Colleges have been losing cases brought by men accused of sexual assault. They are losing because college officials deprived the accused of due process rights. Assuming the accused is guilty is the new dangerous trend on campuses. Campus police are being taught to assume the accused is guilty as a starting point before gathering facts.
In one case of group consensual sex, a woman filed a complaint against only one participant without offering any evidence. The accused student, according to the court’s decision, was not “provided any information about the factual basis of the charges.” He was not able to examine the evidence and he was not allowed to appear before the panel deciding his case.
During the Obama administration, colleges were under intense pressure to crack down on the alleged, unproven epidemic of campus rapes. Colleges cut corners, assumed the guilt of the accused, and punished the accused without facts and without due process.
Also problem is behavioral “scientists” are attempting to take over policing. The “science” is very subjective.
Few can forget the case of mattress girl, Emma Sulkowicz, who carried her mattress everywhere on the Columbia campus only to be exposed as a complete fraud after the fact. Nor can people forget the University of Virginia case of a woman lying about rape in a frat house. The most famous fraudulent case is the Duke LaCrosse incident in which an over-zealous prosecutor, Mike Nifong, persecuted innocent men on behalf of a deceitful and bigoted prostitute.
Social work policing
There’s another more dangerous trend. Social work policing is being taught to campus police by behavioral scientists. Under the “science”, the police are instructed to first ignore the facts in order to de-victimize the victim.
Along these lines, The College Fix describes the “Trauma-informed” investigations being launched at The University of Minnesota. The approach assumes an accused student is guilty from the start of the investigation. It’s also known as “victim-centric” policing.
Taking information from the Star Tribune, College Fix states the campus police are being taught that it actively harms accusers to ask them factual questions. The cops are taught to only ask open-ended questions centering on the victim’s experience. What they were thinking during the crime and their tactile memories take precedence over recounting facts.
Officers must “learn how to adapt to victims’ experiences” before looking for facts, these “scientists” believe.
“When you start talking about your experience based on your senses, you actually start telling the tale of what happened,” Clark said. “But you can’t dictate it; you’ve got to let those victims go with it the way they experienced it.”
It’s a dangerous approach and takes away objectivity and neutrality on the part of the investigator, the fact finder. It also sets up a case devoid of facts.
Victims make up crimes all the time and many of the liars are women.
Politicization of policing
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education warned that UT police were being politicized when they were told to avoid asking certain questions of accusers:
To prevent the defense from being able to [expose inconsistencies in an accuser’s original and later testimony], the report essentially suggests that investigators avoid creating any record in which parties might make contradictory statements. So, investigators should “avoid repeating a detailed report” when conducting follow-up interviews, and they should “reduce the number of reports prepared by investigators,” all to limit the defense’s ability to challenge the prosecution’s case.
An investigator who is trying to anticipate and counter defense strategies in the course of his/her investigation is not acting as a neutral fact-finder—that is, someone who is trying to find out what actually happened.
Arizona is also worried that such slanted investigations will endanger its prosecutions. It told prosecutors last fall not to follow Arizona State’s lead in partnering with the pro-accuser group Start by Believing because it could taint their investigations with “confirmation bias.”
Injecting “Belief” into Law Enforcement
Pro-accuser organizations like Start by Believing are pushing this approach. Arizona State has been recently warned against the approach in law enforcement.
UCLA legal scholar Eugene Volokh has dealt with it on his Washington Post blog. Start by Believing is meant to be a caring approach but the interjection of “belief” into “the law enforcement investigation creates the possibility of real or perceived confirmation bias”. Confirmation bias is interpreting, favoring, recalling information that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypothesis.
It hurts the victim later in trials because it’s easily knocked down.
Volokh cites a case in Iowa in which a detective testified that the campaign required him to believe the victim, “no matter what”. The prosecutor in the case explained, “… the [Start By Believing] verbiage is what’s killing everybody in court”.
Social workers need to be social workers and police need to be police. All are doing their part and should be celebrated, but one should not assume the role of the other,. Victims need to be treated with care but ignoring facts and Due Process can never be allowed.