FAIL: America's Top Universities Won't Grant Students This Basic Constitutional Right

The Foundation of Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonprofit organization focused on protecting civil liberties in academics, surveyed 53 of America’s top universities and found a majority failed to provide students accused of a serious crime with due process protection.

FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process 2017—the first survey of its kind—gave 85 percent of universities surveyed a failing D or F grade for due process protections, or lack thereof. Students accused of serious crimes are not even considered innocent until proven guilty at 39 of the 53 universities FIRE examined.

This report should not be shocking, with the numerous stories circulating about universities routinely violating the due process rights of students accused of sexual assault or rape. However, even to those versed on the subject of colleges gone crazy, it’s still hard to believe that a substantial majority of universities fail to afford students their basic constitutional rights.

These aren’t small schools nestled in the middle of nowhere, strapped for funding and personnel. It’s Columbia University, Harvard, New York University, and Pennsylvania State University that have failed to provide procedural safeguards like a right to counsel or a right to cross examine witnesses or the complainant, either by the accused or the accused’s counsel—among others.

“This report should be a huge red flag to students, parents, legislators, and the general public that an accused student’s academic and professional future often hinges on little more than the whim of college administrators,” said Samantha Harris, the Vice President of policy research at FIRE.

If a crime is serious enough, a student could face suspension or expulsion from their school, potentially ending their academic career. The failings of administrators have the potential to affect students everywhere.

FIRE’s due process reports comes around the same time as the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement that they will review the previous administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights determined during the Obama administration that sexual assault and sexual harassment are forms of gender inequality and must be investigated under Title IX.

The letter outlined how colleges must conduct investigations by using a preponderance of evidence standard. With this standard, Title IX investigators only need to be 51 percent certain of the accused’s guilt to enact punishment. OCR also instructed schools not to wait for a criminal investigation to conclude before starting their own Title IX investigation, and advises them not to allow cross examination of the complainant as it could further traumatize them. But this hesitance to thoroughly examine both parties makes it harder to discern who is at fault.

Some universities have separate sexual misconduct policies, which FIRE outlines in their report. Brandeis University, one of the schools listed, scored a D for failing to provide adequate due process protection in sexual misconduct cases. The university does not ensure the accused has a right to counsel and does not require an unanimous ruling to expel the accused. And the school’s grade appears to be appropriate as just last year a student sued the university after they violated his due process rights in a Title IX investigation.

Robby Soave, an associate editor at Reason, details the story in his article. “The accused, ‘John Doe,’ was found responsible for stolen kisses, suggestive touches, and a wandering eye—all within the context of an established sexual relationship,” Soave explained. “In January 2014, J.C. made a two-sentence accusation against Doe, who was not informed of the nature of the charges against him. He was also denied a lawyer, the opportunity to evaluate evidence against him, and the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, including his accuser.”

The Brandeis student ended up suing his university and a federal judge ruled his lawsuit should proceed, citing significant concerns about the lack of basic fairness in the investigation.

Pennsylvania State University, which received an F for both its sexual misconduct policy and its disciplinary policy has been rebuked twice by the same judge for its failure to ensure due process protections for the accused.

FIRE’s Samantha Harris published a piece in Reason about Penn State’s situation. A female student (Jane Doe) accused a male student (John Doe) of forcibly digitally penetrating her and causing her to bleed. The university found John Doe guilty and he was expelled, but he sued, saying his due process rights were violated during the investigation and hearing. The judge overseeing the Penn State student’s lawsuit ruled in his favor and ordered the university to reinstate him.

There are numerous stories like those at Penn State and Brandeis University, but the tides may be turning. It is long past time that universities learn how to handle accusations of rape without violating students’ constitutional rights.

Rape victims are not getting justice if their assailant is able to get a cash settlement because the university failed to provide a fair and balanced trial, nor is justice being served if innocent people have their reputation and academic careers ruined by campus kangaroo courts. Ensuring due process for everyone involved in a campus dispute is the best path forward for universities and their students.

Lindsay Marchello is a Young Voices Advocate and an Associate Editor with the Carolina Journal. Follow her on Twitter @LynnMarch007.

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Texas is under threat of a George Soros-backed takeover.

Soros-funded RINO judges have been elected in some of the highest courts in Texas. These judges implemented restrictions that have blocked nearly a thousand cases of voter fraud from being investigated or prosecuted from across the state. These new restrictions are similar to ones in place in states like George, Arizona, and Wisconsin, leaving Texas more susceptible to election corruption than ever. If Texas falls to corruption, America will lose its largest bastion of conservative electoral power in the nation. Without Texas, Republicans WILL NOT be able to win national elections and liberal corruption will go unchecked across the country.

Fortunately, there is a way to stop this: YOU.

If you live in Texas you have a chance to stand up against corruption and to fight back! Starting Tuesday, February 20th, early voting for the primaries begins, where three of these judges are up for election. Go out and vote. If the right people are voted in, there's a good chance the restrictions will be lifted and election fraud can once again be prosecuted.

But remember, you can't just go in and vote for anyone who has an "R" next to their name. Sorors knows that a registered Democrat would never stand a chance in Texas, so his lackeys register as Republicans and ride the little "R" right into office. So who do you vote for?

Fortunately, Glenn had Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on his show today and Ken gave us his list of judges that he vouches for. His list is as follows:

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The Primary Election runs from February 20th to March 5th. This is your chance to get out there and make a difference. It might be the most important election you ever participate in. If you need to know where your nearest polling location is, or any other information regarding the election, you can go to votetexas.gov to find out more.
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Who is really banning books?

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On February 5th, 2024, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan released a slew of subpoenaed documents that exposed pressure placed on Amazon by the Biden Administration. The documents, which Jordan dubbed "The Amazon Files" after Elon Musk's "The Twitter Files," revealed an email conversation between Andrew Slavitt, a former White House senior adviser, and Amazon employees. In these emails, Slavitt complained that the top search results for books on "vaccines" were "concerning" and then requested that Amazon intervene. Amazon initially refused, not out of some altruistic concern for the free exchange of information. They thought any action taken would be "too visible" and would further exasperate the “Harry/Sally narrative,” referring to the outrage that followed Amazon's removal of Ryan T. Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally.

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

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So where to start? Here are a few things YOU can do to protect your First Amendment rights:

Religion

The best way to flex your Freedom of Religion is to—you guessed it—practice your faith. Become an active member in your place of worship, go to scripture studies, invite your friends to that late afternoon event, and walk the life. This can impact the way you spend money as well. Shop the businesses and brands that share your values, and don't shop at the ones that scorn them. Keeping the community alive and healthy is the best way to ensure that generations to come will be able to experience the freedom you enjoy.

Speech

Much like religion, the best way to protect your freedom of speech is... to speak. Engage your friends and family in polite, civil conversation. Stand up for what you believe in, and make your case to your peers. Just remember to keep it friendly. No one ever won an argument by shouting down their opponent. The civil exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of our republic, and a dialogue where the participants are well-informed, considerate, compassionate, and open-minded can have permanent impacts on all involved.

Press

Freedom of the Press seems a little tricky at first. Unless you work for the media, what are you supposed to do? Quit your job and go work for the local newspaper? The good news is that exercising this right is not nearly that difficult. In fact, you are currently doing it. The best thing you can do is to read from outlets that produce informative content. Want to know what Glenn consumes to stay informed every day? Sign up for Glenn's Morning Brief newsletter to get all the stories Glenn gets sent to his desk every day sent straight to your inbox.

Assembly

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Freedom of assembly is one of the more impactful yet underutilized freedoms in the First Amendment. Peaceably assembling and protesting with like-minded individuals can hugely influence politicians and policies while simultaneously creating community and fellowship between attendees. It's understandable why more people don't turn out. We're all busy people with busy schedules, and flying out to D.C. for the weekend seems like a daunting task to many. Thankfully, you don't have to go out all the way to D.C. to make a difference. Gather some like-minded people in your town and bring awareness to issues that impact your community. Big change starts locally, and exercising your freedom to assemble can be the catalyst to lasting impact.

Petition

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