A dean at Sarah Lawrence College, a prestigious liberal arts college in New York, has made a shocking admission: the school is not a court, especially when it comes to Title IX and sexual assault cases. However, this was not followed by, ‘so therefore we’ll turn investigations over to actual courts’, but rather was followed by a defense of the kangaroo court set-ups of Title IX offices.
A recent article in The Phoenix, the student newspaper of Sarah Lawrence, discussed ways the Trump administration might change Title IX interpretations. Under the Obama administration, the Department of Education pushed a lowered standard of evidence for college sexual assault cases, called “preponderance of evidence”, generally used for civil cases, instead of the higher, “beyond reasonable doubt” normally used in criminal cases (including, sexual assault cases).
In criticizing the national GOP for supporting a change in Title IX interpretation, a position that Bernie Sanders generally agrees with as well, the Title IX coordinator Allen Green said “we’re not a court of law” according to The Phoenix. “It would probably make it much more difficult [if the College has to use] a standard of evidence that is used in a court of law. Might [that] make it more difficult for respondents to be found responsible? It may. Right now I think that our standard says something about the expectations of students on college campuses” said Green.
Green’s admission is troubling; the goal of judicial proceedings is not to find the person accused responsible; it’s to weigh evidence to determine if the accused is responsible or not for what he or she is being accused of. However, at Sarah Lawrence it appears the Title IX office has already decided that an accused student is guilty. Hypeline News did not receive a response to a request for comment from the university.