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Published On: Fri, Dec 20th, 2019

Your college student lost more of their due process on campus this year

Due process in college disciplinary proceedings, particularly more elite colleges, terrible reviews from an education civil-liberties organization this year.

The third annual review of due process on U.S. News & World Report’s top 53 “national universities,” conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), reported an increase in failing or subpar grades compared to previous years.

In fact, the number of colleges receiving “D” or “F” grades increased from 47 in 2018 to 49 in 2019, according to FIRE.

“Disappointingly, we did not see a significant change overall in the safeguards the rated universities guarantee students from 2017 through this year,” the group said.

Seven in 10 reviewed colleges “do not explicitly guarantee students that they will be presumed innocent until proven guilty,” two in five “do not explicitly require that fact-finders […] be impartial,” and fewer than a third “guarantee a meaningful hearing.”

photo Jennifer Moo via Flickr

The study reviewed policies for both sexual misconduct and non-sexual misconduct. None received an “A” grade, while four schools – the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cornell and Stanford – earned one “B” and one “C” grade.

Some of the most elite schools in the country earned “F” for both policies, including Harvard, MIT, Caltech and the University of Notre Dame. Washington University in St. Louis is the only school that offers none of the 10 “fundamental elements of due process” in at least one policy.

FIRE did not conduct annual analyses on due process before 2017, it’s difficult to discern “how much and in what ways university policies have changed over time,” report author Susan Kruth told The College Fix in an email.

California colleges are at particular risk because students can seek “writs of mandate” to reverse disciplinary decisions under state law, she said. These actions by students have a “more immediate impact,” with eight such actions against the University of California-Berkeley and 10 against UC-Santa Barbara.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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