Saturday, July 5, 2014

Families Advocating for Campus Equality fights for a worthy cause

COTWA urges everyone to embrace Families Advocating for Campus Equality. Here is a Letter to the New York Times from its co-founder Judith Grossman:
To the Editor:

To embrace the “preponderance of the evidence” standard for those accused of sexual misconduct on college campuses, which your editorial says seems “justified,” is to perpetuate a grave injustice that has ruined the lives of countless innocent students.

Far from a mere expulsion, those wrongfully accused yet caught in up in the campus tribunal process face life-altering devastation that places their education, careers and emotional stability in great jeopardy.

And while “preponderance” does apply in civil litigation as the standard of proof, that same litigation also affords both parties the right to discovery, the rules of evidence, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses who are under oath, the right to a jury and the assurance of the experience of a presiding jurist, protections all missing in campus proceedings.

How distressing to read your statement that “the accused are not typically afforded due process protections” in campus proceedings. Why not? Why should the Constitution be surrendered at the campus gates? And why, in an effort to protect alleged victims, should the solution be to create another class of victims? Surely all of our students deserve fundamental fairness.

New York, June 30, 2014

The writer, a retired lawyer, is a co-founder of Families Advocating for Campus Equality.