May 12, 2011

The May 7 Metro article “U-Va. eases standard to show sexual misconduct,” on new University of Virginia rules regarding sexual misconduct, failed to adequately explore the serious due process questions raised by these rules and the Education Department initiative mandating them.

Not all accusations of sexual misconduct are accurate or true, and the truth can be especially hard to discern in “he said, she said” cases. No matter, the Education Department’s new policies increase the risk that students wrongly accused of misconduct will be found guilty, suspended or expelled, and tarred as stalkers or rapists without any right to representation by counsel and facing the lowest possible standard of proof, which requires findings of guilt if hearing officers believe there’s merely a 50.001 percent chance that the alleged misconduct occurred. The new rules are bound to do more to increase injustice on campus than decrease sexual violence.

Wendy Kaminer, Boston

?The writer is a member of the board of advisors of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.? — i don’t think we need this — she’s better know for her work as a writer, which i presume is how she came to serve on this board.

Hello Mr. White,

I am indeed the author of this letter, which I wrote at my own initiative and sent under my real (and only) name. I offered it only to the Washington Post and have not published it on any blog or forum. I have long been interested or involved in this and related issues as a writer, feminist, and civil libertarian, and I have an informal associational interest as a member of the advisory board of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education; but I speak only for myself. I hope this answers all your questions.

Regards,

Wendy Kaminer

617 338 8855 (office)

617 797 7799 (cell)

P.S. At the risk of sounding pedantic, your slight line edit splits an infinitive (“to adequately explore”) but I guess that’s a rather outdated rule.