Whatever happened to the accused being presumed innocent until proven guilty?

Matt Lamb of the College Fix reports.

University trains faculty to ‘assume’ sexual-assault accusers tell the truth


In an effort to help faculty and staff provide useful information to students who report sexual assaults to them, Ohio University is encouraging them to side with alleged victims before an investigation has even started.

The school has also shut out a student group whose express purpose is to defend students accused of violating campus rules.

The school is distributing file folders to faculty and staff that are pre-printed with guidelines to “assist students who report sexual misconduct.” The folders guide recipients “through the next legal, mental and procedural steps” involved in reporting assaults, The Post reported.

Some of the language in the folders, though, seems to presume an accused student is guilty.

The folders use the term “survivor” 28 times to refer to students who make accusations, a common term for advocates of lower evidentiary standards in campus rape investigations. The university has an official “Survivor Advocacy Program” as well.

On one page, the folder tells faculty and staff to “believe the survivor” and “clearly” tell the accusing student that “it wasn’t your fault” even if the student “feels responsible” in some way.

The page lists a dizzying array of vague signs that an accuser “may have experienced sexual misconduct”: denial, confusion, depression, anger, shock and “dysfunctional behaviors” such as binge drinking and “hypersexuality.” In a disclaimer, the page notes some of these signs “may occur because of other issues.”

Asked if the language was presumptive, Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones acknowledged that the language was an issue and was debated. Ultimately, however, “We decided to use the term ‘survivor’ because yes, as faculty and staff who are there to provide support/resources, we are assuming that the person is telling us the truth,” she said in an email to The College Fix.