Here’s some good news for those of us concerned about the lack of due process on campus sexual assault cases. Three women whose sons were brought to campus tribunals on charges of sexual misconduct have just launched Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), an organization committed to “ensuring fairness and due process for all parties involved in allegations of sexual misconduct on college campuses.”
FACE’s press release alludes to the many problems that MTC writers KC Johnson and Cathy Young have identified with campus hearings: they empower unqualified campus administrators, not judges, to decide guilt or innocence, deny the presumption of innocence for accused parties, and ignore “basic procedural safeguards.” To that end, FACE intends to offer clearer definitions of sexual misconduct, provide aid to students denied due process under the current system, propose new models for campus hearings, and lobby policymakers to change their guidelines for universities.
FACE’s founders (who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) understand that campus rape is a real and worrying phenomenon. They’re careful to note that “rape is a serious felony and must be treated as such.” In fact, it is this belief that leads them to oppose the current system of campus hearings for rape cases, since rape is a violent, criminal act that warrants investigation and, if necessary, punishment, at the hands of the proper government authorities. Indeed, FACE’s founders argue that one consequence of the current system that leaves investigation and punishment to “untrained authorities” is that truly guilty parties might not receive punishment.
If FACE is successful, then, it could help restore justice to both the accuser and accused in sexual misconduct cases. Friends of due process should wish it luck.