Sexual assault is a huge issue for college students – one that President Obama’s administration decided to address directly with a nation-wide campaign for safer campuses.
But one GOP legislator from North Carolina doesn’t agree – in fact, he wants to see laws aimed at preventing sexual assault on college campuses repealed entirely.
Mark Meadows (R-NC) made a recommendation this week to the incoming Trump administration that campus sexual assault guidelines implemented in 2011 should be dismantled.
What’s his reasoning? He’s afraid those guidelines “deny the often-innocent accused basic due process rights”. Furthermore, he worries that guidelines for how universities/colleges should deal with sexual assault “has pressured colleges to spent hundreds of millions of dollars and to create vast campus bureaucracies.”
Let’s remember for a moment why the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights decided to set guidelines in the first place:
- The World Health Organization called rape and sexual assault a “global epidemic”, with 1 in 3 women world wide experiencing sexual violence.
- The Association of American Universities conducted a study surveying 150,000 students at 27 colleges/universities, discovering 23.1% of female undergraduates report “sexual contact involving physical force or incapacitation since enrolling in the college”.
- Rape and sexual assault are vastly underreported, and the majority of rapists are never convicted of their crimes.
- In some cases, even when rapists are charged and convicted, their sentences are shockingly light (think Stanford swimmer Brock Turner).
It seems this legislator is so caught up in the concept that bureaucracy and spending is bad that he’s turning a blind eye to the suffering of sexual assault victims everywhere. Clearly, he doesn’t understand the issue, and he likely doesn’t care much.
Furthermore, his claim that “often innocent” rapists don’t receive due process is extremely alarming. While any accused criminal is owed due process of law, there is a deep history of law enforcement brushing off sexual assault crimes that can no longer be ignored.
According to the Director of Education at “End Rape On Campus”, Sofie Karasek, the number of false rape accusations is around 2%-8%, about the same as accusations for other crimes.
Victims of sexual assault have historically been ignored and not taken seriously; in some cases their reports go completely un-investigated. This has, in part, led to the issue of many people never reporting their assault in the first place.
Part of what the Department of Education’s 2011 guidelines did was make sexual assault a more visible and discussed issue on campus. Part of what it did is make sure colleges are ready to take any report very seriously.
Dismantle those guidelines, and allow college campuses to step back measures to address and prevent sexual violence. It’s as simple as that.
Meadows requested the dismantling of the 2011 documents along with a recommendation of 300 currently standing rules that he believes the Trump administration should remove.