Contact: Teri Stoddard
Accusing U. Campaign Targets Dept. of Education Sex Directive
Washington, DC/February 17, 2012 – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is set to launch Accusing U., a national campaign designed to educate college students about the Department of Education’s new Sexual Assault Directive. SAVE says the Directive subverts fundamental due process rights on college campuses.
The Accusing U. campaign will be unveiled at a panel presentation to be held Saturday, February 17 at 10:00am at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington DC. The panel will highlight DED’s alleged anti-civil rights agenda, which affects students and professors alike.
The American Association of University Professors, National Association of Scholars, and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have all come out against the Directive (1). Over 30 editorials have criticized the mandate on civil rights grounds (2).
The erosion of civil rights of persons accused of sexual assault was highlighted in a recent Yale University case. Yale quarterback Patrick Witt, a promising candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship, saw his application blow up when The New York Times revealed he had been accused on scant evidence of sexual assault.
Because of the DED Directive, which removes the presumption of innocence, Witt was treated like a proven rapist, SAVE believes. As soon as an accusation was made, Yale felt compelled consider him an offender.
The Education Department’s Directive requires universities to use the 51% preponderance-of-evidence standard in sexual assault claims, instead of the traditional clear-and-convincing basis to establish guilt. In the case of Patrick Witt, a single New York Times article had the effect of convicting him in the court of public opinion, according to a Wall Street Journal critique (3).
The DED has expanded the definition of rape to the point that if a woman drinks a single beer – even at her initiative – and then engages in sex, the Directive classifies the liaison as rape.
“The DED sex mandate is opening the floodgates to a tide wave of false allegations of rape. So what will happen to the credibility of real rape victims? Will they stop coming forward?” asks SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook.
More information about the Accusing U. campaign can be seen here: www.accusingu.org
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence: www.saveservices.org.