Unethical Op-Ed Of The Month: “Don’t Weaken Title IX Campus Sex Assault Policies” (The New York Times)

Do you know what this monstrosity of an op-ed finds outrageous about Betsey DeVos’s efforts to undue the Obama administration’s “guilty unless proven innocent”  standard for campus rape allegations?  It involves too much due process, as in basic fairness before a citizen is grievously punished and harmed by the determination that he or she has committed a crime.. The authors, Jon Krakauer and Laura L. Dunn, put it this way:

Damn right it does. Before someone is punished for a vile crime like rape or sexual assault, the accuser’s credibility and motives must be established. Astonishingly, with all the horrific examples of men being falsely accused of rape, like here, here, and here, the campus activists, feminists, progressives and the social justice warriors continue to insist that any female accuser should be presumed to be a victim, meaning that the accused is de facto presumed to be guilty.

“Sex-crime trials, like all criminal proceedings, set an extremely high bar for conviction to diminish the chance that an innocent person will be unjustly incarcerated. In contrast, the harshest penalty a university can inflict in a Title IX hearing is expulsion, an outcome that does not demand such a stringent burden of proof. In these hearings, neither party is favored, and by leveling the procedural playing field, Title IX makes it more likely that students will report sexual violence.”

The problem with this supposed fairness of “neither party is favored” is that for one party, there are no negative consequences of an insufficiently-supported accusation being rejected. For the individual accused, the stakes are far greater, life altering and potentially dire. More:

“Whenever a student is accused of sexual assault, university administrators need to render their judgment with tremendous care, because erroneously determining that a student is responsible for sexual misconduct can cause lasting harm. But just as much care needs to be taken to make sure that students who commit sexual assault are not let off the hook.”

In other words, the ends justify the means. This is the same mindset expressed in 2015 by Democratic Congressman  Jared Polis, at a congressional hearing on campus sexual assault. 

He said, earning him an Unethical Quote and an Incompetent Elected Official designation on Ethics Alarms,

“If there’s 10 people that have been accused and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We’re not talking about depriving them of life or liberty, we’re talking about their transfer to another university.”

Krakauer and  Dunn similarly shrug off the consequences to a young man of being falsely tarred as a rapist and kicked out of school: it’s not like staying in the college you enrolled in is a right. Like Polis, they pretend that there are minimal adverse life consequences from being branded a rapist. Continue reading

From The “‘Dear Colleague’ Letter Aftermath” Files: Amherst’s War On Men

Once the Obama Education Department sent out its threatening “Dear Colleague” letter that strongly hinted at dire consequences for universities and colleges that did not tilt their sexual assault disciplinary procedures toward a less stringent standard of guilt, horror stories about male students unjustly presumed guilty of sexual assault or rape have been proliferating. This is the worst one I’ve ever seen.

In February of 2012, a male, Asian-American student (“John Doe”) and “Sandra Jones,” as she is referred to in court documents, went back to Jones’ dorm room after a night of hard drinking.  John blacked out, and couldn’t  recall anything about the evening, a claim Amherst deemed “credible” during his disciplinary hearing. At some point, Sandra performed oral sex on John. Nearly two years later, Sandra  accused John of sexually assaulting her.  In his lawsuit, John Doe alleged that his adviser couldn’t speak for him, that he could only write down questions for his accuser or witnesses ( no cross examination)  and that the hearing panel was made up of administrators trained in “social justice education.” You know: Men bad, women victims.

In the school’s hearing, Jones claimed she texted a friend to come over for help because she had been sexually assaulted. The school never bothered to obtain those text messages—after all, they followed the Hillary Clinton directive that “victims of sexual assault have the right to be believed.”  Here’s what she texted to her girl friend: Continue reading

A Halloween Costume Shuts Down A School

Gas mask

Colorado’s Pueblo County High School went into lockdown for almost two hours because students and teachers freaked out over a female student wearing a trench coat and gas mask as a Halloween costume.The student was searched by authorities and not found to be  carrying any weapons, and told staff at the school that her outfit was a Halloween costume, admittedly a bit early.

Alarmed students told teachers, teachers and administrators dragged the girl into the office to be interrogated.  District 70 Superintendent Ed Smith said, “They reported immediately to a teacher what was happening…we could react quickly because of those students. When being questioned, the student said it was nothing more than a Halloween prank, but again, because of the world we live in now, we take all those kinds of things very seriously.”

Believe it or not, a SWAT team was called in and swept the school to ensure it was safe, because terrorists always signal their intent by wearing gas masks and trench coats.

The student is  facing expulsion.

Rueful observations: Continue reading

The Ethics Verdict On Rep. Polis’s Apology For Recommending That Students Be Expelled For Sexual Assaults They Probably Didn’t Commit

Apparently the demon Pazuzu and the Congressman from Boulder agree!

Apparently the demon Pazuzu and the Congressman from Boulder agree!

My rule: if you say something clearly and unequivocally with all the available evidence and defend it later in another forum, all your subsequent apology means is “Gee, I didn’t expect to get in so much trouble for that. I guess I better apologize and pretend I didn’t realize what I was doing.”

Rep. Polis of Colorado, a Democrat and clearly no student of American justice, inherited the wind with his statements in a Congressional hearing suggesting that the already manifestly unjust “predominance of the evidence standard” that the Obama administration forced on universities (you know, so women could get as many male students punished as sexual predators as possible) was too fair. First he said…

“I mean, if I was running [a college] I might say ‘well, you know, even if there’s a 20 or 30 percent chance that it happened I wouldn’t want … I would want to remove this individual. Why shouldn’t a private institution, in the interest in promoting a safe environment, use an even lower standard than a preponderance of evidence, like even a reasonable likeliness standard?”

Then he said…

“I mean, if there’s 10 people that have been accused and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We’re not talking about depriving them of life or liberty, we’re talking about their transfer to another university.”

Later, interviewed over the phone by Reason well after the hearing, Polis was unambiguous, and extensively defended his statements in the hearing, with no equivocation or doubt. Ah, but he did not expect so many publications, pundits, bloggers and ethicists to have such an adverse reaction to, you know, discarding due process, fairness, and basic principles of justice just to make the Democratic Party’s man-hating feminist base happy. So he apologized.

Absurdly.

He began with the Full Pazuzu: Continue reading

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month AND Unethical Quote Of The Week AND… KABOOM!: Rep. Jared Polis (D-Co.)

head blows“If there’s 10 people that have been accused and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We’re not talking about depriving them of life or liberty, we’re talking about their transfer to another university.”

—-Colorado Democratic Representative Jared Polis, at this week’s congressional hearing on campus sexual assault.

Well, this statement made my naive, idealistic brain explode. I’m such a sap; I really still reflexively want to respect lout elected leaders, and assume they aren’t anti-democratic, totalitarian, arrogant, mean-spirited ideologues with the brains of a mole rat. What’s the matter with me? Reading a quote like this actually hurts me. It makes me want to give up, move to Madagascar, or punch the nearest smug progressive in the face.

Sure, why not kick a student out of the school he was admitted to and planned his life around because some woman accused him of unproven sexual assault? Fairness and process don’t matter; what matters is satisfying a Democratic party core constituency. If some injustice results and some innocent lives are disrupted, who cares, as long as the victims are males?

I can’t trust or respect an individual who says something this ineffably wrong and un-American to its core. Polis is a Princeton grad, a rich and brilliant entrepreneur, gay, and supposedly a civil rights advocate. Yet he thinks it is reasonable to kick a young man out of school if there’s a 1 in 5 chance that an accusation of sexual misconduct is accurate. How can this be? Is he hostile to heterosexual males? Is he a rank hypocrite? Continue reading

Sooner Ethics Quiz: Abuse Free Speech Rights, Or Ignore Them?

David Boren, the president of the University of Oklahoma, announced that two students would be expelled from the school for leading a racist chant that was preserved on a video and went viral on YouTube. The video shows tuxedo-clad men from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity  on a bus chanting :

There will never be a nigger at SAE
There will never be a nigger at SAE
You can hang him from a tree
But he’ll never sign with me
There will never be a nigger at SAE

Who would want to be in a house with these assholes?

 The national fraternity apologized and closed the OU chapter. That was a proper response. (Tell me again what’s good about fraternities.) First Amendment specialist Eugene Volokh, however, pointed out on his blog that the expulsion was unconstitutional:

First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech. That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions …The same, of course, is true for fraternity speech, racist or otherwise…Likewise, speech doesn’t lose its constitutional protection just because it refers to violence — “You can hang him from a tree,” “the capitalists will be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes,” “by any means necessary” with pictures of guns, “apostates from Islam should be killed.”

To be sure, in specific situations, such speech might fall within a First Amendment exception. One example is if it is likely to be perceived as a “true threat” of violence (e.g., saying “apostates from Islam will be killed” or “we’ll hang you from a tree” to a particular person who will likely perceive it as expressing the speaker’s intention to kill him); but that’s not the situation here, where the speech wouldn’t have been taken by any listener as a threat against him or her. Another is if it intended to solicit a criminal act, or to create a conspiracy to commit a criminal act, but, vile as the “hang him from a tree” is, neither of these exceptions are applicable here, either.

Hey, Oklahoma…Rodgers and Hammerstein just called. They’re officially changing the name of the musical and the song to “North Dakota!”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:

Which is the greater ethics breach: the students abusing their First Amendment rights, or the University of Oklahoma violating them?

Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Overly-Trusting Law School

The almost lawyer, learning about the justice system...

The almost lawyer, learning about the justice system…

Mauricio Celis, 42,was expelled from Northwestern Law School, just before he was due to graduate, for not telling the school when he applied that he was a former felon in Texas,  convicted there for falsely holding himself out as a lawyer and also for  impersonating a police officer. Northwestern confirmed that it never asked him to disclose any criminal history, but argued that Celis should have known that his criminal record was material.

The school didn’t check on his background; it didn’t even google him. If it had, it would have learned that Celis was infamous in Texas, and called “The Great Pretender.” A prosecutor called him “the biggest con man in the history of Nueces County.”  He certainly was audacious, opening law offices in multiple cities, raking in fees, using his success as a fake lawyer to raise money for Democrats. Compared to his scam, Northwestern was timid. It just took his money, $76,000, and then expelled him without giving him a diploma.

Your strange Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:

Was it ethical for Northwestern to expel Celis?

Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: The Ridgedale Church of Christ

This is Kat and Krista. I mean, come on! Look at those two women, blatantly being a couple like this! How can any God loving, devout person, even one of their mother's tolerate conduct like this? I mean, just look at what they're doing!

This is Kat and Krista. I mean, come on! Look at those two women, blatantly being a couple like this! How can any God loving, devout person, even one of their mothers tolerate conduct like this? I mean, just look at what they’re doing!

The culture’s rapid acceptance of same-sex romantic relationships and their natural progression, gay marriage, is leading some churches to isolate themselves from basic societal values, and call into question the sincerity and validity of organized religion itself. Today’s lesson: Chattanooga’s Ridgedale Church of Christ.

Linda Cooper and her family had belonged to the church and its community for more than 60 years. Then her daughter, Kat Cooper, led the months long effort that led to the Chattanooga suburb of Collegedale becoming the first city in Tennessee to offer benefits to same-sex spouses of its government employees.Kat, a detective the Collegedale Police Department was  married to her same sex spouse Krista, in Maryland, in May. During her successful and well-publicized legal battle, Kat was supported by her mom. Linda stood by her side throughout the process. She held tight to her daughter’s hand at a July meeting over the issue. And the two embraced after the City Council’s 4-1 vote in favor of same-sex benefits on Aug. 5.  Her church took notice…and disapproved. Continue reading

No-Tolerance in Spotsylvania:Preventing the Next Columbine Spit-Ball Massacre

The parade of bizarre and cruel “no-tolerance” decisions continues unabated, proving that the learning curve for far too many school boards and school officials is far flatter than those of their most academically inept students. Neither national embarrassment nor the prospect of cruel and unjust treatment of normal, unthreatening students will sway these unethical martinets from their chosen, cowardly, self-righteous paths, as they inflict permanent scar  on the educational experience of innocent young people to prevent a future disaster unrelated to anything the children did.

The no-tolerance disgrace this week: the Washington Post reported that Virginia’s Spotsylvania High School expelled student Andrew Mikel II for the modern day equivalent of blowing spit-balls at other students. Continue reading