It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
Alleged rape victims sue University of Tennessee over respecting due process
Several women allegding sex assault filed a lawsuit against their school for creating an alleged hostile environment:
Six women filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the University of Tennessee has created a student culture that enables sexual assaults by student-athletes, especially football players, and then uses an unusual, legalistic adjudication process that is biased against victims who step forward.
They cite dozens of examples in the suit, most of which have nothing to do with their specific cases and are not sex offences. The group argues, however, that the school’s permissive attitude created an environment that promoted the alleged sexual assaults.
One could make such an argument. Many schools do have separate standards for student athletes, and it is not uncommon for such students to get a pass when they behave badly. It is possible that this would include instances of sex offences.
Where the lawsuit gets bizarre is in the the last accusation:
The plaintiffs say that UT’s administrative hearing process, which is utilized by public universities across the state, is unfair because it provides students accused of sexual assault the right to attorneys and to confront their accusers through cross-examination and an evidentiary hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge who hears the case is appointed by Cheek, the lawsuit says.
In other words, it is unfair to provide accused students their right to due process. They should not be allowed to question their accusers. They should not be allowed to defend themselves. They should not be allowed to even see the evidence against them. This is “unfair” to the accusers.
The reason this appears in the lawsuit is because some of the cases in Tennessee have been dismissed due to lack of evidence. This lack of evidence would only come out found during evidentiary hearing or if the accused could question the accuser. As noted in another article:
It’s worth remembering why UT is not rushing to judgment: Its Chattanooga administration’s adjudication of an accused student got swatted down by a judge last summer, who said the burden of proof was on the school to show that (surprise) a student athlete didn’t obtain consent from his accuser. In other words, “affirmative consent” is not legally enforceable. […] This is what the group of six rape accusers want to end – a procedure that puts complainant (accuser) and respondent (accused) on the same legal footing. Where accusations don’t equal guilt. Where there’s not a predetermined result to satisfy a federal witch hunt backed by financial threats.
This is ridiculous and unethical. While it is understandable to decry a school protecting its student athletes (who are often the people the schools use to make money), it is indefensible to argue that we should remove due process because sometimes the accuser’s story does not parse. Yet this is the stage we have reached, where accusers and their supporters will trample other people’s rights for the sake of protecting someone else’s rights.
We will see whether the lawsuit continues. It is difficult to see how it this will go forward given the nature of the accusations. The complainants are essentially arguing the school acted improper by not violating the accused’s constitutional rights.