Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I think the New York Times blew it . . . .

A recent editorial in the New York Times takes issue with the actions of House Republicans in removing certain beneficial provisions from the Violence Against Women Act that would protect undocumented immigrants and others.

In a throw-away sentence, the editorial asserts: "The regressive House alternative removes these and other improvements, including new protections for students on college campuses."

It would be interesting to know what the Times is referring to when it talks about "new protections for students on college campuses," since the only changes in VAWA with respect to college students that we are aware of were made not by House Republicans but by Senate Democrats, with bipartisan support.

As FIRE recently wrote: "The U.S. Senate made bipartisan progress on college student rights on Friday as it passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 (VAWA). Heeding the concerns of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Senators altered language in the final bill that might have required colleges and universities to employ our nation's weakest standard of proof in adjudicating allegations of sexual misconduct." 

FIRE previously reported this matter here.

It is regrettable that the Times seems intent on marginalizing the critical due process issue FIRE championed, and which had bipartisan support in the Democratic controlled Senate, by lumping it in with controversial partisan issues. The Times seems not to care about the due process concerns FIRE raised. While it would be interesting to see the Times give its views a full airing (and suffer the criticisms of persons concerned about civil liberties), regardless of how the Times feels about those issues, that doesn't excuse it from making factual errors. By suggesting that a bipartisan effort in defense of due process was some partisan, misogynistic attack on women when it wasn't, the Times blew it.