Imagine that. Due process rights for college students.

Jake New reports at Inside Higher Ed.

Fraternity Justice

Congressional Republicans on Wednesday introduced legislation designed to strengthen the due process rights of students accused of sexual assault and to prevent campus investigations from taking place unless a victim also reports the allegations to law enforcement. The bill would make it tougher to kick a fraternity or sorority off campus without a proper hearing, and bar colleges from forcing Greek organizations to become coeducational.

Civil liberties organizations and the lobbying group representing fraternities and sororities — a frequent financial contributor to one of the legislation’s sponsors — applauded the bill as providing an avenue for “much-needed reforms.” Campus safety groups and victims’ advocates decried the legislation as redundant and deleterious.

“I am both shocked and disappointed by the amount of Congress members who are proposing legislation without fundamental knowledge about the field of campus safety law,” Laura Dunn, founder and executive director of SurvJustice, said. “Campus safety advocates are going to have to be on the defense to prevent legislation that moves things backwards.”

Colleges are required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to investigate and adjudicate cases of campus sexual assault. Facing pressure from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to improve their handling of these cases, institutions in recent years have begun more rigorously adjudicating sexual assault allegations.