KC Johnson Praises Vanderbilt Handing Rape Case to Nashville Police

August 15, 2013

Yesterday on Minding the Campus, Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson noted Vanderbilt University’s actions following recent accusations that four former football players raped another Vanderbilt student while she was unconscious: University police reported the case to Nashville Police for investigation and criminal prosecution. In his article, Johnson contrasts Vanderbilt’s response to the allegations with the disciplinary hearing processes conducted at most colleges, and he advocates for schools to follow Vanderbilt’s lead. Johnson criticizes the lack of due process afforded accused students in cases where sexual assault cases are handled internally: [There] is a basic assumption[] that campus rape is the sort of crime that should not be investigated by the police or handled through the criminal process, since law enforcement authorities are insufficiently sensitive to accusers and the legal process provides too many protections to the accused. Far better, according to this theory, to set up a parallel system of “justice” in which conviction is almost certain, either because of absurdly low evidentiary standards or because the accused student is denied anything approaching due process. As Johnson explains, the Vanderbilt case will be handled outside of the university’s judiciary system: [T]he Nashville Police, rather than untrained university administrators, conducted the criminal investigation. It appears from the statement [from the Nashville police] that Vanderbilt itself (not the accuser) made the initial decision to turn the matter over to police. In short, the university … treated rape as a serious crime, and as such something to be investigated by trained authorities, outside the confines of the university. You can read the rest of Johnson’s article over at Minding the Campus.

Schools:  Vanderbilt University