College students accused of sexual harassment and assault used to face an uphill battle to defend themselves (“DeVos’s Rules Bolster Rights of Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct,” The New York Times, May 7). But a new Title IX regulation allows both the accused and accuser to submit evidence, participate in cross-examination, and appeal the final ruling.
The change is long overdue. I say that because until now the presumption of innocence was absent. The odds were overwhelmingly on the side of the accuser. The typical scenario gave the woman the upper hand. No cross-examination was allowed, which meant that virtually anything she said was accepted as true. As a result, the man found himself the victim of what was essentially a kangaroo court.
By allowing “clear and convincing” evidence to be the basis for a verdict rather than the previous “preponderance of the evidence,” the higher standard means that falsely accused students now stand a better chance of defending themselves and clearing their name.
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