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