Columbia University: Violation of Due Process Rights in Sexual Misconduct Policy

Category: Due Process
Schools: Columbia University

Despite all of the fanfare surrounding Columbia University’s promulgation of a so-called "Sexual Misconduct Policy"-a policy touted as a "national model"-Columbia, under intense and broad public criticism, has silently altered the text of its scandalous assault on student rights and decencies. For instance, in the original policy, there was no recording or transcript made of the proceedings, preventing any serious internal appeal or recourse to the real legal system. Instead, the very authors of a judicial decision would "summarize" the case for the official charged with hearing appeals. Now, Columbia University will keep a recording or full transcript of the hearing, thus offering at least a minimal means of legal and moral remedy for the victims of this kangaroo court. Most of the changes are efforts to move hesitatingly toward meeting FIRE’s objections. However, not a single admission of prior and ongoing injustice has been made. Moreover, many problems remain with Columbia’s policy, such as the lack of a right to confront one’s accuser.

  • Columbia’s Slow, Secret Steps Toward Justice; Sexual Misconduct Policy Still a Bizarre Patchwork of Outrages

    December 7, 2001

    MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, NY—Despite all of the fanfare surrounding Columbia University’s promulgation two years ago of a so-called “Sexual Misconduct Policy”—a policy touted as a “national model”—Columbia, under intense and broad public criticism, has silently altered the text of its scandalous assault on student rights and decencies. Visitors to the web page of Columbia’s nearly two-year-old policy now will find a section that became “effective September 28, 2001.” Most of the changes are efforts to move hesitatingly toward meeting FIRE’s objections, without a single admission of prior and ongoing injustices. “The flawed policy was nothing less than a systematic withdrawal of […]

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  • Columbia Belatedly Embraces Free Speech, But for Whom?

    November 8, 2001

    NEW YORK, NY—With breathtaking hypocrisy, the Columbia University Senate passed a resolution in support of freedom of speech. After decades of watching Columbia trash and neglect free speech, legal equality, and all notions of individual rights and responsibilities, the Senate suddenly asserts itself, alarmed only about alleged patriotic threats to freedom of expression. The resolution claimed that, in the current climate, “some student members of the Columbia community have felt pressure to curtail their opinions of the national response to the September 11 attacks.” In response, the University Senate voted forty-six to none (with one abstention) to “reaffirm open discourse […]

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  • Columbia University Unable to Defend Policy in Public

    March 13, 2001

    NEW YORK, NY—The Columbia University administration, although invited by Columbia students, faculty, and parents, did not show up at a campus discussion of its controversial new Sexual Misconduct Policy. A few days later, Columbia refused to participate in a highly rated television news program discussing the policy. Columbia’s new sexual misconduct policy lacks even the most minimal safeguards and fundamental principles of fairness. Indeed, it lacks virtually all safeguards long considered by civilized societies to be essential for a reliable search for truth. Columbia came under national scrutiny six months ago when the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) […]

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