Mizzou Faces Loss Of Funding Threat Over Lack Of Due Process In Sex Assault Accusations

Jesse Hall and the Columns on the campus of the University of Missouri on November 12, 2005 in Columbia, Missouri.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
 

The University of Missouri (Mizzou) just can’t seem to stay out of the news.

 

Earlier this week, Missouri State Sen. Bob Onder (R-St. Charles County), suggested the school might have its funding cut after concerns arose that the university does not provide adequate due process to accused students. During testimony in a Tuesday hearing, The Kansas City Star reported, Columbia, MS, attorney Chris Slusher said students accused of sexual assault regularly have their due process rights violated. In one example, he said a school gave him five days to put together a defense for an accused student. He also said schools appear to ignore exculpatory evidence.

“That’s the University of Missouri’s policy?" Onder asked after Slusher mentioned the five-day defense. Slusher replied, “Yes.”

“They might need to be asked that in appropriations hearings, too,” Onder said.

The testimony is in regard to a Title IX bill introduced in the state that would provide basic due process rights to accused students, a bill described as negatively as possible by the Star for doing so. In its article about Onder’s comment, the Star described the bill as one that “would shift the balance of power in Missouri farther toward the accused than any other state.”

In reality, the bill provides basic fairness absent in just about every state right now when it comes to college males accused of sexual assault.

In another article, the Star describes the main points of the bill but couches them in terms that try to diminish the fact that they are what people accused of heinous crimes receive in a criminal court. The article, titled “Proposed Missouri Title IX changes would give accused more power than any other state,” describes basic due process rights like cross-examination and the ability to see the evidence against someone thusly:

 

Both versions would borrow judges from the existing administrative court system to hear appeals from students punished by universities for sexual misconduct. The Senate and House bills would both entitle the accused to see the evidence against them and ban schools from declining to consider evidence. The House version alone would allow cross examination of the accused, a particularly controversial provision that critics say re-victimizes survivors.

“Entitle” them to see the evidence against them, how awful!

Further, the Star reports that the bill would allow students to sue their university if the administrative courts find the school did not provide the student due process, and allow the attorney general to punish universities for not providing constitutional rights. The horror.

Finally, the bill also allows falsely accused students to sue their accuser. It appears to need a slight rewording to ensure this only pertains to proven false accusations and not accusations where there is simply not enough evidence.

 

The icing on the cake for the Star article is quoting Wendy Murphy, a woman who consistently trashed the falsely accused Duke Lacrosse players and refused to apologize for her statements.

Onder’s thinly veiled threat is unlikely to happen, as other Republicans in the state dismissed his idea.

Mizzou has been under a microscope for years after one of its former associate professors, Melissa Click, threatened a student journalist for filming campus protests. This action brought national shame to the school, which would go on to report lower admissions, leading to millions in lost tuition and the closing of two dorms. As to the school’s campus sexual assault policies, an administrator recently said during testimony in a lawsuit against the school that a student could hold “power” over another student simply for being physically larger.

What's Your Reaction?