Recently the State of Georgia introduced legislation that could actually challenge parts of the Title IX law. Under current law, a college or university student could use Title IX to bring a criminal investigation for an alleged sex offense against another student without notifying law enforcement. Presently a victim can make a choice to tell campus administrators, police, or both if a sexual assault or rape has occurred. What Georgia has introduced is House Bill 51 (HB 51) that would require a victim to immediately report an allegation to police and not to campus administrators. The bill that could be made into law would sidestep campus administrators and student conduct boards altogether by providing a thorough criminal investigation.
First, I support Title IX as a law that provides equality in school and university athletics programs. However, I cannot support a mission creep clause that allows victims of alleged sexual assaults to sidestep police that is equipped to investigate felonious crimes. No campus administrator should be in hindering an alleged criminal process. When school leadership interferes with criminal cases, then it has a similar smell of the infamous Duke Lacrosse scandal or the Virginia University gang rapes that Rolling Stone magazine had to resend due to the fact it never happened.
Title IX is a bad law that eliminates due processes of the accused instituting a “he said she said” determination. There are no other administrative processes in the military, private sector, or municipalities that would extend such an offer of choices for an accusation of rape or sexual assault. Title IX sexual conduct reporting is only applicable to higher learning institutions. Another reason why it is dangerous is that an accused could be erroneously listed as a sexual offender by the school but not on a sex offender registry. That’s right. Because the campus utilizes FERPA and other privacy concerned processes a false allegation or inadequate investigation by university authorities would expel the accused as a sex offender but not be required to register because authorities were never notified a sexual assault that took place.
Rape is a serious accusation. The weights of justice should have a compelling timeline, physical evidence, and evidence that the act was not authorized. But to have a university administrator, a person not in a position to administratively rule on law or holds a law license should never be engaged in the efforts Title IX loosely provides. HB 51 may be what college campuses need to keep campus behaviors in line with states laws and statutes.