Openly gay Rep. Gerald Polis (D-Colo.) is being applauded in progressive circles but rightly castigated by others for his position that “If there are 10 people who have been accused [of campus sexual assault], and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people” by expelling them.
I could go into all the ways this idea is wrong and flies in the face of liberal Western notions about justice and fairness—whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Not equitable, alas—but it’s actually a downright reasonable position, considering what Polis advocated moments later. He said:
“It certainly seems reasonable that a school for its own purposes might want to use a preponderance of evidence standard, or even a lower standard. Perhaps a likelihood standard…. If I was running a (private college) I might say, well, even if there is only a 20 or 30 percent chance that it happened, I would want to remove this individual.”
Campus sexual assault, like any sexual assault, should be prosecuted and those found guilty punished. But as terrible as sexual assault is, it’s also terrible to be falsely accused, and that happens as well. Yet due process seems to be another of those once-liberal notions that progressives no longer find relevant.
Cue the witch hunts and the inquisitors.
The charges here, however, involve a couple that dated for two years and, after the breakup, one accused the other of violations such as staring too much at him while he was undressed in the bathroom, and kissing him while he was asleep and thus unable to consent (did I mention this was a two-year relationship)?
The jilted student tried, unsuccessfully, to get his ex-boyfriend expelled. Under the Polis standard, he probably would have succeeded.
More. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds penned a USA Today op ed with the blurb: “Jared Polis’ idea to deprive college men of due process highlights toxic campus culture of discrimination against men.”