University of Michigan student accused of rape allowed to question accuser

A court has ruled: the University of Michigan must allow a student accused of rape the chance to question his accuser’s story. This due process protection has not been widely granted to college students who go before college tribunals that assess their guilt.

There has been momentum toward change, however.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will soon release new guidelines aimed at relaxing the previous administration’s policy toward protecting victims of sexual harassment which were criticized for being unfair to the accused.

While Obama’s policies did not preclude an open hearing (as was granted in the Michigan case), colleges were free to choose their approach to justice.

Live hearings are not universally popular among colleges because they leave decisions to a panel of students or college staff rather than an investigator trained in Title IX. Title IX is the 1972 civil rights law that does not allow sexual discrimination in education, and is the legal basis for sexual harassment policies on college campuses.

Remember a few years ago a Columbia student carried her mattress on campus for most of one school year? It was all over the news. That student pushed the narrative on victims’ rights in college, and we thought you might want to Geek out on it.

Should students accused of rape face a college tribunal to decide his or her fate? Or should college students try their cases in the criminal courts? Let’s take a look.

Read more here from Inside Higher Ed.

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