Friday, July 8, 2016
So that's who's behind it
College association calls civil-rights agency a ‘Star Chamber’
It may have confused some observers why a constitutional law professor-turned-president would preside over the most blatant denial of due process rights to college students in recent history.
An intriguing Washington Post analysis might have the answer: President Barack Obama ceded all responsibility for campus sexual-assault to his vice president before they were even in office.
And Joe Biden has proven a zealot without any regard for the rights of students who face accusations bereft of any evidence beyond an accuser’s oft-fuzzy memory:
Biden said he spoke to Obama about the issue even before they won the White House in 2008, requesting a staff to work on violence against women “within the office of the vice president,” rather than at the Justice Department.
“He said, ‘Okay.’ He knew how strongly I felt about it,” Biden said, adding that over time Obama became more engaged with the issue.
Biden’s influence has apparently led the White House to judge all colleges that provide a fair process for accused students as cavalierly harboring rapists:
According to White House officials, top members of the administration — including the president, the vice president, their wives and members of the Cabinet — will not visit institutions whose leaders they consider insufficiently serious about pursuing sexual-assault allegations and punishing perpetrators.
Biden told the Post he also wants the feds to “take away their money” if schools provide basic fairness to accused students.
That echoes the federal funding threats made by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) when universities don’t immediately turn their adjudication proceedings into a fait accompli, as happened at Tufts University in 2014.
An official with the American Council on Education, which represents 1,600 college and university presidents at the federal level, aptly characterized OCR as “a Court of Star Chamber, with arbitrary rulings, no rights for those under investigation and a secret process” governing schools who fall under Title IX investigation.
Meanwhile, the legality of OCR’s “guidance” on Title IX is the subject of at least three federal lawsuits by students or their parents – meaning it’s likely that whoever succeeds Obama and Biden will have to clean up the legal mess they left.