Honestly, even for a person who’s been hardened by decades of campus ideological and legal battles, it’s hard to believe how thoroughly unhinged, how intellectually bankrupt is the argument against protecting due process on campus. Yesterday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that the Trump administration would shortly begin a regulatory rulemaking process designed to protect college students from sexual assault while also protecting the fundamental constitutional rights of the accused. More precisely, DeVos signaled her intention to withdraw the Obama administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter that unilaterally and lawlessly required universities to adjudicate sexual-assault claims under a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (the accused is responsible if there’s a 50.1 percent probability he committed the crime) but without protecting due process. Obama’s policy resulted in a kangaroo-court system where accused students often don’t have access to counsel, the ability to effectively cross-examine their accuser (indeed, the Obama admin specifically urged that accused students not be permitted to cross-examine accusers), or even access to all the evidence in the case. Judging from the Twitter reaction to DeVos’s remarks, you would have thought that she’d declared open season on young women on campus. Under the hashtag #StopBetsy, ideologues and celebrities declared that DeVos was taking the “next step on our path to authoritarianism.” Or, in the words of the reasonable non-hysterical folks at the Women’s March, she was “making campuses safer for rapists.” The makers of a deeply flawed campus-rape documentary called “The Hunting Ground” slammed DeVos, saying, “Her proposal should scare the hell out of every parent in this country with a college bound child — schools will become much more dangerous places for their children.” But what is this terrible proposal? While the details are yet to be revealed, from her remarks it’s clear that she wants to protect students from sexual assault and to protect students from kangaroo courts. In other words, she may well require schools to protect students’ ability to employ counsel, cross-examine witnesses, see the evidence against them, and try their cases before a truly impartial tribunal. This is basic stuff. It’s the essence of due process, and it’s unthinkable for any person facing such serious, state-mandated charges to face justice without these basic protections. So, what’s the objection? Why do some activists seemingly come unglued at the mere mention of “due process”? To put it simply, it’s because many of them believe and propagate a pile of junk science seasoned with a heaping helping of far-left ideology. This toxic combination causes them to believe the following fantastical story: That one in five women on campus will be sexually assaulted at some point in their college careers, that virtually no woman would lie or be mistaken in alleging a sexual assault, and that even the absence of evidence is somehow evidence of rape. In these circumstances, due process is at best a mere formality. At worst, it’s the rapist’s friend. But that story is wrong — terribly wrong — and it’s facilitating injustice on a national scale. First, the one-in-five statistic is based on seriously flawed studies that, among other things, improperly define sexual assault or base their findings on a low-response survey of two colleges. In fact, the authors of arguably the most influential source for the one-in-five statistic have explicitly said that it was “inappropriate” to use their survey as a “baseline” for campus rape. In 2014, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released its own, more rigorous survey, and its results were far, far different. It found that the rate of rape and sexual assault was “higher for nonstudents than for students.” The annual rate of sexual assault for young women enrolled in college was 6.1 per 1,000, or less than 1 percent. Too high, but far from the extraordinary and shocking crisis of one-in-five, even when tallied over multiple years. But what about the notion that “women don’t lie about rape,” often memorialized in the #BelieveAllWomen hashtag — popularized by none other than Hillary Clinton herself? That’s based on flawed research as well.
Indeed.. To read the rest of this eye-opening, and excellent legal op/ed by attorney, and Army Reserve officer (Major), David French, click on the text above. David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.