University students are not “innocent until proven guilty” at approximately 75 percent of America’s top schools, announced a civil liberties non-profit organization Tuesday.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released this figure and others in its Spotlight on Due Process 2017, a study scoring U.S. News & World Report’s 53 top universities on 10 criteria of due process.
FIRE found that 39 out of 53 of the top institutions do not presume that accused students are innocent. Furthermore, only 47.2 percent of the schools mandate the impartiality of judges or juries.
The nonprofit found that the majority of the top schools implemented different standards for adjudicating charges, based on whether they were sexual assault or another offense. Nearly 80 percent of the schools scored a “D” or an “F” for upholding the due process rights of accused students in sexual misconduct cases. FIRE did not award an “A” to any of the 102 policies it examined.
FIRE scored the 53 institutions according to 10 standards, including access to all evidence, cross-examination, impartial fact-finders, no conflicts of interest, presumption of innocence, right to appeal, right to counsel, time to prepare, unanimity for expulsion, and written notice.
Cornell University and the University of California-San Diego received a 15/20 “B” for both its sexual misconduct and regular infraction policies. The University of California-Berkeley’s regular misconduct policy received a 15/20 “B,” but its sexual misconduct one obtained a 13/20 “B.” Lehigh University in Pennsylvania brought up the rear of the pack with a 1/20 “F.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to FIRE for comment but received none in time for press.