Schools and colleges are closed across much of the US, but some in Congress have a different priority for the Department of Education: making sure that protecting students from due process is weakened.
Miguel Cardona, the department’s newly confirmed secretary, had been in office less than a day before 115 House Democrats sent a letter urged him to “replace Secretary Betsy DeVos’ final ruling” on campus sexual misconduct.
As Minister of Education, Ms. DeVos attempted to fix court cases on campus that poorly served complainants and defendants with impromptu and opaque procedures for determining responsibility. The courts increasingly ruled that the colleges refused to go through due process with the students. The Ministry of Education conducted an 18-month rule development and issued new regulations for universities that went into effect last summer.
One of the basic requirements is that Title IX cannot be used to abbreviate constitutionally protected language. that universities must report allegations; that prosecutors and defendants have the right to stand up for a lawyer and to appeal against findings; that they have a right to be heard at an appropriate time; and that witnesses can be questioned.
The guidelines hardly afford the defendants the same level of protection as a defendant in a criminal case, but they are a necessary fix for ideologically motivated campus trials that remove any semblance of process or consistency.