A new federal court order may have significant implications for adjudicating campus rape cases.
In a ruling that could have national implications for campus sexual assault proceedings, a federal judge has suggested that a private institution in an alleged rape case may not have followed due process standards — a constitutional concept that generally applies only to public universities.
This is a significant development, commentators and legal observers say. This is the first time a judge, in a case involving a private college, directly linked due process to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that bars sex discrimination, including sexual violence, at educational institutions. (Students have also sued when they feel a private institution has violated its own sexual assault policies.)
The actual text of Title IX, which is only a sentence, makes no mention of due process.
“If applied more broadly, this would represent a fundamental shift in the safeguards that private schools owe to accused students to more closely align with those required of public schools,” said S. Daniel Carter, president of Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, which consults with colleges and universities on Title IX.