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Cabinet chief: adjustments needed re college sex-crimes accusations

Current U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently offered up comments on the issue of campus-based handling of sex-crimes cases at colleges and universities across the country. Her tone was emphatic, with the words she delivered being blunt and manifestly clear.

"Survivors [of campus assaults] aren't well served when they are re-traumatized with appeal after appeal because the failed system failed the accused," she told an audience near the White House.

The "failed system" charge has been a recurring mantra for ranking officials in the Trump administration, and a pointed barb aimed at guidelines handed down several years ago during the Obama presidency.

Although legions of advocates across the county laud the effects they say were directly inspired by the Obama-era guidance (including a lowered threshold of proof employed at campus hearings for finding guilt and culpability), a large number of naysayers have also emerged.

And their claims are equally impassioned. Chief among them is the belief that political correctness has materially skewed what should be a level playing field for the accused into forums on campuses across the country that prejudge and dramatically undermine the constitutional rights of accused individuals.

DeVos did not mince words in expressing her feelings on what she perceives as serious due process problems inherent in campus sex-crimes proceedings, referring to administrators' misconduct hearings as "kangaroo courts."

DeVos's speech earlier this month was strong in tone but short on details, as noted in a New York Times report. Although newly issued guidelines seem to be a foregone conclusion, they will be preceded by a soon-to-commence public comment period.

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