Betsy DeVos’s Title IX rules are better than the Obama admin’s

That’s the position taken by Lara Emily Barzelon in this NYT op-ed:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s proposed regulations overhauling how colleges handle sexual assault, which may become law in January, are far from perfect. But there is a big reason to support them: I’m a feminist and a Democrat, and as a lawyer I have seen the troubling racial dynamics at play under the current Title IX system and the lack of due process for the accused. Ms. DeVos’s proposals take important steps to fix these problems.

Consider this scenario: A young black man enrolls at a state university in California on an athletic scholarship. He’s the first person in his family to go to college. His teammate’s white ex-girlfriend matches with him on Tinder, comes to his apartment, has sex with him and, they both agree, returns three days later to have consensual sex.

Weeks later, the young woman, who has reconciled with her boyfriend, claims the Tinder match raped her during the first sexual encounter. The Tinder Match adamantly denies this. Her boyfriend, who is also black, says she is lying. There is no hearing, no chance for the accused to ask her questions.

But the Title IX investigator concludes that he committed sexual assault by finding her more credible than him under the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, under which the accuser must prove there is a greater than 50 percent chance her claim is true. …

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5 Responses to Betsy DeVos’s Title IX rules are better than the Obama admin’s

  1. Conservative duck says:

    Wait…what? What the hell does race have to do with that scenario? Do we not give a hoot if everyone involved is white?

    Consider this scenario: A young man enrolls at a state university in Oregon on an athletic scholarship. He’s the first person in his family to go to college. His teammate’s ex-girlfriend matches with him on Tinder, comes to his apartment, has sex with him and, they both agree, returns three days later to have consensual sex.

    Weeks later, the young woman, who has reconciled with her boyfriend, claims the Tinder match raped her during the first sexual encounter. The Tinder Match adamantly denies this. Her boyfriend, says she is lying. There is no hearing, no chance for the accused to ask her questions.

    But the Title IX investigator concludes that he committed sexual assault by finding her more credible than him under the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, under which the accuser must prove there is a greater than 50 percent chance her claim is true. …

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Perhaps the new rules are better for everyone. Maybe the author figures her message — which must be hard to swallow, as well as utter — goes down better this way.

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    • Deplorable Duck says:

      Few of us could get a paper published based on p-values of 0.5. Doesn’t seem like we should be ruining people’s lives on such evidence.

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  2. Publius says:

    An issue like this should be decided on the basis of sober analysis, not horror-story anecdotes. Those in favor of keeping the current Obama policies can easily provide horror-story anecdotes of what the alternatives might look like–and what it looked like in the past (when things were like how DeVos wants them).

    In any event, there are two issues that are muddied together here. One is whether a more direct form of cross-examination should be implemented. Under the current practices, the accused’s views are in fact presented to the accuser for response–but by an intermediary/investigator. The latter is how disciplinary proceedings in the university are in fact conducted on other matters, including ones involving expulsion. I was involved once in a case where a student was expelled for cheating. I dont remember being “cross examined: by him or his lawyer, though I was asked to respond to his view on the matter. Personally, I don’t see that it makes any difference.

    A separate issue is the standard of evidence. The horror-story anecdote here suggests that the preponderance of evidence standard means constant disasters for the innocent accused–but surely, if we are concerned with evidence, we would need more than a few instances to back up this claim. Especially as a higher standard of evidence may have a deterrent effect on people bringing complaints at all. (A greater problem, according to the evidence we do have.)

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    • thedude says:

      The key challenge is type I and type II errors are both costly here. I’m don’t think there’s ever an ideal policy. Helping hurt victims comes at the expense of innocent accused and vice versa. Encouraging early reporting to help with verification is probably the only middle ground that can help both of the parties we worry about.

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