There was little discussion of due process rights in campus adjudications during a Wednesday hearing on campus sexual assault.
As expected, the one-sided hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee focused on how to make reporting easier for sexual assault accusers — which is very important — but failed to address the very real problem of false accusations. Typical statements from senators and other panelists consisted of long discussions about providing help for accusers, with a passing statement about ensuring a fair process tacked on at the end.
Most of the senators present — including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill and Patty Murray – continually referred to accusers as "victims" or "survivors" and the accused as "accused," "alleged perpetrator" or "rapist." This, like the language of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, imposes a clear bias.
Gillibrand and McCaskill also mentioned having spoken to accused students and their families, making it seem as though their concerns were included in the bill. They were not. The senators may have listened, but they certainly didn't hear.