The U.S. Senate Must Vote No On Lhamon

Support Due Process, Not Catherine Lhamon

Teresa R. Manning

The United States Senate is set to vote Monday on Biden's nomination to head the Office for Civil Rights in the Education Department, the infamous Catherine Lhamon.

Ms. Lhamon held this same position in the Obama administration and is now notorious for her callous disregard for basic due process rights, such as the presumption of innocence, the right to see evidence, and the right to impartial investigators and adjudicators.

More than 500 cases have gone to court where students and faculty claim they were wrongly accused of sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX and were then railroaded by campus star chambers. Judges have found in their favor in over half of these cases.

"The basket of rights called due process, including the presumption of innocence and the right to see evidence, is the bedrock foundation of the American legal system. The parallel, alternative campus system ushered in by Catherine Lhamon, which denied the presumption of innocence and featured ideological investigators, was a disaster for countless innocent students and faculty members, as the hundreds of court opinions finding against schools attest," says NAS Policy Director Teresa R. Manning.

"A lot of progress has been made to protect due process on campus since those lawless days, especially the new Title IX regulation, upheld by every court to review it," Manning continued.

"But Biden's nomination of Catherine Lhamon to serve in this role again, where she can oversee the targeting of innocent parties again, is a slap in the face to all Americans who believe in due process and opens old wounds for those denied campus due process in the Obama years."

Monday's vote is of special concern for NAS members who are professors since Title IX under Lhamon will not only threaten due process but will also threaten free speech and academic freedom.

"The weaponization of Title IX has hurt faculty as much as students. Many professors - Richard Paxton, Peter Boghossian, Lee Strang, to name only a few recent, public cases - have been subjected to campus Title IX kangaroo courts for expression of their ideas, rather than conduct or true harassment. This appears intended to control thought as well as speech, undermining one central purpose of higher education.”

“The United States Senate must champion basic due process rights as well as free speech and academic freedom on campus; it must therefore reject the nomination of Catherine Lhamon to head the Office for Civil Rights in the Education Department."

NAS encourages all its members to contact their Senators in Washington, D.C. to vote NO on the Lhamon nomination. Members with Democratic Senators are especially encouraged to act, including members in West Virginia and Arizona, represented by Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, respectively. They are key swing votes in this fight and should be urged to support due process, not Lhamon.

Photo by United States Mission Geneva; Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary, Department of Education // CC BY-ND 2.0

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