Via changes to Title IX, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has mandated a lower threshold of certainty in sexual harassment and assault cases.

Subsequently, Minding the Campus contributor KC Johnson projects a probable growth area for litigation: Suits against colleges for rigging sexual misconduct hearings against male without any semblance of due process. He uses a Vassar case as an example:

Peter Yu and Mary Claire Walker were Vassar students and members of the college’s rowing team. Yu and his parents are Chinese citizens, though he went to prep school in the United States. Walker’s father is a long-time professor at Vassar–a pertinent fact in a case judged by three members of the Vassar faculty.

The two students consumed alcohol at a team party in February 2012; one of Walker’s friends seems to have thought she was very drunk. After the party ended, Walker accompanied Yu back to his room. They started to have intercourse, but Yu’s roommate entered the room and interrupted them; Walker then said she didn’t want to go any further, and she left. The complaint quotes numerous, seemingly cordial Facebook exchanges between Walker and Yu over the next year, before Walker–on last day she could under Vassar procedures, a fact that is critical in retrospect–made a campus claim of sexual assault. She never filed a criminal complaint, nor did she, it seems, obtain a medical exam after her evening with Yu.

The rough outline of the next stages of the story will be familiar to anyone who follows campus judicial proceedings. Though Walker waited a year to file her charges, Vassar gave Yu almost no time to mount a defense: he was found guilty and expelled from the college two-and-a-half weeks after the complaint was filed.

Vassar–which explicitly affirms that its disciplinary panels do not use “formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court”–denied Yu the right to an attorney and limited his ability to introduce exculpatory evidence at the hearing; the complaint also alleges that he did not receive an opportunity to cross-examine Walker fully. (This claim is impossible to verify, since the hearing was private.) Yu was found guilty, on the preponderance of evidence threshold, by a three-person faculty committee; his request that a student serve on the committee was denied.

Johnson chillingly concludes:

If, in the OCR’s interpretation of the law, too much due process constitutes gender discrimination against women, surely at some point too little due process constitutes gender discrimination against men. That is: unless the OCR sides with the likes of Wendy Murphy and believes that the mere filing of a sexual assault claim, even absent a criminal or medical investigation, transforms an accuser into a “survivor.”

Neither the OCR nor anyone else in the Obama administration has ever spelled out how far is too far for colleges to go to deny due process to accused students. In light of the Harris and Yu cases, perhaps now would be an appropriate time for the agency to explore that question.