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Campus Kangaroo Courts


Federal law trumps campus policy:

A lawsuit filed by an Amherst College student who argued the school unfairly held up his academic career over an old, unproven allegation of an on-campus rape has quietly settled.
According to records in U.S. District Court, the college recently reached a settlement with the “John Doe” but neither his lawyers nor school officials will discuss the terms of the agreement.

Doe filed the lawsuit last year after the college decided to revive a 2009 allegation a week before he was set to earn his diploma in 2014 — and after the college had disciplined him for excessive drinking and acting out sexually. His accuser, identified only as “Student A” in court records, said he complained to school officials at the time of his alleged encounter with Doe but never filed a formal complaint. In the meantime, Doe had taken a school-mandated, yearlong “medical withdrawal” from the college in his native South Africa. . . .

Using student disciplinary procedures to adjudicate charges of sexual assault simply won’t do. This case appears to involve a male-on-male accusation, which is unusual, but otherwise the case is quite typical, involving “excessive drinking” as a precipitating factor. And the overreaction factor is also obvious:

During a pretrial hearing last year, Doe’s lawyer, David P. Hoose, told a judge that Amherst College was letting negative publicity around its handling of a number of on-campus rape allegations unfairly drive their treatment of Doe.

“Amherst College has taken a beating in the national press for the last two years because of the way they’ve handled these types of allegations, and now with the benefit of hindsight and the beating that they’ve taken, they want to expiate all of their sins … over Mr. Doe’s body,” Hoose told U.S. District Judge Mark G. Mastroianni.

Amherst College remains among dozens of colleges under under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for potential mishandling of sexual assault or harassment allegations.

Read the whole thing. Cases like this remind us why our Constitution has certain protections, such as the right to a speedy trial and no double jeopardy, for criminal defendants. Nobody wants criminals to go unpunished, but neither can we allow the law to become a weapon of abuse. “John Doe” in this case cooperated with the school’s policy, only to find himself retroactively punished five years later because activists have stoked a witch hunt.

Powerful emotions surrounding the issue of rape are being exploited by feminists, who have created a climate of hysteria and who terrorize their critics by defaming as “rape apologists” anyone who disagrees with them. (Really: George Will is “pro-rape”?) Christinia Hoff Sommers points out that the momentum behind this tsunami of “rape epidemic” rhetoric began with the media:

The frenzy over college sexual assault now sweeping the nation was triggered by a specific event.

In 2010, a small team of investigative journalists published a report revealing, so they claimed, an epidemic of college rape. The report was a jumble of highly selective reporting and dubious statistics, as we shall see. But the reporters spread the news far and wide and no one thought to question their accuracy. . . .

That year, reporters at National Public Radio teamed up with the left-leaning journalism organization Center for Public Integrity (CPI) to produce and promote a 104-page “investigative reporting series” (PDF) entitled “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice.” . . .

Read the whole thing. The dangers involved in this kind of hysteria are perhaps underappreciated by those too young to remember the McMartin Preschool case and the Wenatchee witch hunt.

(Hat-tip: Greg on Twitter.)

First published at


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