Turning tide in war on college men? A Georgia state legislator is standing up for the due process ri
I’ve written before that there seems to be a war on college men, a campaign to subject them to kangaroo-court procedures in which to be accused of a crime is to be presumed guilty, and to punish them severely. It’s reaching the point that many campuses are becoming hostile educational environments for male students.
But now we’re seeing pushback in a big way, in the state of Georgia, where state universities are being told to provide due process for accused students if they want funds. The prime mover is Georgia State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, who chairs the Georgia House Appropriations Subcommittee On Higher Education.
Erhart held hearings in which he focused in particular on unfair procedures at theGeorgia Institute of Technology, better known as Georgia Tech. In one case, a fraternity was suspended for a crime that, basically, couldn’t possibly have happened. A student accused a fraternity of hurling racial insults at her. The university ignored video footage that showed nothing happening and evidence that the windows from which fraternity members were supposedly shouting insults had been sealed for years.
Nonetheless, Georgia Tech put the fraternity on “suspension in abeyance,” something that sounds a bit like the “double secret probation” from the movie Animal House, but that actually meant that the fraternity was banned from intramural sports and socials. Fraternity members were also required to undergo re-education — excuse me, “sensitivity training,” — before the sanctions could be lifted.
In another case at Georgia Tech, a student was accused of sexual assault, reportedly for helping a drunk woman home and not doing anything to her. No, really. Here’s how Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner, who covered Monday’s Georgia legislative hearings, reported it:
“The mother of the student accused of sexual misconduct also spoke. She told a story of her son helping a drunk woman home when she had lost her key. The accused student let the woman wait at his apartment until her roommate returned home to let her in, so that the woman wouldn't be alone outside in the cold. Sometime later, another young woman accused the student of holding the alleged victim against her will, despite text messages from the drunk woman thanking the accused student for his help. The text messages were not allowed as evidence in the hearing. Even the alleged victim didn't even believe she was the victim of anything. Yet on the word of a third party, the accused student was suspended.”
(In yet another case, Tech was ordered to reinstate a student falsely accused of rape, even as it faces other lawsuits.)
Rep. Erhart says that’s enough. Students, he notes, have a property right in their tuition and housing, and government entities — which state universities are — can’t take people’s property without due process. A campus kangaroo court in which offenders are presumed guilty and exculpatory evidence is excluded isn’t due process.
As Erhart says: “You want to talk about ‘safe space’? In the vernacular of campus discussion today, there’s no safe space for young men at Tech. You want to be safe? Go to class, then go run and hide in your dorm. That’s where we are at Tech right now.”
And while university educrats point to threats from President Obama’s Department of Education, Erhart has a threat of his own: "You think you've got an issue with federal bureaucrats threatening your federal funds? ... This committee controls your funds, Mr. President, and I want to see a clear statement from all of you — beyond what the [Board of] Regents is requiring — before I'm even going to have a conversation with you about your budgets, presidents."
Erhart says that he wants to see "simple, basic due process protections,” before he’ll even talk to college presidents, like Georgia Tech’s President G.P. "Bud" Peterson, about funds.
He’s right, of course. As universities have seemed, over the past year or two, to be going right off the rails, it’s time for some adult supervision. I’m glad the Georgia legislature is ready to provide it, and I expect we’ll see similar increased oversight in many states. With the adults back in charge, perhaps colleges will end the war they’ve been waging against their male students. It’s time.