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R. Emmett Tyrrell
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
16 Oct 2014
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The Harvard 28 to the Rescue

Comment

WASHINGTON — Mirabile dictu! Fully 28 profs and former profs from the Harvard Law School have taken a stand for freedom and for the rule of law. They are on the side of the Constitution and simple fairness. As Ivy Leaguers go, their stand took courage. No other Ivy League school has had the temerity to buck the bullying of federal government's Department of Education over its threat to punish universities that it adjudges as being lax on allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment. That is right. The Department of Education says it will withhold funding if its ukase is not followed by suspect universities. Harvard is suspected of such laxity by the Department of Education, and so the university hopes to mollify the government bureaucrats by enforcing a draconian policy toward alleged sex offenders.

The Harvard 28 responds that this policy is unfair. Furthermore the university has a vast enough endowment to go, if need be, its own way. What is an endowment for anyway, if not to ensure the independence of a university? Raise a toast to Harvard Law.

Says Professor Janet Halley, one of the Harvard 28, "It's a totally secret process, in which real genuine unfairness can happen, and it's so airtight that no one would know" if it were to happen. According to an op-ed piece signed by Harvard's heroic 28 and posted online in the Boston Globe, "Harvard has adopted procedures [in its recently adopted sexual misconduct policy] for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required" by the Department of Education's anti-discrimination law.

What are these processes? They are processes that would not be brought against a person accused of sexual misbehavior in a court of law anywhere in America. Possibly they would be applied to the accused in courts governed by Sharia law but not in an American court governed by the protections of the Constitution. Here our Constitution assures the accused of the right to counsel, the right to confront a witness against him or her (though probably only him), and the right to cross-examine the witness, including the right to expose any biases or reason for lying.

Yes, lying. A startlingly high percentage of sexual misconduct cases have been thrown out of court because the alleged victim was caught in a lie. Yet the Harvard policy denies the accused any of these elemental rights.

In response to the Harvard 28's op-ed piece, a Harvard sophomore bearing the geographically fetching name of Savannah Fritz sniffed that the profs' piece was a "a step backward." She elaborated, "It just seems like they're defending those who are accused of sexual assault." Yes, I think that is true, but are not adepts at the law supposed to protect the accused from a rush to judgment? Is not everyone presumed innocent until proven guilty? And have not all the aforementioned protections of the Constitution been adopted to ensure that the innocent go free and the guilty are punished? What makes a sex offense different from any other criminal offense?

Sexual disagreements have, over the years, particularly among students and within universities, defied satire. Another Harvard student, MaryRose (that is the correct spacing of her name) Mazzola, a member of something called Harvard Students Demand Respect, says that her group is insisting upon even more stringent measures against sexual misconduct. They have begun circulating a petition demanding that students sign a "consent decree" before embarking upon lovemaking. Presumably it would involve checking off a box for each stage in the march toward coital bliss. For instance, check off "Now We Kiss Disinterestedly" or "Now We Kiss Passionately." Then "Now We Take A Break." Later, Mazzola might authorize a check mark adjacent to "You May Touch My Breast," being careful to specify "The One On The Left" or "The One On The Right." And so it would go until the final tremulously scratched check: "Now, You Idiot!"

May I suggest that all students possessed of a healthy libido avoid Harvard Yard, at least until the heroic Harvard 28 ensure their rights.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... There is a big difference between sexual misconduct and sexual assault. Sexual Assault is against the law, and can easily be handled outside of the university. While universities do have the right and even the obligation to uphold standards of civil intercourse between the sexes with the object of preventing any distraction on the part of students from their studies; still, legal as opposed to social infractions should be considered appropriately.
Law is not all about justice. Children learn at a very young age how to threaten their parents and teachers with the law. No one, and I mean no one wants to be the subject of charges or of police investigations. Poor people cannot afford it, and no one needs baseless charges lodged on their record. Children have no concept of shame, and will shame their parents to have their way. So will young adults use charges of sexual impropriety to settle their scores on other points. If a baseless charge will not result in the termination of the student making it, why should they result in another person being terminated? The object is the same as in war: The political solution.
Underlying all of human activity is sexuality. I am motivated by justice, but I am old. No one reads the law with a view of justice except blockheads. The law is power. Children can see it. No one else but the police are running around with guns and police powers. Even if the deeper understanding of law is that Justice is the Genus, and Law is a species of it; young people in that course only see the power because behind the power is the sex, the sexual gratification, and the right sexual partner. It isn't about love, civility, amity, or society. The law is the key to economic, political, and social power, and power is an aphrodesiac.

Yet, Law School like every other school is a place of socialization, of learning to be social people. That does not mean that sexual socialization should not be a part of the curriculum; but should be front and center. We are dioecious. Sexual identification is one of the foundation stones of our social identity. Still; university students come from every class and section of the country. Some students have been pampered and adored, and are lacking in that most republican of skills: The ability to make a deal. Some men take as granted the technique of lying to women to get them to submit to sexual advances. This is a form of rape, and is some times considered so. The fact that it is commonly done does not make it right. The fact that it can be used to hold a fellow student up to ridicule is wrong. And If I were a woman, I would scream bloody murder if something like that happened to me.
As it was, my daughter was often harrassed with sexual overtones in highschool while teachers stood by because she could give as good as she got. And even though she smoked the farm boys who bothered her -academically, it still hurt her deeply. Injury is everything in the eyes of the one injured. It is not for others uninjured to say how deep runs their pain. Some times, good people are injured and even destroyed by innuendo. So any distraction of this sort, which injures the institution as well should be taken seriously. It is too easy to add weight to baseless charges simply by hearing them, and yet, it is a risk that must be taken since the institution is the mother of these children away from their natural mothers.
Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:27 AM
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