Campus Kangaroo Courts: Blame Colleges, Not Just the Federal Government

Article here. Excerpt:

'Serving on a panel that hears Title IX sexual-assault complaints on college campuses sounds like a full-time job. According to a recent story in the Chronicle of Higher Education, at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, students, faculty, and staff who volunteer “are trained in the Wisconsin system’s conduct code, which is written into state law. They also complete an annual course on sexual assault and sexual misconduct, developed by system lawyers. [They learn] about the definitions of sexual misconduct and related terms . . . the nuances of consent and on trauma-informed questioning.” If universities don’t train panelists according to rules set by the federal Department of Education, they could be accused of contributing to the very “hostile environment” they are meant to combat.

At large schools with a lot of faculty and administrators it may be easier to spare someone to serve in such a role — the University of Virginia has 50 people who have been trained to do so. But at smaller schools, things are harder. Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, and UMass Amherst band together and loan each other administrators to serve on such panels. According to the Chronicle, one college couldn’t find anyone to serve, so it had to get its librarian to oversee hearings.

Schools may lament that this training is both time-consuming and costly, but they have only themselves to blame. Sure, the federal government imposes these requirements today, but it was colleges that started us down this road.

Disciplinary panels — including ones that involved students — were set up in the ’60s and ’70s to adjudicate violations of schools’ honor codes, such as plagiarism. But as university faculty and administration began to see their role as more expansive, these panels experienced “mission creep” and started hearing cases of actual crimes. In 1980, University of Virginia assistant dean of students Edward Golden looked into how colleges were handling these matters. Among the 58 institutions he surveyed, 36 percent did not allow cross-examination, 55 percent did not guarantee an impartial judge or jury, 60 percent did not guarantee students the right to confront their accusers, and 91 percent did not make witnesses testify. In 1999, with their book Shadow University, Harvey Silverglate and Alan Kors documented how colleges across the country had created disciplinary systems that violated students’ due-process rights.'

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... being a problem for trad'l unis if they weren't so greedy. You simply make your college non-residential or better yet, virtual. Cheaper and arguably better colleges are popping up that serve up coursework and grant degrees. No going to classrooms, no problems of really any kind. Of course such colleges don't collect the exorbitant rent they charge kids for their lousy dorm rooms, too. There's the rub.

Residential colleges make most of their money charging room and board. Now that they are hiring temp worker teachers instead of tenured professors most of the time, they are making some bank on classes. But the real money is in room and board. Colleges'd rather get sued by students for breach of contract, violation of legal rights, etc., than lose that room and board income.

If there's an epidemic of sexual assault on colleges campuses, and if colleges were serious about stopping it, they'd go non-residential. But they know there is no such epidemic. Further they'd rather make bank on kids living on campus vs. making everyone feel utterly safe at all times by keeping the students apart from one another.

Education isn't the modern uni's mission, however. It's to make money.

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