Even the last of the trailing indicators, known with absolute certainty now.can’t avoid facing the one thing, the only thing, that is
This is collateral damage that Democrats — who have spent the last few years championing the #MeToo movement — should be loath to incur. Democrats who subject Ms. Reade’s allegations to a level of scrutiny not widely applied to accusers in similar circumstances — such as Christine Blasey-Ford, who famously came forward during the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court to allege that he had sexually accosted her in high school — also open up past and future cases to reproachful disregard. Conservatives, like my colleague Bret Stephens, can see the plain gulf between how Democrats have approached sexual assault in politically advantageous cases versus Ms. Reade’s, and the evident hypocrisy threatens to discredit the entire enterprise.
Whether Biden sexually assaulted Tara Reade or not, a fact that will never be determined because Reade chose not to avail herself of the mechanism America uses to make such determinations, the Democrats, the pseudo-feminists and most importantly, Joseph Biden know a far harder truth: They are hypocrites. They are and were wrong. There must be due process for the accused.
KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor did the math.
If this long overdue change is sincere, the Democrats can show it by supporting the pending new Title IX regulations. The new rules are designed to require campuses to treat students accused of sexual misconduct with fairness and impartiality instead of effectively presuming guilt, as too many campuses currently do. Now is the ideal time for the Trump administration to release those regulations, spearheaded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
It’s been a terrible struggle over the past decade for male college students to eke out what little opportunity they could to defend themselves against accusations wrapped in a litany of inane excuses that made everything, no matter what, proof of guilt. When the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and its progeny were rescinded, activists cried that giving the accused a tenth of a chance to defend themselves was enabling rapists.
Can the same people who gave us whiplash in their pivot from Believe All Women to Take Women Seriously But Vigorously Investigate live with their flagrant hypocrisy by persisting in their disingenuous complaints about the new Title IX regs? As KC and Stuart note, “if this long overdue change is sincere,” they cannot. It’s a huge “if.”
But the head cheerleader, and the presidential nominee who has taken the hard position against giving male college students due process, is none other than the man who asks it for himself now. Is joe Biden “sincere”? Does Joe Biden have the integrity to admit he’s been dangerously wrong up to now, but he’s seen the light?
FACE, families Advocating for Campus Equality, sent Biden a letter putting the question to him.
We are hopeful your recent experience has made you realize that “sexual misconduct” is no longer just about sex. The “rules of engagement” for sexual misconduct are a moving target. Historically-acceptable hugs and genuine forms of non-sexual expressions of affection are no longer acceptable. Worse still, the consequences can be a swift end to education, career, and sometimes can even be life-ending. This affects not only those wrongfully disciplined, but also their mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, and spouses.
Children and young adults are not puppets to manipulate as props for the purpose of advancing political agendas. Yet that is today’s reality. Just like you have been accused of touching women in ways that cause them to “feel uncomfortable,” so too have many men, women, and LGBTQ students and professors been disciplined for the often subjective feelings of their accusers.
As a well-respected public figure, you are fortunate to have the opportunity to survive accusations of impropriety for your well-intended gestures, as well as an audience willing to forgive. Unfortunately, young students and faculty members only experience draconian repercussions for the same types of behaviors.
Joe Biden enjoys the support of his followers, his party and most of the media, who will do their part to seek out faults in Tara Reade’s accusations and history, ignoring the litany of excuses that have protected other accusers, from Christine Blasey-Ford to every woman on campus to every accuser on social media. And still Biden is constrained to defend against the accusations. What of the college sophomore, the 19-year-old male student who has neither the powerful friends and supporters nor the ability to air his denial on Morning Joe? If Biden demands his chance to deny guilt, would he demand the 19-year-old male student be presumed guilty?
Senator Biden, please, take off your political hat for just a moment, and open your eyes to what’s happening to innocent students and faculty who could be your sons, daughters, brothers or sisters – because, as you must now know, “doing the right thing” no longer protects you in this ‘accusation = guilt’ world.
Whether Biden sexually assaulted Tara Reade will forever be a mystery, but in a principled world, he would be presumed innocent because the burden is, must be, on the accuser to prove his guilt. The same thing is true of male college students accused of sexual misconduct, and it’s time for Biden to man up to the egregiously wrong position he’s taken for too long and concede that every accused must be afforded due process. Just like him.
Now is the moment, the “perfect storm,” to release the new Title IX regs that will, hopefully, give male college students a fighting chance to defend themselves from accusations. It may still be that neither Biden, nor his supporters, are sincere in their epiphany that due process matters, and their hypocrisy will then be as flagrant as possible. It will be out there for all to see.
But there will never be a better moment than now. Secretary DeVos, please release the new regs now.