Duke's "Independent Investigator" Erodes Due Process by KC Johnson
The Obama administration's Task Force recently contained a jarring recommendation to minimize the minimal due process protections that accused students on campus possess. Some schools, the report noted, "are adopting different variations on the 'single investigator' model, where a trained investigator or investigators interview the complainant and alleged perpetrator, gather any physical evidence, interview available witnesses--and then either render a finding, present a recommendation, or even work out an acceptance-of-responsibility agreement with the offender."
How might such a process work in practice--keeping in mind that universities, which are under extraordinary governmental and activist pressure to increase guilty findings, hire the investigators? It's surprisingly difficult to answer this question, since few (if any) colleges publicly identify the criteria they use for outside investigators, or even whom they hire for such a task. But given the general attitudes toward due process on campus, it's hard to imagine that many of these "investigators" should be viewed as independent in any meaningful way.