Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, as the Washington Examiner is pointing out, has started to reverse an Obama era directive that has made college campuses a living nightmare for far too many male students. A 2011 letter demanded that university administrations dump the standard of clear and convincing evidence and substitute preponderance of the evidence in dealing with accusations of campus rapes and sexual assaults. DeVos is now reasserting the Rule Of Law and the Constitution to matter.

Rape on campus

In times past, the definition of rape, whether it occurred on a college campus or not, was rather clear cut.

It is defined in most states, according to the legal definition, as “forcible sexual relations with a person against that person's will.” If such cases were alleged to have occurred on college campuses, the matter was referred to law enforcement and the judicial system just like any other crime.

The Obama era directive upended this system and provided for an extralegal quasi-judiciary on college campuses in which any male student could be accused of rape and would be denied the constitutional protections most Americans expect. An accused rapist would not have the right to an attorney or the right to confront his accuser. The result has been that numerous male students have had their reputations besmirched, their educational careers disrupted as they were expelled from college, and have been burdened with horrendous legal costs as they have had to sue in response to the violation of their civil rights.

The redefinition of rape

The commonly understood definition of rape has also been upended. A college woman could accuse a male friend of raping her even if the encounter had been consensual if, in retrospect, she had come to believe that it had not been. There have even been cases in which both the man and the woman had maintained that the sex had been consensual, but the man had been accused of rape anyway by feminist friends of the woman, who claimed that she was a “battered woman” and was incapable of understanding what had happened to her.

A disservice to victims

As DeVos pointed out, the Obama-era system was a disservice to victims of actual rape. There has been at least one case of an accused rapist who was set free because he was denied due process, even though evidence existed that he had done it. The reason we have a constitution is that criminals should be found guilty because the evidence says that he is, not just because an accuser states it as a fact. Hopefully, DeVos will have restored some sanity on the matter.