Senate Pushing Campus Rape Hysteria and No Due Process

Campus rape hysteria is going to be pumped up to justify a law that pretends to address the “crisis” but doesn’t allow due process for the accused.

With Rolling Stone publicly crashing and burning on a faux campus rape story that was set up by an Obama Administration advisor, you would think that Lamar Alexander would be more careful. But he seems just fine pushing campus rape hysteria.

The Daily Caller reports, “Senate Plans One-Sided Sexual Assault Panel.”

The U.S. Senate is planning a hearing Wednesday on the issue of campus sexual assault. Not invited: advocates of due process rights for the accused, or anybody else who is likely to question the narrative that campuses are rife with “rape culture.”

The hearing, being held by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), includes two whole panels on the topic of “Combating Campus Sexual Assault.” The first panel consists entirely of four U.S. Sens.: Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Dean Heller of Nevada, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. The four senators are all co-sponsors of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA), a proposed bill designed to deploy the power of the federal government against campus rape.

CASA, first introducted in 2014 and reintroduced this spring with some modifications, has several aspects that most have little objection to. For example, the bill bars colleges from using different disciplinary procedures for athletes and non-athletes accused of sexual assault.

But the bill has also drawn criticism from some for its shortcomings in the area of due process. For example, the bill refers to those reporting sexual assault as “victims” even before they have proven allegations of assault, subtly suggesting accused students are guilty until proven innocent (the 2014 bill also called accused students “assailants,” but that wording has been changed). The bill also requires schools to provide confidential advisers to anybody claiming to have been assaulted, without requiring the accused to be provided special advisers of their own, which critics say entrenches a notion whereby campus judicial hearings are seen as a way to help victims rather than a neutral adjudication process.

Senators backing the bill have often been evasive on the topic of due process, and Gillibrand has even been dismissive on the topic, saying reduced due process and lower standards of proof in campus sexual assault cases are fine “because you’re not throwing someone in jail,” as she said at a Washington Post panel in June. All four of those testifying have repeated the claim that one in five women have been sexually assaulted in college, although there are many reasons to be wary of that figure.

The story goes on to describe the second panel, which is just as badly stacked.

But when the Daily Caller asked the Chairman, Lamar Alexander, about the make-up of both panels, he insisted each consisted of a balanced group of participants.

The conclusions of these “panels” is entirely foregone. It will simply promote the dangerous hysteria that is already making campuses into no-free-speech zones.