In an unsurprising knee-jerk reaction to the DeVos Department of Education’s anticipated undoing of Catherine Lhamon’s radical shift in Title IX campus sex adjudications, California has decided to bring it to kindergartners. At the university level, one of the unspoken problems with this scheme was that it disproportionately impacted black males who were accused by white females.
They tried it and regretted it the next day, but in the scheme of what constitutes a wrong when the definition of rape and sexual assault is open to the “survivors'” feelings about the encounter afterward, there is nothing to prevent this. That it turns out to hurt black men at the hands of white women is hardly a surprise, but when a choice has to be made between whose tears are the saddest, women win. So let’s make this happen for all students, California responds.
Gov. Jerry Brown of California is poised to sign a worrisome bill that will codify the Obama-era sexual assault guidelines. Those rules told colleges to toughen up on sexual assault allegations or risk losing federal dollars.
California’s law explicitly applies to children in public kindergarten, elementary and high schools. So a first grader could face dire consequences if found to have committed an act of “sexual violence,” which is broadly defined to include any “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person” without their consent.
In the peculiar State of Irony that is California, the legislature rushed to codify the Lhamon scheme into law, wringing their hands over how the horrible Betsy was bringing rape back to campus by introducing some due process for the accused.
California lawmakers quickly passed the bill last week after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 7 that she will roll back the guidelines set forth by the Obama administration in 2011. Survivors of sexual assault and their advocates, including those in the California legislature, roundly denounced Ms. DeVos’s decision. But many others, including progressives and feminists who are no fans of the Trump administration, tentatively clapped their hands.
Will this serve to eliminate the imaginary rape epidemic that plagues California’s kindergartens? Perhaps it will, much in the same way that locking everybody in prison would eliminate crime since there would be no one left to commit it. But as myopically as so many see solutions to problems that exist mostly in their saddest feelings, there are consequences, a price to be paid for every shallow answer to every agenda-driven problem.
The harsh truth is that the Obama guidelines have led to bad outcomes. They required ill-trained and intimidated school administrators to use a preponderance-of-evidence standard to find the accused student responsible for sexual assault — that is, if the allegation is proved true by 50.01 percent. In case after case, young men were expelled on the basis of allegations that they were not allowed to challenge by seeing the evidence against them or cross-examining witnesses.
At the college level, in the face of a small army of “trained” Title IX administrators (Harvard has 55 of them, no waiting) the depth of their lack of grasp of how to manage a remotely viable and fair system is below anything remotely resembling due process. But then, they see no issue with this, as the mantra is “believe the victim” and the destruction of innocent males’ lives is just the cost of doing business. But at least these are college-aged guys, and it’s not like anybody cares much about some poor black guy who’s struggled to attend college, right? At least not when his life is compared to a woman’s feelings hurt by consensual sex that she regretted later.
Put aside for a moment whether a 6-year-old is capable of forming the intent to commit a sexual assault when she plants kisses on an unenthusiastic classmate, or whether it makes sense to bring sexual assault charges against an eighth grader who hugs the girl he has a crush on but who does not reciprocate his feelings. Put aside for a moment whether school administrators should be branding children sexual assailants even if they are 49.99 percent sure the allegations are not true.
Consider that the child’s parents won’t have to worry about their son being wrongfully expelled from college, as he will never make it to college, having been expelled in third grade and branded a sex offender for some childish act of touching.
Wasn’t the California lege aware of the consequences of their law, the havoc it would wreak on black kids? Of course they were, but they didn’t care any more than the Lhamon Office of Civil Rights cared about black male college students. The agenda of women über alles would prevail.
The consequences of these harsh disciplinary policies are profound. Students who are temporarily or permanently kicked out of school are far more likely to end up in the criminal justice system, a track known as the school-to-prison pipeline. But when Dan Roth, a Berkeley-based criminal defense lawyer, testified before the California State Senate about the bill’s potential to have a racially disparate impact, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who drafted the law, dismissed Mr. Roth’s points as “hyperbole.” Lawmakers similarly rejected Mr. Roth’s common-sense suggestion that the bill include a provision for data collection on its racial impact.
This by no means suggests that actual rape or sexual assault be ignored, the irrational yet go-to retort of activists. We already have a huge system to address crime which, bad as it may be, is a damn sight better than the star chambers run by radical dilettantes.
Nor does this suggest that the damage done to students of any race or gender is of less concern. It’s not just black lives ruined by this misbegotten scheme. But the assumption that black kids are more criminalish, inclined to be sexual predators, pervades the minds of officious educators. They don’t stand a chance. If “believe the ‘survivor'” is bad at the college level, the notion of challenging the veracity or perception of a girl is unthinkable.
Much like California’s past forays into Menckian solutions, such as three strikes and zero tolerance, this is primed to be a fiasco all around, but mostly to black male students. But hey, someone has to suffer for the cause, and aren’t black kids always the easiest targets?