April 17 2013
Carrie L. Lukas
Who knew that American college students are required to surrender the Bill of Rights at the campus gates?
Judith Grossman, a lawyer and mother, asks that question in an oped in today’s Wall Street Journal describing her son’s experience being brought before a campus “tribunal” after an accusation of sexual misconduct.
Grossman’s story is undoubtedly an eye-opener for many who like her, who consider themselves feminists and presume that Title IX and any law given a name alluding to protect women against discrimination and violence must be an unadulterated good. I hope that many read this and learn about how our federal government is using Title IX on campus to strip away the presumption of innocence and subject students to kangaroo courts that can have serious impacts on their prospects.
Yet I can’t help but be frustrated by Grossman’s questions. Perhaps she didn’t know how Title IX and many of our laws surrounding sexual harassment are open to abuse and used as a weapon against innocent men, but she should have known.
IWF has written about the most recent moves by the Administration to push colleges to further tilt campus “justice” systems to deny the accused rights. But anyone who remembers the Duke lacrosse scandal should be aware of how the legal system—any legal system, let alone the pseudo-campus legal system—can be perverted and used to slander innocent people.
Violence against women is a serious problem, particularly on college campuses and we need to create a system that allows women to bring criminals to justice. Yet our desire to protect women ought not overwhelm the basic concept of the presumption of innocence. We also shouldn’t be so naïve as to fail to recognize how some women will use a false accusation as a weapon.
I hope that Grossman’s article inspires feminists—particularly those who have sons, husbands, brothers, fathers or any other man in their life who they love—to take a new look at what’s going on on campus and open their minds to reforming Title IX with an eye toward balance and true justice.