Indiana University’s efforts to do more to protect the victims of sexual assault and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice are praiseworthy. But in this effort, IU must be careful to not victimize innocent people.
The Obama regime has been pushing universities to embrace a clearly illegal “preponderance of the evidence” standard in university disciplinary procedures regarding sexual assault. The traditional standard abandoned by the Obama regime is that guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. See this statement from Cornell University’s law school on the importance of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.
- The due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments “[protect] the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged.” “The reasonable doubt standard plays a vital role in the American scheme of criminal procedure. It is a prime instrument for reducing the risk of convictions resting on factual error.”
Sexual assault is terrible, but the fact of the matter is that false reports do happen. The two most obvious examples are Tawana Brawley and Crystal Gail Mangum, but we saw this locally when a 19-year-old IU student fabricated a kidnapping and “rape” in March of 2007. According to the March 30, 2007 Herald-Times, she recanted her story and admitted that she “engaged in consensual sex with a man at a local motel.”
What if she had not recanted her story and an innocent man had been criminally prosecuted for a crime that never happened? What if the falsely accused man was another student subjected to university discipline for a crime that never happened?
It does no good to anyone to abandon due process in the interest of protecting victims, and as a state institution Indiana University is not permitted to use the illegal “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Indiana University has a moral and legal obligation to disobey the Obama regime’s clearly illegal mandate. The mark of a true patriot is to stand against the Obama regime’s efforts to take away students’ rights under the Constitution.