Allowing teenagers and young adults the ability to anonymously accuse each other of various grievances sounds like a bad idea from the start, yet many colleges and universities have adopted the process for allegations as serious as sexual assault.
Brown University is the latest to institute the policy, providing an online form where students can accuse others of heinous crimes without having to provide evidence or even their own name. Students who use the anonymous form don’t have to participate in any investigation that takes place, meaning those accused won’t have an opportunity to question the evidence against them – they may not even know who is accusing them.
Students may also use the online form to receive counseling and academic support – presumably only if they include their name.
The Brown Daily Herald article about the new reporting system fails to mention potential problems with the online form, including only quotes from activists who claim it is a win for “survivors” – a term applied to anyone who makes an allegation these days, whether their claims are valid or not.
I have reported previously on states and school systems that have instituted anonymous reporting mechanisms for serious crimes. In 2016, a law in Minnesota took effect which required all colleges and universities in the state to allow students to anonymously report accusations of sexual assault and harassment against other students. Later that year, The College Fix reported the story of a male student harmed by such a policy. As the Fix reported, the accused student was suspended and barred from campus just two days after the University of Colorado-Boulder received an anonymous phone call accusing him of raping two different women in separate incidents. The school’s Title IX investigator didn’t even talk to the two women before the accused student was suspended, and didn’t allow him access to the investigative file against him.
The student couldn’t question his accuser or the witnesses against him, ensuring he had no real defense against the allegations, yet still he was punished. He sued, of course.
This is what faces students who are anonymously accused. While activists continue to insist schools want to ignore reports of sexual assault and harassment, the truth is that accused students are railroaded by universities eager to get them off campus (no matter what the evidence shows) in an effort to say they take reports of sexual violence seriously.
One can see this in the hundreds of lawsuits filed by accused students, who are able to show that schools overwhelmingly favor accusers no matter how thin the evidence – or even if evidence exists to prove the accusations are false.
In addition to the anonymous reporting form, Brown will now expand its jurisdiction to police student behavior beyond the scope of law. The new policy returns to the days where schools act as de facto police organizations, handling allegations of sexual assault that have nothing to do with school programs or buildings except that at least one student is involved. These matters should be handled by actual police, but Brown and other universities have taken them into their own hands, with predictable results.
As mentioned previously, students have sued in large numbers over their treatment by universities, which by and large, ignore constitutional due process rights in order to find students responsible for misconduct. The issue was so bad the Trump administration enacted new guidelines requiring schools to provide basic due process rights — a requirement schools actively denounced and attempted to circumvent.
With schools so ready to punish the accused based on little to no evidence, allowing students to make anonymous accusations will only pave the way for more false claims.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.