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Biden to restore college kangaroo courts

Another day, another executive order incoming from the desk of President Joe Biden. And this one is yet another sad and harmful example of Biden’s desperation to roll back everything done by Donald Trump over the last four years. Expected to be released next week, this order will alter the federal government’s “interpretation” of Title IX guidelines as they apply to how colleges and universities that receive federal funding (pretty much all of them) deal with allegations of sexual assault on campus. Those interpretations were revised under Trump and Betsy DeVos to provide a fairer and safer environment for handling such allegations. With Biden’s anticipated order, things will be going back to the bad old days of the Obama administration, if not even worse. (Associated Press)

President Joe Biden is rethinking Trump administration policies that weakened how colleges and universities that get federal dollars handle sexual assault accusations on campus, according to administration officials.

Biden is set to sign an executive order on Monday directing the Department of Education to review policies implemented by Donald Trump’s administration, including changes to Title IX regulations that prohibit sex discrimination in federally funded institutions.

The new president focused on gender equity during his campaign and promised to strengthen Title IX if he won the White House. He also will sign a second executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council, according to two administration officials who briefed reporters on the plan.

The spin being applied to this announcement is both predictable and sad. Biden’s team is describing these changes as an effort to “strengthen Title IX” and keep women safe. It would do neither and arguably makes the system not only less fair but creates a potentially more dangerous environment for women.

Title IX was originally warped and distorted under the Obama/Biden administration. It lowered the standard of evidence required for allegations of sexual harassment or assault and allowed colleges to set up their own kangaroo courts to determine guilt or innocence. The system they created frequently didn’t offer the accused the right to question either the accuser or witnesses and prevented them from having legal counsel during the proceedings. There was also no requirement to report the incident to the police and these panels could mete out “punishment” in the form of kicking the alleged perpetrator out of school and off of campus.

Trump and DeVos largely corrected the situation, first by requiring “clear and convincing evidence” as opposed to the much lower bar of a preponderance of the evidence. Stricter reporting guidelines were put in place and the accused was allowed to question witnesses and be represented by an attorney. It still wasn’t a perfect system, but it was a vast improvement over the changes Obama made.

This is an important subject for several reasons. First and foremost, sexual assault is a crime and it’s a serious one. A panel of professors and school administrators is not equipped to deal with the legal processes involved. It’s a matter for law enforcement and the courts. Even if the accuser is correct and the accused is guilty of sexual assault, kicking him out of school only turns him loose on the rest of the women in whichever community he lands in.

And what if the accuser is either lying or grossly exaggerating the events in question? We’ve seen and documented far too many examples to try to claim that doesn’t happen. (Anyone remember mattress girl?) Without proper legal defense and accepted investigative procedures, the schools could end someone’s career before it even begins and falsely label them as a sexual predator. This not just a foolish interpretation of Title IX, it’s a dangerous one. But liberals cling to these ideas as some warped form of “justice” and Joe Biden is apparently willing to sing along with them.