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Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:04 AM

Some feminist lawyers side with Trump and DeVos.

Last edited Mon Sep 18, 2017, 08:56 AM - Edit history (2)

Looks like I'm in good company. I tried to get a conversation started on this a few days ago (see first link). Now I see that great minds run.... See Globe article in second link.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10029586036

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/09/14/surprisingly-some-feminist-lawyers-side-with-trump-and-devos-campus-assault-policy/ArigBzO86tERWpDW17DbTI/story.html?s_campaign=8315

What do the rest of you think?

I hear that the Globe is asking for payment. I'm allowed two paragraphs, right?

When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week announced plans to revise the nation’s guidelines on campus sexual assault, the predictable din of outrage drowned out the applause from some unlikely corners of college campuses: Many liberals actually approve.

Groups of Harvard Law scholars, feminist lawyers, and other university professors had long argued that the Obama-era policy for policing student sexual charges was unfair, creating a Kafkaesque system that presumed guilt rather than innocence. Now, those academics find themselves atypically aligned with the Trump administration on an issue as contentious as sexual violence.

...
Covering faculty and students, the new [Obama] guidelines demanded that schools address every accusation and adopt a weaker standard of evidence than some had already been using. Rather than proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt, as in a criminal trial, or offering “clear and convincing evidence” that an offense was committed, it called for claims to be adjudicated based on a “preponderance of evidence” — to determine whether guilt was “more likely than not.”


The Globe article declares that this made the bar lower than for any other campus infraction.

....

When DeVos raised such issues last week, legions of feminists, distrustful of a president who had bragged about his sexual conquests, bristled at the sound of it. But critics in academia and law had been voicing those same complaints for years. In 2014, 28 Harvard Law professors published an open letter in The Boston Globe criticizing Harvard’s then-new policy as “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.”


As I understand it, the DeVos policy simply rescinds the Obama-era policy.


27 replies, 2416 views

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Reply Some feminist lawyers side with Trump and DeVos. (Original post)
LAS14 Sep 2017 OP
DURHAM D Sep 2017 #1
LAS14 Sep 2017 #4
cyclonefence Sep 2017 #2
dsc Sep 2017 #3
cyclonefence Sep 2017 #6
LAS14 Sep 2017 #5
cyclonefence Sep 2017 #7
LAS14 Sep 2017 #9
cyclonefence Sep 2017 #10
LAS14 Sep 2017 #8
kcr Sep 2017 #14
LAS14 Sep 2017 #19
kcr Sep 2017 #23
LAS14 Sep 2017 #24
LAS14 Sep 2017 #11
usedtobedemgurl Sep 2017 #12
LAS14 Sep 2017 #16
usedtobedemgurl Sep 2017 #22
Nevernose Sep 2017 #13
LAS14 Sep 2017 #15
kcr Sep 2017 #17
LAS14 Sep 2017 #20
tblue37 Sep 2017 #18
LAS14 Sep 2017 #21
zipplewrath Sep 2017 #25
LAS14 Sep 2017 #27
get the red out Sep 2017 #26

Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:16 AM

1. Can't read it because it is behind a paywall. nt

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:40 AM

4. I think I'm allowed to quote 2 paras, right?

When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last week announced plans to revise the nation’s guidelines on campus sexual assault, the predictable din of outrage drowned out the applause from some unlikely corners of college campuses: Many liberals actually approve.

Groups of Harvard Law scholars, feminist lawyers, and other university professors had long argued that the Obama-era policy for policing student sexual charges was unfair, creating a Kafkaesque system that presumed guilt rather than innocence. Now, those academics find themselves atypically aligned with the Trump administration on an issue as contentious as sexual violence.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:22 AM

2. Interesting read

I confess I was not aware of the details of the Obama guidelines for reporting sexual assault on campus, but as a feminist sort of knee-jerk supported anything to help victims of abuse get justice. But the points made by the law professor about how different and much laxer these regulations are than regs about addressing other criminal acts give me pause. While my heart is still in favor of making things as easy as possible for victims' testimony to be taken seriously no matter what, my head is considering the possibility of false accusations and of consensual sex gone wrong, but then my heart jumps back in and asks what woman would want to put herself through the humiliation of reporting a sexual attack out of spite or regret? Does DeVos cite any other reasons a woman might make a false sexual assault claim?

As in most crimes, the question cui bono is key. I can't imagine reasons a woman might make a false accusation because there is no bono in it for her, but a man denying such an accusation has plenty of bono to gain.

I think sexual assault is a different sort of crime from most others--as are most forms of child abuse--and should be considered in ways that protect the victim in every way possible.

I also believe that by this time men pursuing sexual activity should have learned to get a clear "yes" ahead of time from a sober partner.

BTW the Boston Globe is now also a pay site after you use up your limited number of free viewings, so in future perhaps a summation of the article's main points in addition to the url?

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:34 AM

3. she could be mistaken

and the lack of due process affects those cases as well. She could have been passed out and think person A did it but person B was the real person who did it for example.

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Response to dsc (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:42 AM

6. Yes, but

after the decades of blaming short skirts for rape, I think we're entitled to at least a couple of years of "but what was A doing there where a woman who was unconscious was sexually assaulted, and what did he do to stop it?" If sexual assault victims deserve what happens to them because of their own actions, why don't men (who must have been somewhere in the vicinity to have been accused) deserve to be suspects because of their own actions--or inactions?

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:41 AM

5. Could you explain more fully?

I think sexual assault is a different sort of crime from most others--as are most forms of child abuse--and should be considered in ways that protect the victim in every way possible.


What is your reasoning, other than equating women with children?

Thanks, I'm editing the post.

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:44 AM

7. I am not equating women with children

Sexual assault is a crime where historically victims' accusations have not been taken seriously

For completely different reasons, including age-related ability to communicate, crimes against children have gone uninvestigated.

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:48 AM

9. OK, then let's work really hard to insure that victim's accusations...

... are taken seriously IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:54 AM

10. I understand what you're saying

and of course you have a valid point. I speak as someone who has experienced sexual assault, and I can't help my perhaps emotional response to anything making it tougher for a woman to accuse someone who has abused her. I accept that there may be false accusations for whatever reason, but imo it's more important for a victim to be believed than for someone to be unfairly accused in these cases where there *has* to be some relationship of the accused to the victim.

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 15, 2017, 11:46 AM

8. This kind of reasoning would make me crazy if I were...

... a young man. People get hatefully angry for a lot of reasons, some justified, some not. And, of course, there are documented cases of women bringing false charges. I wish I could easiley put my hands on a link.

As in most crimes, the question cui bono is key. I can't imagine reasons a woman might make a false accusation because there is no bono in it for her, but a man denying such an accusation has plenty of bono to gain.

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #8)

Sun Sep 17, 2017, 10:21 PM

14. That line of reasoning makes you crazy? Why?

Last edited Mon Sep 18, 2017, 05:58 AM - Edit history (2)

Does it make you crazy that people are generally believed when they make a burglary claim? Probably not if you're like most people. They aren't told they must have wrecked their own homes and disposed of their own belongings and lied about it. There are documented cases of just about every crazy thing under the sun, including false burglary claims. People even burn their own houses down for insurance money. But rape victims are alone in being treated as potential perps. ETA: after reading other replies by you in this thread. Where are you getting the idea that triasl by jury for rape have been removed? Because they haven't. Are you talking about in college? Colleges have never had juries.

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Response to kcr (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 08:49 AM

19. It would make me crazy to think that in the case of rape...

... I would be considered guilty until proved innocent. When you say there is no bono for the woman you are deciding he's guilty at the outset. Not wanting that to happen does not mean I don't want to improve the way rape victims are treated. In my lifetime there has been enormous improvement. The system can be changed. We need to keep working on it.

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #19)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 09:25 AM

23. You're confusing me with someone else. I didn't say anything about "no bono", whatever that means.

Treating rape as a something with special circumstances that might give it extra motivation for someone more likely to make false accusations isn't based on facts. It's really that simple. If a student beat the crap out of another student, or broke into their dorm and stole their things, or vandalized a building, no one would claim the college couldn't do anything about it until a jury convicted. It's asinine.

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Response to kcr (Reply #23)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 12:12 PM

24. Cyclone fence used the phrase cui bono... who benefits, and...

... the post you're responding to quoted him/her. Asking that common legal question and deciding that the woman can't benefit from a false charge automatically presumes the man to be guilty. That would scare me if I were a male college student.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Sun Sep 17, 2017, 08:53 PM

11. Bumping after an unwanted hiatus. nt

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Sun Sep 17, 2017, 09:19 PM

12. I am not boasting about getting out of jury duty, understand that from the get go....

I am trying to let you see into the mind of someone who has been raped. A couple of years back I was called into jury duty. When they called me to examine whether I would be a good juror, here is what I said, almost verbatim:

When I first walked into this courtroom I was going to give it my all. I was going to be fair and neutral and do my duty as a citizen. I have been sitting here, waiting my turn, for about a half hour now. My stomach has been churning and I am feeling quite queasy. I know this is not a rape case but I must give you background. I am a rape survivor. I never went to the cops because if I did, they would ask me questions about what I was doing and how much I had been drinking, as if it was my fault. I did not want to go to court because people like this prosecutor would ask me questions about my sexual history and how I was dressed. Our legal system is one that easily makes the survivor into the person on trial and being prosecuted. I am pretty vocal in the rape community and I have told a lot of people that I do not blame them for not coming forward and, in fact, I support them. I look around me right now and all I can think about is how I could not trust cops, the same ones who you have said will testify in this case. How I cannot trust a judge when one of our supreme court justices stopped a trial just to ask a rape victim what she was wearing. How I cannot trust lawyers who would turn a crime against me into a trail about me. No, I cannot be fair and if I were raped again, I would not report it because of the legal system I would have to deal with.

They dismissed me at once. It was that day that I realized that as a rape survivor, I have nothing but contempt for our legal system.

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Response to usedtobedemgurl (Reply #12)

Sun Sep 17, 2017, 10:35 PM

16. I don't disagree that their is a history...

... of not taking rape victims seriously or even blaming the victim. We certainly need to address that, and steps have been taken over my lifetime to improve the situation. But I don't think that justifies removing the right to a trial by jury from the accused.

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #16)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 09:05 AM

22. No one is saying we should put rapists in jail without a trial....

Unless I missed something. Please point to where people are being put in jail because that is what you just said.....removing the right of trial by a jury. So they are found guilty and put in jail? Where is the ACLU on this? Everyone should have a trial.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Sun Sep 17, 2017, 09:35 PM

13. I hold an opinion less popular than Title IX advocates OR Betsy Devoss

And I say all this as a strong supporter of Title IX and with a daughter in college:

The entire discussion of campus sexual assault is a discussion from a place of incredible privilege. Poor women (and thus more likely to be PoC) in the 18-25 age group are twice as likely to be victims of sexual violence as their college-attending peers. By definition, poor women who are victimized will have fewer resources -- financial, probably familial, institutional -- than the women in college. Yet the Boston Globe article talks about "the continued prevalence of sexual assault on campuses" without ever mentioning that it's really not so prevalent, is it? A 20 year old middle class woman is twice as safe from sexual assault on her college campus than a 20 year old single mom coming back to her crappy apartment after her second shift at Burger King. And the college woman has an almost overwhelming number of institutional supports in place to help with her psycho ex-boyfriend who lives in the next building over.

I'm obviously not pro-sexual assault. I do think we should remember to always look at things from different angles. Maybe we could target our limited resources more efficiently that way.

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Response to Nevernose (Reply #13)

Sun Sep 17, 2017, 10:33 PM

15. Thanks for articulating another angle that...

... had bothered me without my realizing exactly why. That is precisely what you point out. Why do college victims get special non-legal avenues to deal with their trauma? Why not all women? As you see from my post, I don't think ANY women should have non-legal avenues to have their cases tried, but it's even more egregious that only those who are priveleged enough to attend college get them.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:03 AM

17. I can't read the article so I don't know what their criteria is for calling these lawyers feminist

But I have yet to see any feminist argument anywhere that backs Betsy Devos, including anywhere in this thread, so call me skeptical.

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Response to kcr (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 08:56 AM

20. I added 2 more paras and a comment of my own. nt

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 06:31 AM

18. Four paragraphs. nt

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #18)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 08:57 AM

21. Thanks. I added 2 more paras and a comment of my own. nt

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 12:22 PM

25. Not all about legal

Last edited Mon Sep 18, 2017, 02:29 PM - Edit history (1)

The problem here is that everyone wants to discuss legal. But institutions are allowed to have their own codes of conduct, especially private institutions. And behavior that may not rise to the level of "illegal", or at least where there will be difficulty in establishing that threshold, can still expose behavior which is in severe violations of a code of conduct.

I'm not saying that accused shouldn't get an opportunity to defend themselves, but we have to acknowledge that in the past, institutions were far more concerned about the rights of the accused, than the defense of the victims. Have a few cases gone too far in the other direction? Possibly. But as a general guideline, institutions need to make sure the victim is being given a certain "credibility" standard as well.

We can talk about the benefit of the doubt of the accused, but the way that generally works out is that the victim is presumed to be presenting false testimony until proven otherwise. Alternately, as we have seen, there is far more reason for the accused to lie, than for the victim. The victim, even if successful, often has to admit to behaviors that will be judged severely, despite the fact that they are in fact a victim. But for the accused, lying generally puts them into a victim status, with sympathy being the primary result.

Institutions need to work towards processes that investigate, with an emphasis on establishing credibility, not merely protecting the rights of the accused. And they also need to be prepared to act, based upon conduct which may not be criminal, if credible reason exists.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #25)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 12:34 PM

27. Thanks. Thoughtful and intelligent. nt

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Mon Sep 18, 2017, 12:27 PM

26. This is very empowering to this feminist

It offers me hide opportunities to prevent potential computer destruction on my part.

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