On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union came out against the Title IX reforms proposed by the Trump Department of Education, led by Betsy Devos. Those reforms are based on preserving the rights of the accused while still protecting accusers in sexual assault cases – but the ACLU, caving to the woke Left, has decided that it is no longer worthwhile to protect such accused people. Civil liberties go by the wayside when it comes to sexual assault, apparently.
The Title IX reforms, as David French aptly describes at National Review, requires colleges to end their kangaroo courts when it comes to sexual assault – courts that have caught up students in an un-American, Kafka-esque process of proving their innocence. The new rules require colleges to permit cross-examination of witnesses including the accuser by attorneys for the accused, and stops universities from allowing evidence from those who refuse cross-examination. Furthermore, the new Title IX regulations allow the accused to see the evidence given against them – and yes, there were schools that prohibited the accused from even knowing the nature of the accusations against them.
The rules also tighten up the definition of sexual harassment, which had been expanded to encompass behavior up to and including language regarding gender or sex alone. As French states:
The new proposed rules, by contrast, apply controlling language from the Supreme Court to define sexual harassment as sexual assault, quid pro quo harassment, and “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity.” Through this change, the DOE finally conforms its harassment definition to the language of Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, a case that defined the standard for peer-on-peer hostile-environment sexual harassment. The Davis standard serves the purpose of protecting students from true harassment and protecting students from arbitrary, truly subjective claims of offense.
The ACLU’s response to all of this – which is the least due process guarantees with regard to sexual assault – was to oppose it. Following on the ACLU’s decision to oppose the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh based on nothing but Leftist politics, now the ACLU has abandoned its raison d’etre: civil liberties. Here was their statement, via Twitter:
We advocate for fair school disciplinary processes that uphold the rights of both parties in campus sexual assault and harassment cases. Today Secretary DeVos proposed a rule that would tip the scales against those who raise their voices. We strongly oppose it. The proposed rule would make schools less safe for survivors of sexual assault and harassment, when there is already alarmingly high rates of campus sexual assaults and harassment that go unreported. It promotes an unfair process, inappropriately favoring the accused and letting schools ignore their responsibility under Title IX to respond promptly and fairly to complaints of sexual violence. We will continue to support survivors.
“Inappropriately favoring the accused” is a phrase no one could have rightly expected from the ACLU in the past. But being truly woke means taking your civil liberties principles out to a corn field and then burying them alive like Joe Pesci in Casino.