by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef’s latest Forbes column focuses on more than two dozen Harvard law professors who have found at least one instance in which they agree with the majority of Americans that the Obama administration is off base.
The notion that America’s campuses are gripped by an epidemic of sexual assault and tolerate a “rape culture” has never had any basis in fact. It is, however, a meme popular with the feminist left – a hobgoblin they find useful. Efforts at boosting it, such as the infamous Rolling Stone article about an evidently fictitious rape at the University of Virginia have flopped disastrously.
Nevertheless, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been on a national blitzkrieg to compel colleges and universities to follow its blatantly one-sided rules for the adjudication of sexual harassment and assault complaints.
The rules, in short, make it extraordinary difficult for the accused student to defend himself.
This proved too much to swallow for a group of 28 Harvard Law School professors, who signed an open letter arguing that the rules are “inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach.” Such as?
Well, such as “the absence of any adequate opportunity to confront witnesses and present a defense.” That’s definitely basic to the rule of law in America, but either the OCR bureaucrats are not familiar with that concept, or they’re convinced that finding young men guilty and punishing them is more important than having fair procedures.
My guess is that it’s the latter. Upholding the rule of law is merely an abstraction. To the mandarins in the Department of Education, it’s far more important to push the agenda of the feminist left.
Here’s the deeper question: why should federal bureaucrats have any say in this at all?