal justice system is vastly better equipped than university administrators and faculty to protect the rights of accusers and accused alike.
Yet universities cannot afford to get out of the law enforcement business, because the Office for Civil Rights won’t let them. Even if deans and faculty could overcome their propensity to conduct due-process deficient investigations and prosecutions of sexual assault and rape, universities would still confront Office for Civil Rights-imposed requirements that direct them, after police investigations, to proceed with their own.
What is really at stake in the current investigation of Yale is the proper mission of the university. The complainants, not a few university administrators and faculty, and powerful forces at work in the Department of Education seem to think that one of a university’s top priorities is policing students’ opinions and utterances to ensure that they adopt government-approved ideas about sexual relations. That priority can’t be reconciled with the imperatives of a liberal education.