Regarding the June 30 front-page article “Catholic U. student who reported rape turns to Title IX”:
Why are college and university students subject to different legal procedures from regular citizens? Is a non-student who commits rape on a campus offered the option of an “internal” investigation rather than facing criminal charges? Of course not. Why was the Catholic University student who was allegedly raped by another student offered an option of dealing with an internal investigation? Murder, rape and assault are all crimes, period, regardless of where they are committed and the affiliations of the people involved. Perpetrators of crimes should come under the purview of public law enforcement officials, not campus employees, and certainly not through a “disciplinary” procedure.
Universities should stop pretending that they have the resources to prosecute crimes and bring justice to victims. If local and state law enforcement need jurisdiction over campuses, then they should have it. These are not matters of “discipline.” A crime is a crime, which is a matter of law, and no student who commits a crime should be above the law. Leave the disciplinary procedures to cases of cheating on tests.
Mary Hoferek, Gaithersburg
The article about a reported campus sexual assault highlighted how incredibly difficult it can be for an institution to resolve these types of cases. They often involve competing verbal accounts, no witnesses, little or no physical evidence and impaired judgments and memories due to alcohol or drug use.
The incident described here involves the claim of rape — a felony. Colleges and universities do not have the expertise or resources to carry out thorough criminal investigations and to resolve cases that, in any other circumstances, would be left to the judicial system. Making this even harder is that the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights pressures institutions to investigate and resolve sexual assault cases within 60 days. This is not a formula likely to satisfy all parties involved.
Ada Meloy, Washington
The writer is general counsel for the American Council on Education.