In 2011 the Federal Government pressured colleges and universities into adopting special procedures for handling sex-related complaints on campus. Under the new guidelines schools, like Penn State, were ordered to lower the standard of proof required to prove a student guilty of sexual misconduct. Rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt or even clear and convincing evidence the new standard was a preponderance of the evidence. In addition schools were required to permit the accuser to appeal not guilty findings and they also curtailed the accused right of cross-examination.
These draconian rules are being reviewed by Candace Jackson the acting head of the Education Department Office and Civil Rights.
As a result of the prior administration’s policy many students have brought suits against their colleges alleging unfair treatment. In one appellate court decision the school’s procedures were compared to a kangaroo court.
Hopefully with the change in administration some fundamental fairness will be restored and people who are accused of sexual crimes will get a fair hearing.
For more information please see The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack On Due Process At America’s Universities by K. C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor.