US universities told to do something about sex crimes on campus
Summary of story from womenenews, April 14, 2011
US vice president Joe Biden last week announced a new “advisory” under Title IX, the federal law prohibiting gender discrimination (including sexual assault) in education.
The advisory is meant to compel university officials to do a better job responding to sex crimes on campus. Given that one in five students is victimised while in college, it is long overdue.
Amid reports that Yale is under investigation by the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education for allegedly violating Title IX (see WVoN story), Biden explained that schools are mandated by federal law to redress sexual violence “promptly and effectively.”
Harvard Law School and the University of Virginia are also in trouble for requiring sexual-assault victims to prove their allegations by “clear and convincing evidence” (about 80 percent proof), rather than the less rigorous “preponderance of evidence” standard (about 51 percent proof).
The new advisory makes it crystal clear that both schools have been violating women’s civil rights by applying the higher standard.
And Harvard Law School is also under investigation for having a policy of delaying sexual assault hearings on campus until outside law enforcement officials complete their investigation.
This tactic – known as “running out the clock”- is used by many schools to avoid oversight by the Office for Civil Rights.
When a school puts off resolving a case until the students involved are on the verge of graduation, violations of Title IX cannot be remedied in any meaningful way.
Clock-running is one of the most serious violations because it profoundly interferes with a victim’s education by forcing her to endure an unresolved controversy and the presence of her attacker on campus throughout her college (or graduate school) education.
In some cases, including at Harvard, school employees purporting to have expertise in this area have literally “advised” victims that it’s a good idea to wait until the district attorney completes their investigation.
Such caring “advisors” know full well that there will be no criminal prosecution and that they are violating Title IX by helping the administration delay on-campus justice for the victim.
The new advisory makes it abundantly clear that this disdainful practice will not be tolerated.