Home / News / Why Expelling Students Accused of Sexual Assault Isn't the Answer | NYT Opinion

Why Expelling Students Accused of Sexual Assault Isn't the Answer | NYT Opinion

In the video Op-Ed above, Hanna Stotland argues that simply expelling college students accused of sexual assault is a misguided response to what is essentially a public health problem. An independent educational consultant, Ms. Stotland specializes in advising students who have “hit some kind of catastrophe in their educational past”: Whether suspended, sent to rehab or expelled for sexual misconduct, students go to her to get help in transferring to new schools or applying to graduate programs.

“I’m seeing a large number of cases in an intimate way that most people never get to see,” she said. These cases, she added, “don’t look the way many people imagine.”

Over the past decade, student survivors of sexual assault have pushed universities to improve their sexual assault prevention and response mechanisms. During the Obama administration, dozens of institutions were investigated for violating Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded institutions. Last November, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed changing Obama-era guidelines on Title IX to an approach that emphasizes the rights of the accused to due process.

While student activists have denounced this proposal, Ms. Stotland says the current system does not bring about real justice. “In a context where the school is going to be issuing life-changing discipline if it finds that there was a sexual assault, the school should not just be taking anybody’s word for it,” she said. “Justice needs to seek the truth without bias and evaluate all the evidence.” And that, she added, “is a gray process.”

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23 comments

  1. Avatar

    Have a good day everybody. See you soon

  2. Avatar

    WoW, the NY Times is actually taking the nuanced side of a #METOO type story.

  3. Avatar

    Well this comment section won’t be a cesspool.

  4. Avatar

    Man, that's a hard video to watch. It's refreshing albeit jarring to see a nuanced, brutally honest perspective complete with some very troubling anecdotes.

    I commend her courage in speaking her piece, but I can't imagine the response to this video being kind.

  5. Avatar

    This is refreshing to see facts and logic being discussed about this issue

  6. Avatar

    The pitchforking, ultra-dogmatic/puritanical twitter masses have no intention of comprehending the notion of nuance though.

  7. Avatar

    Expecting a person to understand what you are thinking without telling them is unreasonable.

  8. Avatar

    To all you Sick Pople No means No !!!

  9. Avatar

    We need better vocabulary…it seems obvious when its stated out loud…but it hadn't occurred to me. Thank-you

  10. Avatar

    Have to give respect where it's deserved. Good on NYT to air the other side of the argument.

  11. Avatar

    What!? Leftists taking the side of fairness and arguing in favor of fairness and the Bill of Rights? Am I dreaming right now?

  12. Avatar

    How can anyone seriously believe the 1 in 4 stat? It's just wrong on the face of it.

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    So, the woman perp got an entire year more punishment than the man? Both cases seem like the "grey area," but it is pretty profound that the woman got an entire year longer for her behavior than the man, even when stats show the VAST MAJORITY of sexual assault perps to be men, and even men on other men. Seems a little strange that the woman accused got what, a third more punishment? No. Sorry. Over 95 % of sexual perps are men, yet when a woman does the4 same thing, she gets way more attention in the news and punishment from either the institution or the court.

  14. Avatar

    It's an interesting argument to a very obvious problem in colleges. Consent needs to be taught and defined

  15. Avatar

    How do we know these women and/or men are telling the Truth? There are alot of evil people out there and if you make them mad, they will try to destroy your life.

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    Perhaps theres a more fundamental issue here, that American culture has lost a clear sense of the distinction between childhood and adulthood.
    Children are exempted from personal responsibility, but as a result, are restricted from certain rights (like sexual consent… which is a two-sided notion in which we tend to only see in a one-sided fashion).
    Adults are freed from the necessary protections and restraints we place on children, but are now considered to have agency and rights, with the attendant responsibilities.

    But that line has grown less sharp, and there is now a vast, contentious grey area. In terms of alcohol use, you are a child until 21. In terms of sexual consent, in some states, you are an adult as early as 16.
    Combine the two, and societally, we have confusion.

  17. Avatar

    My friend from high school went to college. He brought a girl home with him and later that night, accused him of sexual assault. In court he was proven innocent, with important evidence being a text that she sent to her friend about wanting to hookup with him. However, the university found him guilty, despite the lack of evidence. He was kicked out of college and wasted 2 years and thousands of dollars there. He's never allowed back into that college ever again. He joined the Marines.

  18. Avatar

    Those examples are pretty infuriating

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