When asked about how "yes means yes" policies empower accusers, University of California president Janet Napolitano responded that they "shift the burden of proof," essentially turning the justice system on its head.What a terrible tragedy it is when discovery turns up exculpatory evidence! How horrible that must be for the administrators who are under constant pressure to find more "victims"!
"It really, in a way, shifts the burden, so that the survivor isn't the one always trying to explain what happened," Napolitano said.
...Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., was the first senator to bring up due process. He told the story of a woman he had spoken to who believes she had been wrongly accused. Cassidy asked how schools could better address the rights of the accused.Oh? Why? She don't say. Just as adversarial hearings are supposedly too difficult for accusers, so, apparently, are deliberative proceedings in which opponents can cross-examine and rebut flaky and specious testimony.
Napolitano jumped in, saying "we're actually looking in to that right now." This would seem to indicate that such rights were not considered previously — certainly not last year when she convened a task force to address the issue of campus sexual assault.
The University of California, over which Napolitano presides, was recently excoriated by a federal judge for providing students with an "unfair" hearing. Perhaps that is why Napolitano is "now" looking into due process rights.
When Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate HELP committee, asked the panelists how to ensure a fair hearing is held involving an accusation of sexual assault, a noticeable six-second silence followed.
Napolitano again mentioned that UC was "looking into" the issue of due process rights, but the way she talked about what those rights should look like was dismaying.
"It does illustrate the difference between a student disciplinary proceeding and a criminal proceeding," Napolitano said. "The confrontation rights, for example, they should be different for students."