Center for Prosecutor Integrity Calls on 18 Attorneys General to Support Reforms to Campus ‘Kangaroo Courts’

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WASHINGTON / April 30, 2020 – The Center for Prosecutor Integrity is today releasing a Statement calling on 18 Attorneys General to remove their names from a recent letter sent to the Department of Education, and instead work to support reforms to campus disciplinary committees, sometimes referred to derisively as “Kangaroo Courts.”

In 2011 the U.S. Department of Education issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” on sexual violence. The Letter mandated that campus committees handle all allegations of sexual misconduct, thereby serving to marginalize the role of law enforcement in these cases, which often involve allegations of criminal misconduct.

Subsequent experience revealed the committees have not been effective in increasing reporting or reducing campus assaults. One report documented that despite all the effort, 89% of colleges received zero reports of campus rape in 2015.

According to a another report from the Association of American Universities, the problem of campus sexual misconduct has worsened: “For the 21 schools that participated in both the 2015 and 2019 surveys, the rate of nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force or inability to consent increased from 2015 to 2019 by 3.0 percentage points (to 26.4 percent) for undergraduate women, 2.4 percentage points for graduate and professional women (to 10.8 percent).”

Other reports have documented widespread due process violations of accused students and faculty. The American Association of University Professors notes that faculty members have seen their free speech curtailed by overly broad definitions of sexual harassment. Former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder, who now teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University, recently described his ordeal at the hands of an inept campus committee as an “unimaginable nightmare.”

Despite these documented failures, 18 Attorneys General recently called on the Department of Education to delay release of a new regulation that would reform the widespread abuses.[1] The 18 Attorneys General represent the following jurisdictions: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

The CPI Statement Regarding the Letter from 18 Attorneys General to the Department of Education Regarding Campus Sexual Assault is available online: http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CPI-Statement-Regarding-the-Letter-from-18-Attorneys-General-4.29.2020.pdf

Full citations are available here: http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/pr/center-for-prosecutor-integrity-calls-on-18-attorneys-general-to-support-reforms-to-campus-kangaroo-courts/

The Center for Prosecutor Integrity is working to strengthen prosecutorial ethics, restore due process, and support criminal justice reform.

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