ACLU softens its opposition to new Title IX guidelines

In the past two years, the Trump administration has done at least three good things (look, even a blind pig can find an acorn!): supporting Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez instead of the dictator Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela (not to mention sending humanitarian aid there, which has been blocked), taking a stand for Israel in the notoriously Israel-hating United Nations, and changing the Title IX regulations on investigating sexual harassment and assault so they’d provide a fairer adjudication of claims. Do I need to assert again that these three things are outweighed by the endless number of missteps and awful things that Trump and his administration have done? Well, I assert that to ensure readers, who should already know this, that I am no Trumpite.

I’ve written about Title IX before (here, here and here, for instance), and about the changes that Betsy De Vos (yes, she’s odious) has made to the part of those regulations. As I wrote before, here’s the list of changes that will take effect:

1.) Schools would now be required to hold live hearings and not closed-door adjudications.

2.) The “single-investigator model,” in which one person adjudicates all the evidence and passes judgment, would go out the window. All collected evidence would now have to be presented to a (presumably) objective third party or parties.

3.) Both accusers and accused will be allowed to cross-examine each other through an advisor or a lawyer. However, those who accuse someone of sexual assault or misconduct cannot be directly questioned by the defendant, which seems fair and protective of people’s psyches. They can, however, be questioned by a third party like a lawyer or adviser. This was something that was missing in the Obama regulation, but was recently mandated by a federal court ruling in Michigan.

4.) A “rape shield” protection will remain in place, so that a complainant’s sexual history will remain strictly off limits.

5.) Hearing, like court cases, will be conducted with the presumption of innocence of the accused.

6.) Instead of relying on the “preponderance of evidence” standard mandated by the Obama “suggestions,” schools can use either that standard orthe “clear and convincing evidence” standard, which is stricter but still not as strict as the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in courts.

And I added this:

While the regulations aren’t perfect, I see them as a substantial improvement over the Obama-era regulations, especially the standards of guilt based on “preponderance of the evidence” (>50% likelihood of guilt) rather than “clear and convincing” evidence (roughly > 75% chance of guilt) or the court standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. At present, if the finder of fact who collects the evidence—who is, unbelievably, also the judge and jury—finds the accuser even just a tiny bit more credible than the accused, it’s curtains for the latter: explusion and probably the ruining of one’s life. Sadly, even under DeVos’s changes colleges are still allowed the option of choosing “preponderance” of evidence above some more stringent standard, and I’m sure most will opt to keep the looser standards.

But the new regulations also eliminate the possibility of the investigator also being the judge and jury, which is good since it promotes objectivity; and they also allows the accused to see all the evidence against him (it’s usually a male), as well as allowing a companion of the accused (often a lawyer) to cross-examine the accuser. Such cross-examination was not allowed before, but is essential for even the most rudimentary form of justice.

In a poll on this site, readers thought that the accusations should be first handled by the police and only then adjudicated by the college (presumably only if the accused were brought to trial or convicted), with more favoring a “clear and convincing evidence” standard than other standards:

There are also changes that I’m not sure about, like prohibiting universities from investigating assaults or harassment that take place off campus. That, it seems to me, doesn’t make a lot of sense given that Title IX states the following:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

It could be argued that off-campus harassment or assault of one student by another does constitute discrimination under an education program, since the students are in college.

Nevertheless, I’m strongly in favor of changing the standards for guilt—making them halfway between the “preponderance of evidence” of civil suits and “beyond reasonable doubt” of criminal cases—of allowing the accused to have representation and to question (indirectly) the accuser, and of having the “decider” be different from the investigator.  These changes seem to me to ensure a fairer process.

But a lot of people, and many people on the Left, have objected to these changes—largely on the grounds that they “favor the accused” or “discriminate against survivors” (this assumed that all accusations are accurate), or “allow rapists to get off more easily” (that doesn’t seem to be a consideration in criminal trials). As examples, here are two editorials from student newspapers, one in the Chicago Maroon and the other in the Williams Record, making one or more of these accusations.

Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the changes, which is bizarre since that organization is dedicated to preserving the civil liberties of Americans. And the ACLU’s opposition was based on the fact that the new regulations are “unfair,” favoring the accused. That’s weird given the ACLU’s history of ensuring that defendants are judge fairly. Here are two tweets giving the ACLU’s earlier position:

Now, according to a piece by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic (click on screenshot below), the ACLU has softened its opposition to the changes, although not adopting them wholesale.

You can read the ACLU’s response here. These are the changes they support:

At the same time, the ACLU supports many of the increased procedural protections required by the Proposed Rule for Title IX grievance proceedings, including the right to a live hearing and an opportunity for cross-examination in the university setting, the opportunity to stay Title IX proceedings in the face of an imminent or ongoing criminal investigation or trial, the right of access to evidence from the investigation, and the right to written decisions carefully addressing the evidence.
But they oppose the regulations in several respects, and I agree with some of this opposition.
. . . the ACLU believes the Proposed Rule undermines Title IX by substantially reducing the responsibility of institutions to respond to claims of sexual harassment and assault. The Proposed Rule employs an unduly narrow definition of sexual harassment, allows schools not to investigate incidents that they reasonably should have known about, precludes schools from conducting investigations that would often be necessary to determine whether an incident constitutes sexual harassment, relieves schools of the obligation to investigate most student-on-student harassment or assaults that occur off campus even where they have continuing effects on campus, and allows schools to adopt unreasonable responses to complaints, holding them responsible only if their actions are “deliberately indifferent.”

Most important, they still favor the “preponderance of evidence” standard, which, by making someone guilty with a 50.1% likelihood of guilt, makes the outcome of a hearing more or less a judgment call.

More specifically, the ACLU recommends that the standard of proof for such proceedings should mirror the standard governing virtually all other civil proceedings, requiring proof by a preponderance of the evidence; that the right to cross-examination should be modified to guard against abusive questioning, to afford both students lawyers if they so choose, and to apply only when serious sanctions are possible; that the provision governing concurrent criminal proceedings should be strengthened to further safeguard respondents’ rights against compelled self-incrimination; that the provision guaranteeing access to evidence collected by investigation should be clarified to provide that irrelevant and privileged information and communications are not subject to disclosure absent a showing of particularized relevance; and that the appeal provision be clarified to ensure that complainants are entitled to appeal sanctions on the ground that they are insufficient to restore equal access to the recipient’s educational programs or activities.

The retention of the “preponderance of evidence” standard is a serious weakening of defendants’ rights, and I don’t agree that sexual harassment and assault should use the same standards as judgments for money in a civil trial. After all, the consequences to someone found guilty in a college hearing are branding as a sexual predator for life, probable inability to get a college education anywhere, and thus a severe lifelong punishment. For that I’d say that the “75%” rule is fair. Friedersdorf agrees:

 . . . many of the most serious campus disciplinary hearings strike me as very unlike most civil trials in important respects. At public institutions, agents of the state are bringing charges against a student and perhaps imposing discipline, compared with one party suing another to try to recover damages. As Scott Greenfield, a criminal-defense attorney, writes on his blog Simple Justice, “this is no ‘grievance procedure’ but a subconstitutional criminal prosecution that has consequences more severe than the vast majority of crimes.”

At the end, though, Friedersdorf punts a bit, saying that, well, reasonable people can disagree about the standards of guilt, so why not let colleges decide? His words:

And that strikes me as a final argument against the ACLU’s position [to oppose the tougher standard of guilt]. That is to say, because this is a tough question about which reasonable people can and do disagree, it makes sense to give different educational institutions leeway to adopt different burdens of proof. Perhaps the relevant tradeoffs vary with local circumstances in a way that makes different standards right for different institutions. Or perhaps a diversity of approaches is the best way to evaluate which burden is best and ought to be adopted universally at some point in the future.

This is like saying that different states should adopt different standards of guilt in criminal trials because in some states more people want criminals found guilty (or even executed) under more lax standards. Title IX was a law meant to apply to all colleges getting government funding, and to ensure that nobody was denied access to education on the grounds of sex. If being found guilty means denial of access to education, which it does, why not hold to a given standard? In fact, as far as I know, in fact, colleges are still free to choose whatever standard of evidence they want. (I may be wrong here, but that’s my understanding.) I’m not sure this is the right thing to do.

And, after arguing in favor of the Title IX changes through his entire article, why, at the end, does Friedersdorf favor a “diversity of approaches”? It’s not as if this will tell us “which burden is best and ought to be adopted universally,” for that presumes that this is a controlled experiment in which we know whether the accused or guilty or not. Further, I think that opposition to these changes often have more to do with ideology than with justice, but they shouldn’t.

63 Comments

  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I agree the changed rules are better but the bar was extremely low to begin with. Any organization that lumps sexual harassment in with assault and rape is on the wrong road to success. Rape is a crime requiring professional investigation not college administration. I also have no confidence they understand how to handle sexual harassment properly or in an effective way. It is certainly not the way I learned it.

  2. GBJames
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    sub

  3. Posted February 11, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Jerry, have you noticed how Nature is increasingly buying into far-left ideology?

    Their recent article, “Scientists protest plan to weaken US gender-discrimination law”, contains only criticisms of the proposed changes, with no counter-argument at all.

    There is, for example, no criticism at all that the current rules allow someone to be expelled from college without even the right to have questions put to their accuser.

  4. BJ
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The ACLU seems very confused these days. They oppose these changes, then try to walk back their very stupid statements four months later. They take stands against free speech.

    The ACLU can no longer be trusted. If it took them four months to start walking this back, the only logical assessment for me is that they were losing donations/support. It doesn’t take four months to figure out you were wrong about something, especially a legal issue like “people deserve due process,” and especially especially especially if you’re the ACLU. Actually, it should have taken four seconds to figure it out, and thus the string of tweets never made. The more likely conclusion is that what was said four months ago is the actual stance of the people running the ACLU now.

    This is no longer an organization dedicated to fighting for Constitutional rights (at least, not when it comes to the rights of the “wrong” people); it’s just another American institution of enormous power, recognition, and influence captured by the social justice crowd. No amount of trying to walk back stated positions months later will convince me that the ACLU is the organization it used to be.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      I don’t think donations are “the only logical assessment”. Far more likely it represents internal disputes and arguments over the issue.

      It can take four months to change your position, particularly if you are an organization, not an individual. Hell, even individuals take that long, and longer, to change their position on things. Your “four seconds” reflect (to me) that the position you hold now is the one you held before. No surprise that it is such an easy change for you!

      • BJ
        Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        It’s different because the ACLU has now repeatedly deviated from its past positions, positions it has held for decades, since its inception. Maybe it does involve an internal dispute, but that would be just as concerning. Perhaps its a combination of both. Their reputation certainly has taken a huge hit in the last year between this mess and the release of their internal document regarding how they would no longer lend their support to certain types of First Amendment cases.

        • GBJames
          Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          I just think your view that they have no credibility at all and exist solely for the purpose of fundraising is wrong. And the fact that they have changed their position here (for the best, you and I should agree) is not “the same” re: “fundraising” vs. “internal discussions”. Your position has them dammed if they do and damned if they don’t.

          • BJ
            Posted February 11, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Wow, you have really put a lot of words in my mouth.

            1. Their actions over the last year have convinced me that they are not the ACLU of the past. If they wish to regain that reputation (among myself and many others), they will need to do more than somewhat walk back this position months later.

            2. I didn’t say they “have no credibility at all.” I said no such thing at all, nor do I believe it. They have plenty of credibility among other people, and they still have some for me. I simply believe their mission and leadership have changed.

            3. Every organization (especially those that rake in tons of dosh every year) will respond to hits to its reputation and/or fundraising going down. I never said they exist solely for fundraising. I never said anything of the sort.

            • GBJames
              Posted February 12, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

              No, you didn’t say they have no credibility at all. You said “it’s just another American institution of enormous power, recognition, and influence captured by the social justice crowd”. And you said “the only logical assessment for me is that they were losing donations/support”.

              I don’t find much of a difference between your words and my rephrasing. If you reread your comments I think you may conclude that I didn’t put that many words in your mouth.

              • BJ
                Posted February 12, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

                I answered them point by point, and still you persist. You have decided on your own implications. I can’t have a discussion with someone who decides to interpret my words one way and then, when corrected, says I’m wrong about what I meant. How utterly absurd.

              • GBJames
                Posted February 12, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

                I just quoted you, BJ.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      As I pointed out in a comment to one of Jerry’s earlier posts, the ACLU never made a specific objection to the proposed changes regarding a neutral trier-of-fact, disclosure of evidence to the accused, and the right to cross-examination.

      Objections to those things could, perhaps, be inferred from the ACLU’s blanket objections, but I don’t think that was clear. I also think that there was never any sound legal basis to object to those proposed changes, as the ACLU itself now concedes expressly.

      • BJ
        Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        You’re right, all they said was that the changes favored the accused. They never said which changes specifically. When someone or something makes a blanket statement like that, we can only assume they object to the package because they haven’t made any statement on the particulars. Their objection was that the changes favor the accused.

    • rustybrown
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      @ BJ

      It’s a rightwing theme to say “The left ruins everything”, and I must say, without parsing the semantics of “left” too finely, I’m becoming somewhat sympathetic to that argument (even though the statement is too absolutist for my taste). To me, that statement is true in that when institutions are run by the left there seems to be a weird sort of ‘mission creep’ where things devolve into evermore radical and harmful leftist positions. This leads not only to a hollowing out of what was good and vital to the institutions but to
      an actual antitheses of what high-minded liberal values were intended in the first place.

      Some quick examples are Universities, Journalism, ACLU, The Boy Scouts, The Academy Awards, Title IX.

      • tomh
        Posted February 11, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        The Boy Scouts? You mean the same Boy Scouts that explicitly bars atheists from joining. Or perhaps you mean that the ‘left’ has hollowed out “what was good and vital to the institutions” when, after 100 years, they softened their position on openly gay youths joining.

        • rustybrown
          Posted February 11, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          The Boy Scouts are a private organization that can limit it’s membership however they please. See Freedom of Association, Bill of Rights. They’ve capitulated so much to leftist SJW badgering that they are now admitting girls. Predictably, membership is declining, support from traditional allies withdrawn, and their demise is likely.

          So yeah, the Boy Scouts are a good example of the phenomenon I’m describing.

          • Posted February 11, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            I am confused: I thought that Girl Scouts have existed for many decades.

            • rustybrown
              Posted February 11, 2019 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

              Bingo.

          • tomh
            Posted February 11, 2019 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            That’s pretty funny, you think those scary SJWs forced the poor little Boy Scouts into accepting girls.

            • rustybrown
              Posted February 13, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

              Nobody said anything about “forced”. But it’s objectively true that for whatever reason they did it it was because of pressure from the left, and it seems to be ruining their organization.

              If you doubt the Boy Scouts have been under attack from the left for decades, try googling “boy scouts controversies” and read about the dozens of lawsuits they’ve had to fight off over the years.

              • tomh
                Posted February 13, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

                “But it’s objectively true that for whatever reason they did it it was because of pressure from the left, and it seems to be ruining their organization.”

                You don’t seem to know the difference between “objectively” and “subjectively.”

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 13, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

                You don’t seem to be able to process an argument.

                Dude, I just pointed out the Boy Scouts have been hounded by lawsuits and bad press by the left for decades. Are you seriously arguing that had nothing to do with their subsequent slant to the left? If so, explain.

                I’ve also pointed out their declining numbers and funding which will likely be ruinous to their organization. Are you denying that? If so, explain.

                I’ve laid out objective facts. You disagree but can’t be bothered to explain how?

              • tomh
                Posted February 13, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

                What you call hounding by the left was merely a reaction to their discriminatory policies of the last 100 years. As their membership has declined over the last 20 years, and their funding has dried up (even the Mormons have deserted them) they have become more “inclusive,” in a desperate attempt to survive. There hasn’t been a “slant to the left,” there has been a clutching at straws, admitting gays, now trying to poach girls from the Girl Scouts – nothing is sacred when it comes to survival. It doesn’t matter, they are a symbol of a bygone era, and will disappear into a well-deserved oblivion.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 13, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

                “What you call hounding by the left was merely a reaction to their discriminatory policies of the last 100 years.”

                Great. Now when neo-Nazis sue to be members of the ADL we know we can count on you to be defending them agains the ADL’s discrimininitory policies.

                The rest of your argument seems to be: contrary to the Boy Scout’s charter, their admitting atheists, then admitting homosexuals, then admitting homosexual counselors, then admitting transgenders, then admitting all girls is NOT a slant to the left. I guess we can just agree to disagree on that.

                In the end, my original thesis is sound: The left ruined the Scouts.

              • tomh
                Posted February 13, 2019 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

                Only because you view through your right-wing glasses. The Scouts ruined themselves.

              • tomh
                Posted February 13, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

                And I don’t know why you’re going on about neo-Nazis suing, since the courts, including the SC, ruled in the boy scouts favor, saying they could be as discriminatory as they wanted. Your point is missing.

              • rustybrown
                Posted February 13, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

                I know the courts ruled in their favor. That’s why I originally asserted they’re protected under the Bill of Rights. I was talking about YOUR position with the neo-Nazi analogy, not the courts.

                But of course that’s obvious. I get it. You’re a troll. I’m done.

  5. Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Trump and Venezuela, has Trump said anything at all publicly about it? I’m guessing his administration took action and, even though helping Venezuelans goes against his instincts, Trump didn’t care enough to block it.

    • rustybrown
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Trump and his administration are being 100% consistent on Venezuela. Trump has said that military action is on the table.

      “Helping Venezuelans goes against his instincts”? Sheesh.

      • Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Right, I had forgotten his “military action” comment. Totally consistent that the bullying aspect of the situation is the only thing that really interests him. Nothing about begging Maduro to accept humanitarian aid, for example.

        • rustybrown
          Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          Wow Paul. Nice pivot from “Trump says nothing because he doesn’t care” to “Oh, Trump said something? He’s a bully.” Heads you win, tails he loses!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Whence would come Trump’s constitutional authority to take such military action in Venezuela, absent some express authorization from Congress (given that Article 1, section 8 commits that constitutional authority to the legislative branch)?

        • rustybrown
          Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Hopefully from no where. I’m dead set against it. My guess is it’s only saber rattling.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            I thought the rightwing hated threatening “red lines” and then not following through with them.

            Trump said he was setting a “red line” on Iran all the way during the very brief period when Mike Flynn served as his NSA. He now claims (pace the findings of the heads of the intelligence agencies he himself has appointed) that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and missiles, but Trump has taken no action to back up his “red line.”

            • rustybrown
              Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

              “I thought the rightwing hated threatening “red lines” and then not following through with them.”

              Well, first of all I’m not rightwing. Second, Saying something is not off the table is substantially different from drawing a red line.

        • BJ
          Posted February 11, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          “Whence would come Trump’s constitutional authority to take such military action in Venezuela.”

          From nowhere, just like all the other military actions of the last few decades. At this point, it’s just precedent that hasn’t actually been put to paper.

          • Posted February 11, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            Recent presidents just go to war and ask questions later or not at all. Trump would be the last to ask Congress for permission. Right now he’s portraying what’s happening at the Mexican border as a war so that executive action can be justified.

  6. Serendipitydawg
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    look, even a blind pig can find an acorn!

    I think it would have to have a head cold as well, otherwise there would be no challenge for a pig, blind or otherwise 😀

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Astute, indeed, a blind pig might probably even be more apt (less diversion) to find acorns, not to mention truffles, which -believe me here- taste way better than acorns.
      Maybe a broken clock gives the right time twice a day?

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Whence would come Trump’s constitutional authority to take such military action in Venezuela, absent some express authorization from Congress (given that Article 1, section 8 commits that constitutional authority to the legislative branch)?

    • rustybrown
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Hopefully from no where. I’m dead set against it. My guess is it’s only saber rattling.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        I thought the rightwing hated threatening “red lines” and then not following through with them?

        Trump said he was setting a “red line” on Iran all the way during the very brief period when Mike Flynn served as his NSA. He now claims (pace the findings of the heads of the intelligence agencies he himself has appointed) that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and missiles, but Trump has taken no action to back up his “red line.”

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    This is in response to rustybrown in the subthread to #5 above.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    All but the first and last of the ACLU’s current recommendations — the one regarding the standard of proof, and the one regarding the appellate rights of complainants, respectively — were already implied in the proposed Title IX changes, I think.

  10. Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Venezuela is a mess. But we on the outside should leave well enough alone, and certainly should not intervene militarily.

    • Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Fareed Zakaria made a good case for intervention in Venezuela on his “take” on last weekend’s show, starting at around 1:36,

      If you prefer reading, here’s his opinion on the same subject:

      https://trib.com/opinion/columns/zakaria-the-american-left-needs-to-find-its-voice-on/article_9adb4f7e-8227-5e22-a046-5798677a4367.html

      Zakaria recommends a book published last year, “A Foreign Policy for the Left” by Michael Walzer.

      • Posted February 13, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        The column makes no case that I can see. (It also repeats without evidence the Hizbullah connection – which is IMO a scare tactic, because I wouldn’t be in favour even if they *were* involved.)

        • Posted February 13, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          I am no expert on Middle East policy so I defer to others on that. The most important point (to me anyway) is that the Left in the US is too silent on foreign policy. When they do speak, it is almost always support for the downtrodden (a good thing) or some sort of vague anti-globalization, anti-new-world-order diatribe (a bad thing). I believe it is Zakaria’s hope (and mine) that the Left find a more unified, hopeful point of view towards capitalism, global trade, world democracy, etc.

  11. Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    It seems odd to me, with this segment of the population’s central dogmas being how ubiquitous and unstoppable systemic racism is, that they haven’t noticed that a massively disproportionate amount of young black men are affected by the lax standards of the Obama era Title IX recommendations.

    • rustybrown
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      When one sacred cow is in conflict with another sacred cow one of them becomes supper.

    • Deodand
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I’ve noticed that as well. I don’t have the case details to hand, but I know of one incident where a black student was able to prove in court (outside the school) that the campus Feminist group, to score a political point, had decided to get a male student expelled for sexual assault.

      They picked a black student because they had less access to resources and thus would be less likely to dispute the charges.

      As I remember it, he provided enough evidence to prove they either browbeat his (White) sexual partner into making an accusation or had simply arranged for one of their members to have consensual sex and then claim it was non-consensual.

      Either way, not good.

  12. John Crisp
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I have to admit to being slightly gobsmacked about PCC’s assertion that Trump is right in: “supporting Gerardo Guaidó Márquez instead of the dictator Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela.” So Nicolas Maduro, who actually won elections (and who is undoubtedly a corrupt piece of shit, but hardly the world’s only corrupt piece of shit), is a dictator, while Gerardo Guaidó Márquez, who became President of the National Assembly of Venezuela just 5 weeks ago, and has simply announced his right to be president, is… what (apart from the person most likely to go along with Bolton’s and Pompeo’s preference).

    Try to transpose this to the good old US of A. You have a couple of charismatic new (female) members of Congress, one of them a Muslim by the name of Ilhan Omar, the other popularly called AOC. What do you think about the legitimacy of one of them standing up and saying that Donald Trump is a corrupt piece of shit (which he clearly is, and quite possibly deeply entrenched in organised crime) and that therefore she (Ilhan Omar or AOC) is announcing her right to be president of the USA. Would this be a new version of the American exception?

    And by the way, there is very strong evidence that in Venezuela, as it did historically in Iran and Italy and many other countries, the US has pursued its historical practice of undermining democracy and imposing punitive sanctions in oil-rich countries, so that it can then claim to be “making the world safe for democracy” while capturing valuable resources.

    I would have thought that PCC, who often expresses nostalgia for the peaceful democratic movements of the 1960s, might be slightly less naïve about the politico-economic machinations that he and I grew up fighting against.

    • Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know the details but isn’t the thought that Maduro’s most recent election was a complete fraud. There is also the fact that Venezuela’s economy has been destroyed. Something must be done. How can it be ignored?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Since approx. 3 million have already left Venezuela how many refugees is it that Trump is letting in?

        • Posted February 11, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Zero if Trump had anything to say about it.

          • Posted February 11, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            Venezuelans need help where they are.

    • rustybrown
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      @John Crisp
      I think your skepticism is warranted. I don’t know a whole lot about this issue but my default stance is non interventionism.

    • Posted February 11, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      I think the last sentence is dangerously close to breaking Da Roolz.

    • BJ
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      There is so much in this comment that either doesn’t make sense or it outright silly that it’s hard to try and address anything, but I’ll give it a shot with a couple of points.

      1. “Try to transpose this to the good old US of A. You have a couple of charismatic new (female) members of Congress, one of them a Muslim by the name of Ilhan Omar, the other popularly called AOC. What do you think about the legitimacy of one of them standing up and saying that Donald Trump is a corrupt piece of shit (which he clearly is, and quite possibly deeply entrenched in organised crime) and that therefore she (Ilhan Omar or AOC) is announcing her right to be president of the USA. Would this be a new version of the American exception?”

      Comparing what is happening in Venezuela with a random congresswoman proclaiming that she should be installed as President via coup is just absurd. It’s like comparing apples and Anthony Hopkins playing a CIA operative opposite Chris Rock. I don’t know where to start with this paragraph because there is nowhere to start. That’s how absurd it is to make the comparison you made.

      2. “And by the way, there is very strong evidence that in Venezuela, as it did historically in Iran and Italy and many other countries, the US has pursued its historical practice of undermining democracy and imposing punitive sanctions in oil-rich countries, so that it can then claim to be “making the world safe for democracy” while capturing valuable resources.”

      You know what the actual facts say (not your “very strong evidence”)? That Chavez created a petrol state, decided to make himself a dictator, and then appointed Maduro to take over his dictatorship after his death. To blame any of this on the US is utterly preposterous.

  13. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I can fully agree with the proposed changes, the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter was one of the few (yes, there were some others) mistakes of the Obama admin.
    However, I would amend point 3. A lawyer or advisor can be just as traumatising/prejudiced (either way) as the accused or accuser. I would not want a college student (either accuser or accused) to be subjected to the grilling of a seasoned, but not necessarily objective, lawyer. Maybe the lawyers/advisors of both parties should be present?

    • BJ
      Posted February 11, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      “However, I would amend point 3. A lawyer or advisor can be just as traumatising/prejudiced (either way) as the accused or accuser. I would not want a college student (either accuser or accused) to be subjected to the grilling of a seasoned, but not necessarily objective, lawyer.”

      I’ll never understand why so many people apply this idea exclusively to rape/sexual assault victims. If it’s “re-traumatizing” for a rape/sexual assault victim to be questioned about what happened, then what about people who witnessed the murder of a loved one? Or who were viciously beaten? Or who were kidnapped? Etc.

      When searching for the truth, you can’t leave out the vital part of questioning the person making the allegations. It’s integral to any attempt at finding out what happened and it’s absurd to try and avoid it in any way.

  14. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 11, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    “It could be argued that off-campus harassment or assault of one student by another does constitute discrimination under an education program, since the students are in college.”

    Disagree. If it’s off campus, it’s off campus. It should be dealt with by the prevailing law where it occurs. When in Rome yadda yadda…

    What’s the difference if only *one* of the protagonists were a student? How would that change the situation?

    cr

  15. Hempenstein
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    So much for item 2, at the top.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/02/19/695954246/trump-officials-tried-to-rush-nuclear-technology-to-saudis-house-panel-finds


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