Parent of an accused student who was exonerated but endured a very painful extended process:
I am the proud parent of college-aged students, one of which was falsely accused of sexual assault in 2012. Proven innocent of these accusations, suspicion and discrimination follow my student on campus three years later.
Despite the odds, truth prevailed and a legal process resulted in case dismissal. Sadly, the experience was nothing compared to the ordeal my student would face at the University starting in April 2013, which continues today.
For seven months, my student underwent separate school investigations-the first, ordered despite legal findings resulting in a not responsible determination. Regardless, a second investigation was held; the same determination was reached. All the while, University rules kept changing, evidence allowed for use in one investigation was disallowed in the next, and policies were rewritten in an attempt to manipulate the process to discredit my student.
My student filed harassment and false accusation complaints against the accuser and others. The University declined to investigate. Additional complaints filed with administrators, the University president, and legal office, about months long harassment and stalking by the false accuser who had declined to be investigated, and my student was in no way protected.
Destroyed by disproven false accusations, my student was adjudicated by a system based on gender discrimination without the benefit of fairness and due process. My student is still restricted by a no contact order based on these false accusations. As a result of this treatment, my student suffers from PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety, which affect both the opportunity to an education free from hostility, and physical and emotional health.
This story represents stories of countless students falsely accused of sexual assault. Federal and campus policies on sexual harassment undermine the basic tenets and core rights due all US citizens. Policy directives ignore this, and leave our students to fend for themselves against adult professionals whose only interests are federal funding and political correctness. Our students are manipulated, harassed, and disregarded by their school communities, and the government has turned its back. Presumed guilty of accusations that damage like no others, these students are cast aside to face unjust punishments, and uncertain futures.
The time has come to dig deep, and work to get federal directives and school policies on the same page with a common goal of finding truth, rather than using the current knee jerk standard of guilt before proven innocent. Students should not be made to suffer unjustly at the hands of grossly misinformed government officials doling out federal dollars, and school administrators motivated by the bottom line. It is time to replace bias and discrimination with due process and fairness. It is time to get this right.