At least New York Governor Andy Cuomo makes no bones about it being a matter of personal self-interest.
“As a father of two college-aged girls, with a third on the way next year, this isn’t just an important issue for the state, it’s a personal issue for me as it is for many parents who every fall say goodbye to their children with an expectation that their schools are doing everything they can to keep them safe.”
And that’s why Cuomo has no shame in saying, “This will be the toughest law in the nation, and I am proud of that.” After all, there is a scourge, and it’s teed up perfectly for him.
Mr. Cuomo’s proposed policies, which are already in place at New York’s public colleges, would require private colleges to adopt “affirmative consent” as the standard of behavior, putting the burden on an accused student to show that the other person had agreed to the sexual activity, rather than making accusers prove that they had said no; silence or lack of resistance would not be considered consent.
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has also proposed that students reporting sexual assaults must not be punished if they were violating a campus policy on drinking or drugs, with the goal of removing the fear that by coming forward, those reporting might be reprimanded, administration officials say. The proposed policies would also require strict penalties for anyone found guilty of sexual assault, with either suspension or expulsion the only available options.
Nothing un-American about the burden of proving innocence being put on the accused, Andy? And while the rest of the nation is bent on ending the blight of mandatory minimums for crimes, Cuomo plans to impose them for college discipline. And Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to regain her speaker seat if the Democrats win back their majority in the House of Representatives in the next election, was at Cuomo’s side, muttering, “you go, girl.”
“This is an epidemic in some ways,” Ms. Pelosi said on Monday, “and that is why we are also grateful to Governor Cuomo for his strong leadership and the bold action to protect New York’s college students.”
And there has never been a better tough on crime, love to feminists and progressives, epidemic ever. Provided you don’t mind some minor details, starting with Cuomo’s defining the accusers as “victims” even before the process starts.
[T]he proposal has encountered some resistance from legislators, as well as private colleges and universities, concerned about some of its wording. For example, some have taken issue with the accuser’s being labeled in the legislation as “victim,” rather than something more neutral.
But that’s semantics, given what Cuomo has in store.
[Manhattan Democratic Assemblywoman Deborah] Glick said other concerns about the bill included definitions some considered vague and the lack of an explicit appeals process, which could mean the only available recourse for a student who felt the process was unfair would be to sue.
And then, after being expelled for a few years and a suit winding its way through the courts, at the accused’s substantial expense, it would all be fine, like it never happened. And that’s the assurance that Cuomo’s proposal offers.
But Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, said the legislation did not address “the specifics of appeals or any aspect of due process, as that area is well tilled through the Constitution, case law, private college policies and other statutes.”
Well-tilled? A proposal that lacks anything remotely resembling due process, the shifting of the burden of proof, a reduced burden on the “victim,” and mandated punishment, and the best the governor’s counsel can come up with in lieu of due process is “well-tilled” because he has nothing substantive to say?
Of course, what’s missing from this heart-warming narrative propounded by the father of three girls is that this remains a “scourge,” or “epidemic” as Pelosi prefers, only by dint of pronouncements. This is what comes of pounding home false statistics, over and over, to create a hysteria that college women are being raped daily, over and over, while colleges are ignoring their cries for justice. After all, politicians and news media wouldn’t lie about something as serious as rape, right?
While opposition to this absurdly misbegotten proposal will subject the person to attack as a misogynist and rape apologist — and what politician wants to be exposed to such cries? — the moment’s ignorant hysteria has made its way from outlier radical feminism to mainstream politics. It’s now firmly embedded in New York, and stands an excellent chance of being enshrined in Washington after the next election.
Of course, in a decade, as young men’s lives are ruined and those parents unfortunate enough not to have three daughters start pointing out their displeasure at being on the wrong side of a beer, the pendulum will shift and politicians will decry how unfair and absurd it is to deprive a gender of due process and presume guilt and punishment for an offense that is defined by the feelings of the victims.
But then, that won’t be Andy’s problem, as he has three girls. Of course, he could accomplish the same goal by buying them chastity belts, or raising the drinking age to 40. Only kidding, Andy. Only kidding.