CEI Attorney on OCR's New Sexual Harassment Procedures

Glenn Ricketts

I noted recently that the US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had mandated new standards under which colleges and universities recieving federal funds would be obligated to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Specifically, OCR now requires that all such inquiries apply a much lighter burden of proof in determining innocence or guilt. A "preponderance of evidence" - basically 51% - is all that's needed now in order to find you guilty. Many campus "harassment" procedures were already stacked pretty heavily against the accused, so the scales of justice appeared to tip even further in the same direction.

The picture hasn't gotten any brighter. Numerous commentators have blasted the new rules including Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects at the Competative Enterpirse Institute and a former OCR lawyer. He's written cogently on campus harassment codes over the years, and his most recent thoughts here and here aren't encouraging to anyone who cares about due process or the rights of the accused.

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