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Are Deans ‘Out of Their Depth’ When it Comes to Sexual Assault?

By February 12, 2013

Yesterday, Boston NPR news station WBUR’s website published an interesting article from Brandeis University journalism professor and Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen McNamara titled “Deans Are Out Of Their Depth: Sexual Assault On College Campuses.” McNamara begins her article by flatly saying that colleges are not competent to try sexual assault cases:

Colleges need to get out of the law enforcement business and start turning over all sexual assault allegations to police, refocusing their own efforts on educating students about rape to prevent attacks that are as commonplace as they are underreported.

The deans are out of their depth, dodging an open discussion of what has become a national scourge by assigning the task of disciplining rapists to student conduct boards that were designed to cuff cheaters. Sexual assault is a crime, not an infraction of the college handbook; squeamish administrators need to acknowledge as much if the accused is to have a shot at due process and the accuser a hope of justice.

It’s worth noting that last December, Adam Goldstein of the Student Press Law Center made a similar argument in the pages of The Huffington Post. You can read the rest of McNamara’s article, in which she makes a number of other salient points, on the WBUR website.