Below is my letter submitted yesterday in response to the Charlotte Observer‘s editorial, “A possible reform to combat campus rape.” Letters are limited to 130 words – thus my letter’s brevity. I encourage others to respond to the Observer HERE. There are several issues to take up and contest in this op-ed. Mine happened to be about the bedrock principle of our justice system, “due process.”
I am dismayed by the wishy-washy way “due process” is treated in the editorial, “A possible reform to combat campus rape.” The editors argue that we need a balance between “due process” and “societal pressures accusers are forced to navigate.” But due process is non-negotiable. Cornerstone of our justice system, it goes back to the Magna Carta. Colleges are ill equipped as court and jury in the prosecution of criminal behavior. Would we allow universities to decide in robbery or murder cases? Treating rape seriously in our judicial system (not our educational system) is the only way to honor those who are victims. For the accused, even K-12 students and U.S. soldiers are guaranteed due process rights in criminal proceedings. Simply treat crime seriously, and send such cases to the courts.