In a pandering publicity stunt on Monday — which also happened to be International Women’s Day — President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring the Department of Education to review existing policies, including Title IX regulations which require colleges to provide basic due process protections to students accused of sexual misconduct.
Biden campaigned on undoing the protections enacted by the Trump administration, even though such measures went through a years-long process to ensure they were properly implemented and carried the force of law. Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos first announced she would propose new Title IX regulations in late 2017, but those regulations weren’t formally adopted until 2020.
Back in 2011, the Obama administration adopted policies — infamously referred to as the “Dear Colleague” letter — which all but demanded colleges and universities believe the word of accusers and find more accused students guilty. In a follow-up document, the Obama administration actively discouraged allowing accused students any form of cross-examination, which activists claim “re-traumatizes” victims. Of course, one can’t know someone is a victim until their claims have been thoroughly investigated, and those claims should be subject to questioning during any kind of hearing or trial.
That’s how it works in the regular legal system, at least, but on college campuses, Democrats — most notably Biden — don’t want a system that provides the accused basic, constitutionally protected due process rights.
The Trump administration’s Title IX regulations ensured accused students were told the exact details of the allegations against them (many times they were only told they had been accused of sexual assault or given a date when the alleged offense occurred), provided access to all of the evidence being used against them by their school (accused students have often been barred from seeing this evidence or given an hour or two to review it in a supervised room and only allowed to take whatever notes they could), and the ability to cross-examine the evidence and witnesses against them.
The student was not required to perform the cross-examination under the DeVos rules, but rather, schools could allow the student’s advisor — possibly an attorney — to submit questions to be asked.
Numerous courts have upheld that students deserve due process rights, even on college campuses where they face expulsion and not jail. Hundreds of accused students have sued their colleges and universities (and that’s just the number who can afford an attorney) after being punished. I’ve likely written hundreds, possibly even thousands, of articles about these students and their stories — how the allegations against them were often thin to begin with, how the accusers had ulterior motives for making the claims, how the schools ignored exculpatory evidence in order to punish the accused, even breaking their own policies to do so.
Meanwhile, when Democrat politicians who advocate for these policies are accused themselves, they want the very protections they would refuse college students accused of the same actions.
Biden has been the most prominent Democrat advocating for these policies, providing endless lectures condemning men as perpetrators and women as victims. He pushed every catchphrase he could, from “It’s On Us,” to “Believe Women.” Rarely, if ever, during these lectures did he mention anything about investigating allegations or giving the accused a chance to defend themselves, yet when Biden was accused last year by former staffer Tara Reade, suddenly “Believe Women” no longer meant what it was clearly intended to mean.
Believe women inherently means believe all women, and no one repeating the phrase ever suggested otherwise. When Biden was accused, however, he insisted that believing women actually meant “that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced,” but also, “their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”
That second part only came into existence when Biden was accused, yet the steps he is taking to undo the due process protections granted by the Trump administration would remove that second part from college students accused of actions similar to Biden.
Even after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) was accused by six women of sexual harassment and misconduct and made a similar statement about investigations, Biden has signaled he wants to end thorough and fair investigations for others.
For Biden – and Cuomo – it’s “believe women” except for the ones that accuse them.