‘Why Have a Hearing? Just Expel Him’

“Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?” That astonishing question was posed at a conference on how colleges respond to sexual assault issues by Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth. According to Inside Higher Ed, Childress continued: “It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students. And higher education is not a right. Safety is a right. Higher education is a privilege.”

Give Childress credit for candor–even the campus spokespersons for increasing the number of guilty findings in campus tribunals usually aren’t so bald in their disdain for basic principles of due process.

Childress’ jarring remarks coincided with news that Dartmouth had promoted her, and given her additional power over the college’s sexual assault policies. Last Friday, the college announced that Childress will head the newly-created Center for Community Action and Prevention, which Childress said would “be the focal point on campus for Dartmouth’s sexual assault and violence prevention initiatives” and “drive the College’s mobilization efforts around preventing sexual violence and increasing the safety and well-being of all members of our community.” (All members, it seems, except students facing unsubstantiated allegations of sexual assault.) Incredibly, Dartmouth theater professor Paul Hackett suggested that despite Childress’ appointment, the college isn’t going far enough on the issue.

To reiterate: one of the nation’s elite colleges thinks it’s a good idea to enhance the power of a figure who wonders about the propriety of expelling possibly innocent students based solely on an allegation.

Childress’ remarks doubtless will resurface if Dartmouth, like nearly a dozen colleges and universities, faces a lawsuit from a student railroaded out of school after experiencing his school’s brazen procedures. The latest such lawsuit came against Swarthmore, already infamous for a Title IX accusers’ complaint on absurd grounds that its procedures (which include a prohibition on accused students from even talking about the case with an attorney) is too unfair against the accusers.

The Swarthmore lawsuit, first reported by Philadelphia, shares similar characteristics to suits filed against Vassar, St. Joe’s, and Xavier–but with one interesting twist. According to the filing, the accuser waited 19 months to file her charges (she never went to police or had a medical exam); the weakness of her case was such that even Swarthmore’s biased disciplinary system didn’t bring charges against the accused students. But two weeks after the Title IX complaints, Swarthmore reopened the case–and within less than a month, had completed its investigation, held a hearing, and completed the expulsion. The lawsuit alleges that Swarthmore failed to respect what passes for due process on the campus; the student’s attorney claims that Swarthmore didn’t give the student a right to respond in writing to the charges, among other things.


  • KC Johnson

    KC Johnson is a history professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author, along with Stuart Taylor, of The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America's Universities.

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10 thoughts on “‘Why Have a Hearing? Just Expel Him’

  1. Safety should not come at the expense of essential liberty. Any firm that values safety over essential liberty deserves neither these values. Any firm that practices partiality on the pretext of safety is unworthy of respect.

  2. This is all about Daddy not wanting to send his little girl to a school where she will not be treated like the little princess she is. The schools want all that Daddy money, so the guys get the shaft.

  3. What is not unusual is that this complete disregard for due process has been happening for years not only on university campuses in G20 countries but also in everyday life – the media has deliberately and systematically ignored them. It is only now that the totalitarian nature of feminism is affecting the more affluent , the more well to do that now – all of a sudden this seems to be a problem. The hypocrisy of it all is breathtaking on both sides of the spectrum.

  4. Amanda Childress says: “It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students.”
    Without due process, no one is safe.

  5. Safety is a right? Where in the Constitution does it say that? That document does guarantee due process and liberty, though.
    “Those who would forsake essential liberty for safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    Get over it, girls….guarantee your own safety…pack heat like the Second Amendment says you have a right to do.

  6. One of the lovely things about Academia today is that this silly cow’s previous job was as a “Health Sciences” (I think they teach you to wipe front to back) professor at Ohio University.
    So she is empowered to oversee sexual conduct at Dartmouth?
    And there is supposedly a board of trustees somewhere?

  7. The new “Dear colleague letter” that strips guys basic due process rights, added to the law enforcement “manufactured statistics Alliances”, equals majors perversions of the course of justice for guys falsely accused of rape on an American campus.

  8. Doug, your question is not relevant. Childress and people like her not only don’t consider that they’d ever have to face such charges, but they can be confident that they won’t. Do you think no matter the situation any male student who lays charges against a female student is going to get any sort of hearing, trumped-up or not?

  9. Amanda Childress’s claim is terrifying: How can you expel a student simply because he or she is accused of sexual misconduct?
    Also, the title of this post is egregious. Why would the author use “him” in the title. Childress uses the word “student”; she never indicated whether that student was male or female. It’s true: males commit the preponderance of sexual assaults at college campuses. But that alone does not make it ok to use “him” as reference to an accused student.
    The author should be more objective.

  10. What if Childress was the one getting accused with sexual assault or sexual harassment? I’d think that even people who think it extremely unlikely that a man will accuse a woman of sexual assault or sexual harassment, there was the case of Jane Gallop.

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