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December 11, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Reforming How Colleges Handle Sexual Assault Cases

To the Editor:

Re: “I’m a Democrat and a Feminist. And I Support Betsy DeVos’s Title IX Reforms.,” by Lara Bazelon, The New York Times (Op-Ed, Dec. 5)


Lara Bazelon’s Op-Ed struck a chord. I’m a liberal feminist, married to a woman, and the mother of two sons and a college-age daughter — and also a lawyer who has represented more than 100 accused students in Title IX proceedings.


While I completely agree with Professor Bazelon’s concerns about the disproportionate impact of Title IX proceedings on black men, I believe that Title IX reforms are needed for all students, male and female, black and white.


I am glad that women’s claims of assault are being taken seriously, but the corrective to past abuses is not to presume that accused students are guilty and deprive them of fundamental rights. A process that lacks integrity benefits no one, including victims of sexual assault.


The proposed new regulations have common-sense measures that liberals strongly support in other settings, consistent with our nation’s foundational values requiring that people accused of wrongdoing receive adequate notice, a fair hearing and a presumption of innocence.


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