May 4, 2017
Secretary Betsy DeVos
U.S. Dept. of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington DC 20209
By email: email@example.com
I am writing to encourage you to rescind the Dear Colleague letter of 2011 which unnecessarily interfered with local control of Colleges and Universities and additionally has resulted in a biased system of one sided enforcement of a class of individuals (men) without regard for due process. Worse, the systems in place due to the letter have begun to persecute victims of sexual assault.
The recent case of a male Amherst student who was himself the victim of a sexual assault serves as an example of a victim being punished (http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/11/amherst-student-was-expelled-for-rape-bu). Even those who have done nothing but engage in consensual sex have been caught up in the hysteria (http://reason.com/blog/2017/02/27/interview-student-expelled-for-rape-even). I believe there are hundreds of lawsuits against Colleges and Universities by men denied due process, and the number is increasing daily. It is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system that you are innocent until proven guilty in a competent court and given due process. Shamefully this has been thrown out at our Colleges and Universities at the insistence of your Agency and under threat of financial penalty for non compliance.
Worse, the policies have done nothing to make the campus safer for women, or men, who are victimized by rape or sexual abuse. Indeed, removing the investigations of these incidents from the police and district attorneys who have the knowledge and resources to investigate and prosecute the incident into a college administration which has no resources to this end will certainly result in felonious acts being treated along the lines of violations of campus rules. As a recently retired 34 year police officer, 2 1/2 years of which were as a NYS University Police Officer, I can tell you that in no instance I am aware has a complaint not been fully investigated within the bounds of criminal law and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The “1 in 5” study which drove the “affirmative consent” provisions has been widely debunked (http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/ten-myths/) and the knee jerk reaction to “the sky is falling”, affirmative consent, has also been widely criticized (http://www.saveservices.org/sexual-assault/affirmative-consent/). The illegal and unnecessary federalization of campus rape investigations is being pushed even further into the unconstitutional realm by such ludicrous legislation such as the “Campus Accountability and Safety Act” (http://reason.com/blog/2017/04/24/campus-accountability-and-safety-act). It is time to get the federal government out of business which is reserved to the states.
These policies, fostered by your Agency, have removed the presumption of innocence for men and denies them due process. It infantilizes women as being incapable while portraying all men as licentious lechers. It elevates minor sexual activity and later regret to the level of Rape. It is simple to see that if we treat a man and a woman engaged in the same actions as different we are denying them the Constitutionally protected right as an individual to be equally protected by law. It is simply wrong to treat people this way.
We should not condone rape or sexual assault regardless of the sex of the victim. And certainly there are incidents where where an offending party escapes criminal prosecution. But Blackstone’s formulation (and Genesis 18:23) tells us it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer. This tenet of American Common Law has been thrown out by this policy, as has the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Worse, as the innocent are persecuted there is not on iota of evidence that these policies have done anything towards reducing the incidence of sexual assault on our campuses (which I believe stands at about an unacceptable 1 in 100, not 1 in 5). Might I suggest we put this energy into teaching our young men and women not to get in situations where they may be victimized in the first place?
I look forward to working with your Agency and this Administration on returning the rights and privileges reserved to the states and to individuals back to them. I thank you in advance for your time and considerations in this matter.
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