If you didn’t see this coming, you seriously haven’t been paying attention. The California legislature, fearful that New York Governor Andy Cuomo might steal their thunder by passing an idiotic law before they did, enacted a mandatory minimum punishment for college males “convicted” of rape or sexual assault.
Of course, it’s not a criminal conviction, in the sense that it’s done by a court using a standard of proof higher than “whatever” and involves anything remotely resembling due process, so to call it a conviction would be wrong, even though they decided that there needed to be a mandatory minimum punishment.
The Higher Education Committee of the California State Assembly is scheduled to discuss the bill, which was drafted by lawmaker Das Williams (D) and sets a first-of-its-kind mandatory minimum sanction for campus sexual assault perpetrators, on April 21. The bill will also require that schools disclose adjudication outcomes for sexual assault offenses.
“This will provide more certainty that at least there will be a measure of justice, that [victims] will not have to deal with the perpetrator on campus all the time,” Williams said in an interview.
Justice, victims, perps. As long as it’s not criminal-ish. But this law was too much for one of the leaders of the march from the asylum, Governor Jerry Brown, who vetoed it.
Brown said it shouldn’t be up to states to decide what kind of punishments college administrators dole out.
“College campuses must deal with sexual assault fairly and with clear standards of process,” he wrote in a statement to the legislature. “It is eminently reasonable to expect that discipline shall not vary based on a student’s status as an athlete or declared area of study. This bill, however, could deprive professionals from using their judgment to discipline according to relevant circumstances.”
Has dodging this bullet put an end to the problem of politicians trying desperately to find a good seat on the speeding train of campus sexual assault? Not likely.
As was seen in the proposal by District of Columbia councilwoman Anita Bonds, mandating that males found guilty be branded with a scarlet letter, they can see a good opportunity to make a play for “tough on crime” and feminist values by taking the fears of a rape epidemic and adding ever-harsher, ever more bizarre burdens.
After all, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has already taken ownership of the mother lode of outrage, leaving little for other polticians to do to prove their worth. The only thing left to do is pile on harsher punishment, more permanent penalties, more draconian sanctions. It’s hard to be a politician trying to prove they deserve the adoration of victims.
This time, Gov. Brown said no, it was too crazy even for him. I know, but it happened. But this won’t stop, and there will be a stream of proposals to make this “non-criminal” disposition increasingly more painful. And no, there will be no concomitant call for due process protections. There are no votes to be had by backing the perps.
It didn’t happen this time, even though the California legislature passed the law. Eventually, it will happen. Whether it’s Jerry Brown, Andy Cuomo or the unilateral fiat of some third-string functionary at the DoE Office of Civil Rights sending out a “Dear Colleague” letter in conflict with any legal authority requiring colleges to castrate perpetrators in exchange for federal funding.
But it’s no big deal, right Congressman Jared Polis?