Opinion

A warning to college parents and grandparents

Photo of Robert Shibley
Robert Shibley
Senior Vice President, FIRE

Your sons and grandsons are particularly targeted by administrators. At Hamilton College, male freshmen were required to attend a seminar called “She Fears You,” which was billed as a “cognitive and emotional intervention” that would address male-driven “rape culture” on campus and make clear what beliefs were “no longer acceptable.” Only after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work) exposed Hamilton’s plans did it make this creepy exercise optional. One has to wonder: If Hamilton truly believes that it has a “rape culture” on campus, isn’t it morally bound to warn incoming female students about it before they pay their tuition?

And the federal government has recently made the campus kangaroo courts even more marsupial. April’s mandates from the Department of Education not only required a low standard of evidence for sexual misconduct charges, but also that both sides have equal rights of appeal. This sounds fair enough — until you realize that even those cleared of transparently bogus accusations can now effectively be tried all over again. There’s a reason both sides aren’t allowed to appeal in the real criminal justice system.

Both this provision and the requirement to use the “preponderance of the evidence” are also part of a bill that has been introduced in Congress called the Campus Sexual Assault Violence Elimination (“Campus SAVE”) Act. If it passes, these unjust requirements will not simply be a matter of federal regulation, but the law of the land.

You might ask, “Is that so bad? Aren’t these students in the hands of the most intelligent and educated people in our society? Can’t we expect them to administer whatever rules they have fairly?” Quite simply, no, you can’t. Who can forget the Duke lacrosse case, where, early in the process, 88 professors signed a statement, published in the newspaper using university dollars, that presumed the three falsely accused lacrosse players guilty? Not one of them is known to have recanted his or her support for that rush to judgment. Many of them, in fact, have been promoted or gone on to more prestigious jobs. Here’s a question worth asking your loved ones’ college administrators, should you meet them: Would you agree to be tried for a crime using the same rules you provide for your students?

What can you do to help protect your child or grandchild from the perils of today’s campus justice system? Make a copy of this article for them. Look up your campus on FIRE’s website at thefire.org and study up on student rights. And if a student you care about should run afoul of the campus speech or thought police, contact us.

Robert Shibley is the senior vice president of FIRE.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1718663238 Bonnie Young

    We wish our grandson, Chris the very, very best as he begins his studies at UWM in a few weeks..May God bless and keep you in his care.

  • goodguy

    Good. College administrations are doing a lot of good to this generation and the next by clamping down on nefarious behavior. The  college is a temple of knowledge and education, to be duly revered. 

  • http://twitter.com/whatitism dennis ward

    Mr Shibley is obviously a grad of obama socialism 101 with honors and an ultra liberal to the bone. Seven out of ten students shouldn’t even be taking up space in colleges and wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for the hundreds of billions of dollars in grants and student loans that will never be paid back. It would be generous to say three out of ten students are there for the education. When the education bubble finally breaks or should I say ex plodes then maybe people will see what a huge scam our institutions of higher learning have become.

  • Anonymous

    This is reason #5,456 why I’m glad I never had kids.

  • Anonymous

    According to Stanford University, “acting “persuasive and logical” is a sign of an abuser…”

    That kind of puts them at odds with their own School of Law.  Unless they’re trying to warn us that all of their brightest graduating students have committed some sort of sexual abuse…

  • Anonymous

    The university is now there to make sure your son takes it up the arse every which way possible.

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  • Guest

    Attention parents, your child’s moral standards and ability to make good decisions are formed long before he attends college. Don’t blame it on the college. Blame it on yourselves.

    • Anonymous

       ’Don’t blame it on the college….”

      Blame what?  Are you assuming that all male college students are guilty of sexual assault? 

      This article is about the erosion of one of the most fundamental laws of these United States–that everyone is presumed INNOCENT until proven otherwise.

      The DOE and its evil minions are telling Universities across the US that they can and should preach that students have no inherent rights and that no one is innocent–rather than espousing and embracing all that makes our country great.  Instead of teaching our youth that the future is theirs for the taking and that they can be whatever they wish to be, our children are being told they must all worship the graven god of Bureaucracy at the alter of Big Brother.

      This is exactly the opposite of what ‘higher learning’ is supposed to be.

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