KC Johnson on Due Process at Vassar

By on August 2, 2013

Yesterday on Minding the Campus, Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson commented on some of the details of former Vassar College student Xiaolu “Peter” Yu’s allegations that he was expelled from the school without due process. In his article, Johnson summarizes the circumstances leading up to the finding that Yu was guilty: Though [the complainant] waited a year to file her charges, Vassar gave Yu almost no time to mount a defense: he was found guilty and expelled from the college two-and-a-half weeks after the complaint was filed.Vassar–which explicitly affirms that its disciplinary panels do not use "formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court"–denied Yu the right to an attorney and limited his ability to introduce exculpatory evidence at the hearing; the complaint also alleges that he did not receive an opportunity to cross-examine [the complainant] fully. (This claim is impossible to verify, since the hearing was private.) Yu was found guilty, on the preponderance of evidence threshold, by a three-person faculty committee; his request that a student serve on the committee was denied. Johnson gives further context by looking at some of Vassar’s sexual assault resources, including a statement on its Sexual Assault Violence Prevention page that says sexual violence can include “treating the victim and other people as objects via … remarks.” There is much more to consider in Johnson’s article; check it out on Minding the Campus.