Last year, James Taranto published a sensational piece on a kangaroo court at Auburn; I praised it at Minding the Campus. Taranto’s effectiveness came in his ability to bring observers inside a badly flawed sexual assault process.
They’ll only go so far to say that Duke has an “intention to administer” [emphasis added] its disciplinary process as outlined in the guide (explaining, perhaps, why it was OK to change the punishment protocol without adding it to the guide). At most, according to Duke, the guide provides “a hearing free from procedural errors that substantially affect the fairness of the hearing.” But in in a hearing based on a preponderance-of-evidence (50.01 percent) threshold virtually any procedural error would affect the outcome.
[I should note that while Duke, both here and in its lacrosse-case filings, dismisses any legal obligation for the university to uphold the terms of the student bulletin or faculty handbook, it never has taken that position in admissions office publications or in communications with prospective students or parents on its website. It’s almost as if the university doesn’t want the people who will be spending more than $200,000 over four years to have access to this information.]