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In September 2013, Sherry Warner-Seefeld, Judith Grossman, and Jean Barish, mothers of college sons, met in Philadelphia. After discussing common experiences in which their sons were unjustly accused of sexual misconduct by their schools, they decided to build an organization with a big mission: to provide resources and support to these students and their families and bring change to current political and institutional policies regarding the handling of campus sexual assault. Early in 2014, Allison Strange, another parent whose son had been expelled for sexual misconduct from Auburn, joined FACE as a founding member.
Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) is a non-profit organization founded in 2013 by three mothers of sons who were falsely accused of sexual misconduct at their respective colleges. The families found themselves enmeshed in an “Alice in Wonderland” experience of injustice. These mothers hail from different parts of the country and although their sons attended, variously, a large state school, a Big Ten university, and a small liberal arts college, their nightmare experience was remarkably similar. As a result, they established FACE to focus on promoting and insuring fairness and to seek justice for families and students caught up in the timely and devastating issue of sexual misconduct on college campuses.
In response to the April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, FACE seeks to bring about change in how colleges handle sexual misconduct complaints. It’s time for all parties to objectively analyze the campus disciplinary system and to restore balance to a system that is currently skewed.
Ensuring justice and due process of law for the accuser and the accused is challenging and fraught with emotional, political, and institutional biases, but it is a challenge that must be met if society truly honors the ideals of our founding fathers and realistically seeks to achieve the goal of gender equality.
FACE provides resources and support information for wrongly accused college students and their families who are caught in the present system. We reach out to lawmakers and decision-makers in our quest to change a system that serves no one adequately and leaves the havoc of unjustly dismantled lives and ruined futures in its wake.