Earlier this year, Senator Clare McCaskill sent a sexual assault survey to American colleges to assess how colleges and universities report, investigate, and adjudicate sexual violence. The results are in, and the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Financial Contracting Oversight has prepared a report based on the survey. The survey reveals some truly disturbing facts that suggest significant due process infirmities at some schools. Incredibly, even with these survey results, the problems are ignored by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Financial Contracting Oversight and the mainstream news media that has reported on the survey results.
The survey reveals that some schools -- 6% -- do not even presume the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. (F3.13)
In addition, 8% of the schools do not even bother to inform the defendant of his rights before the hearing. (F3.2)
A full 13% of the schools do not provide the defendant written notice of the charges prior to the hearing. (F3.1)
And 19% of the schools don't bother to keep written records of the proceedings, suggesting an alarming absence of accountability and transparency. (F2.5)
These findings have been ignored by the report's narrative. It incredibly suggests that there is no hostility to due process when it comes to young men accused of sexual assault. Instead, the report focuses on inconsequential stats to support the narrative it has chosen to adopt that schools unfairly treat sexual assault accusers, which the report and survey labels as "victims" or "survivors." The report cites stats revealed from the survey that 82% of schools allow the accused to challenge hearing members regarding impartiality or conflicts of interest, while only 78% provide the same right to survivors. It also notes that only 85% of all schools use the preponderance of the evidence standard (it is well to note that no court has ever ruled that it is lawful for the Federal government to mandate this standard.)
The findings of the McCaskill report speak for themselves. Sadly, the mainstream news media has taken its cue from the report's narrative and has ignored the aforementioned due process infirmities, even though they are staggering.