FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and Legislative & Policy Director Joseph Cohn have a new op-ed in The Stanford Daily today, calling on the school to more seriously consider its current standards for adjudicating sexual misconduct on campus. As Greg and Joe report, Stanford has adopted a "temporary ‘Alternate Review Process’ (ARP) that reduces the standard of evidence from ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ to the lower ‘preponderance of the evidence.’"
While responding seriously and appropriately to allegations of sexual assault is critical, Greg and Joe point out that "[t]here need be no tension between a university’s moral and legal obligation to respond to every allegation of sexual misconduct in a prompt, thorough way and the corresponding obligation to ensure that accused students receive appropriate due process protections."
Stanford’s new standards come in the wake of last year’s "Dear Colleague" letter from the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which mandated the use of the preponderance standard at any college or university that receives federal funding. In their piece, Greg and Joe urge Stanford to stand up to this mandate and adopt a system that protects all of the school’s students. After all, the "only system of justice that is in the student body’s best interest is one that produces trustworthy, reliable findings of guilt and innocence."
For more on the situation at Stanford, check out Greg and Joe in The Stanford Daily.