Nation of Beancounters

Why are rape victims in the US allowed to petition their colleges instead of the police?

Posted in New Ideas by Navin Kumar on May 21, 2014

I’ve always wondered this. This article provides a rationale. It argues that the police are terrible are handling this kind of case and victims have to endure a lot of emotional trauma. However, the article admits that college administrators are even worse than the police. A better argument appears towards the end of the article:

For rape victims who don’t want to go to the police, the college system provides a mechanism where they can at least get their rapist kicked out of their class, dorm or campus. Most colleges require a much lower standard of proof: more likely than not, as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt. So in theory, on college campuses, rape victims should have much easier access to some sort of justice.

The lower standard of proof strikes me as justifiable – getting kicked out of college (or, more commonly, getting suspended) isn’t as bad as getting sent to jail. There are still many troubling questions: what rights does the accused have? Is it okay for authorities to permit a possible rapist to roam free off-campus? Is it alright for victims who are students to have a recourse that non-students don’t*? An interesting article on campus tribunals can be found here.

Still, it’s nice to finally have an answer.

*For a utilitarian, the answer to this is “yes.” However, some of those who believe that unfair advantages are inherently bad, this may be troubling.

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