Very few teenagers are formally accused of sexual misconduct, and even fewer expelled from a university following an accusation.
I searched for information on how Brown University handles sexual misconduct and quickly found two cases of judges siding with students who felt they were treated unfairly by Brown University tribunals.
A federal judge has reinstated a Brown University student after finding that the Ivy League school in Providence, R.I., improperly judged him responsible for sexual misconduct.
“After the preliminary injunction, this Court was deluged with emails resulting from an organized campaign to influence the outcome. These tactics, while perhaps appropriate and effective in influencing legislators or officials in the executive branch, have no place in the judicial process. This is basic civics, and one would think students and others affiliated with a prestigious Ivy League institution would know this. Moreover, having read a few of the emails, it is abundantly clear that the writers, while passionate, were woefully ignorant about the issues before the Court.”
It’s extremely rare for a judge to intervene in such a case against a private university because, unlike public schools, they are not bound by obligations under the Constitution to afford due process to the accused.John Doe’s suit was for breach of contract, one of the few avenues open to students at private universities.
From an article on Case #1 (Judge William E. Smith). The judge’s remark “having read a few of the emails, it is abundantly clear that the writers, while passionate, were woefully ignorant about the issues before the Court” appears to lend credibility to Jacy’s claim that “The stories against me snowballed into exaggerated rumors about me last year that I’m sure many in my class heard.”
A Brown University student suspended for alleged sexual misconduct has won an important victory: His lawsuit against the university, which makes some of the most eye-popping claims of unfair treatment that I’ve seen in my years of covering these issues, has survived a motion to dismiss.
From an article on Case #2 (Judge John McConnell).
FIRE is an organization which rates universities on whether they provide due process to those accused of sexual misconduct. They give Brown University a grade of D in this area (which seems to be the most common grade). Note that the process used in the Effective Altruism community appears to violate at least two of FIRE’s due process safeguards: “Access to all evidence” and “Right to face accuser and witness”. (I have complex feelings about this. Can elaborate if people are interested.)
Anyway, seems to me Jacy’s expulsion provides less evidence than you might think, because Brown’s process for deciding these things is not that great.
Two of FIRE’s conditions request that victims of sexual assault must face their assailant in order to have any hope of justice. I’m extremely glad that EA organisations violate FIRE’s “safeguards”.
Two of FIRE’s conditions request that victims of sexual assault must face their assailant in order to have any hope of justice.
If I’m not mistaken, only one condition requires this (“Right to face accuser and witness”). I don’t see how the “Access to all evidence” condition requires this.
You seem to have strong feelings about this. I think these are complex issues that deserve careful consideration. Here in the US, the right to confront witnesses is a guarantee provided by the Sixth Amendment to our constitution. I’d want a good understanding of why it’s there before being confident in its removal.
The Sixth Amendment only applies in criminal cases. These are not criminal cases.
FIRE has some discussion on their website if you search for “cross-examine” here. Maybe you can provide legal background on how this situation differs from a college disciplinary hearing.
But I’m less interested in legal technicalities and more interested in what the best policies for Effective Altruism are. There’s a decent chance this is the end of Jacy’s career as an EA. It’s important for CEA to wield its power in this area responsibly.
I’m not saying Jacy should definitely be allowed to cross-examine witnesses. I’m just saying it’s a complex issue that deserves careful consideration.
I do have strong feelings about this, but having strong feelings and having given complex issues careful consideration are not mutually exclusive, and the implication otherwise was uncalled for. Having carefully considered the issue, I have concluded the anonymity of sexual assault victims is the most important factor here, I’m not alone in this conclusion. The UK legal system, for example, agrees.
Give that you easily identified that “access all evidence” was the other criterion which risked anonymity, I don’t think it’s too hard to see the connection between them.
Can you provide a reliable source supporting the claim that the UK legal system does not allow the accused access to all evidence?
I did some research of my own, and from what I can gather, it seems the provision you refer to is mostly about not letting the public know the name of the alleged victim. I find it hard to believe that the accused sometimes does not know the name of the alleged victim in the UK legal system.