Tuesday, July 15, 2014

COTWA asks you to support FACE

The Community of the Wrongly Accused urges its readers to back Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), a newly launched organization that seeks to raise awareness about the injustices faced by presumptively innocent college students accused of sexual misconduct. FACE today released this press release. Please visit its site often.
Fargo, ND - Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), a newly formed not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring fairness and due process for all parties involved in allegations of sexual misconduct on college campuses, was officially launched today, it was announced by Sherry Warner Seefeld, president and one of the organization’s co-founders. 
Organized by three mothers from around the nation whose college-student sons each suffered the ordeal of false accusation and subsequent entrapment in a web of injustice, FACE will, through education and dialogue, work to raise awareness of the challenges presented under current university hearing procedures while actively seeking, in the interest of justice, to bring about effective change in the ways campuses respond to sexual assaults. 
The establishment of FACE is especially timely, particularly in light of the recent report from the White House Task Force regarding sexual misconduct on college campuses. Regrettably, that report was silent when it came to the vital issue of the rights of the accused. The focus in Washington has been similarly lopsided, with barely a mention in Congress of those who have been victimized by a lack of fair and balanced safeguards within campus hearings. 
Title IX has been a vital tool for ensuring gender equity on America's college and university campuses. But through unsupported interpretations of Title IX regulations which were outlined in the Department of Education's April, 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter, the Obama Administration has undermined the due process rights of accused students so dramatically that a mere accusation of misconduct can be sufficient to destroy a young life. Campuses across the country have eliminated the presumption of innocence, lowered the burdens of proof, and proceeded to adjudicate accusations of serious crimes without the basic procedural safeguards which comprise the very Constitutional protections so fundamental to our system of justice. Worse still, diverting these cases from law enforcement and courts has placed adjudication in the hands of untrained, inexperienced, and often biased campus administrators who lack the forensic tools and formal structure needed to reliably make determinations of guilt or innocence. These alternate “investigations” and “hearings” have become the new and frightening norm in adjudicating sexual assault allegations, and the consequences are dire for everybody. Amateur courts deciding cases of this gravity fail both accusers and accused students, and dangerously leave actual offenders free to prey on others.

“The very real issue of rape on campus has received considerable and deserved high profile attention. Less known, however, is the troubling epidemic of unfairness that has become the unintended consequence of this attention,” says Allison Strange, Co-Executive Director and mother of Joshua Strange, former student at Auburn University who was falsely accused and expelled without merit in 2012. “Under the present circumstances, all too often an entirely different class of victim emerges - the unjustly accused.” 
Adds FACE President, Sherry Warner Seefeld, “There now exists a warrant for the arrest of the young woman who falsely accused my son of non-consensual sex. Her submission of false statements to police authorities and her willingness to pursue false allegations against Caleb metastasized into an absolute violation of Caleb's due process rights, subjecting him to the procedural nightmare of a campus disciplinary hearing at the University of North Dakota that culminated in his expulsion. It is undeniable that Caleb is a victim of his accuser's perjurious efforts: however, he is not the only victim. For each time someone is untruthful about sexual assault, the voice of a true victim grows weak.” 
FACE is committed to restoring fairness to a system which is inherently out-of-balance, a system in which the pendulum, driven by political correctness, has swung too far. 
“Basic fairness and due process of law are not and should be gender-driven,” adds Judith Grossman, Co-Executive Director. “An unjust system serves no one.” 
Through its efforts, FACE will work to ensure safety and protection for all students entrusted to the care of our colleges and universities.