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University wants due process for itself, but not its male students

The University of Virginia and Virginia Democrats lobbied the Education Department to provide the school due process, something not afforded to its own students.

Specifically, the university wanted due process and fair treatment from the Education Department as it investigated the school for violations of the anti-gender discrimination law known as Title IX. But when the school conducts Title IX investigations of students accused of sexual assault, such due process is nowhere to be found.

It's a clear case of "due process for me, but not for thee."

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, urged the department to be fair to the school, fearing that the university would be denied "very basic requirements of due process." He also worried about an "unfair or unjust process," according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.

Two other state Democrats, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, also pleaded with the department and asked that it give McAuliffe's concerns "careful consideration." As these top Democrats were making their case, the university itself requested fairness.

It's easy to see why the politicians and school officials thought the investigation would not be conducted fairly. At one point, the department's Office for Civil Rights, which oversees Title IX investigations, drafted a resolution agreement for university officials to sign. This agreement is a commitment from the school to overhaul its policies and procedures relating to sexual assault, sexual harassment and other Title IX-related accusations.

The thing is, according to U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan, the agreement was sent for signing before the school even knew the results of the investigation. How was the school supposed to update its policies if it didn't even know what it was doing wrong?

While OCR appeared to be playing a game of "gotcha," it is rich that Sullivan, U.Va. administrators and Democratic politicians were harping about due process and fairness.

McAuliffe convened a task force (the most useless of all forces) to come up with recommendations about how to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault. The recommendations from the task force include the words "due process" four times throughout the document, but do not outline any such rights.

Warner is a cosponsor on the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, a bill that eviscerates due process protections for accused students. The bill mentions the words "due process" three times, but again doesn't actually provide those rights. And if you listen to the lead sponsors of the bill talk about the issue of campus sexual assault, it's clear due process is not one of their concerns.

Kaine is the cosponsor of another campus sexual assault bill, one that significantly tilts the playing field in favor of the accuser by providing them with a campus advocate and "information on legal services" without providing the same for accused students. The bill also ensures that accusers can never be disciplined for reporting, even if they make a false accusation.

And then there's Sullivan. This is the woman who throughout the Rolling Stone gang-rape debacle treated the accused fraternity as guilty, even after she acknowledged that the story was false. She punished the fraternity even when she knew all along that the accusation in Rolling Stone was false. See, Sullivan had access to the report from the accuser in that story. She knew it was a lie all along, yet when the story came out, she rushed to punish the fraternity. She maintained that facade even as the story crumbled.

Ultimately, U.Va. was found in violation of Title IX (as was every other school investigated by OCR). The school's latest policy doesn't provide due process for accused students. They can't have legal representation (only an "adviser" — who may be an attorney — who can't speak on their behalf) and they can't cross-examine their accuser (they can only submit questions for a hearing panel to ask, and the panel may choose not to ask all or any of the questions and may ask them in an inaccurate way to provide the accuser more credibility).

But that is what accused students face under the current campus hysteria: schools and politicians who are concerned with due process for themselves, but not for the accused students.

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