July 28, 2011, 5:13 pm
The American Association of University Professors is urging the Education Department to reconsider recommending as the standard of evidence “more likely than not” in campus sexual-harassment cases. To uphold academic freedom, the AAUP’s burden of proof is “clear and convincing evidence”; the newly recommended lower standard would erode due-process protections, Gregory F. Scholtz, associate secretary and director of the association’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, wrote to Russlyn H. Ali, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights. AAUP joins the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free-speech group, in opposing the new guidelines. Other groups, including the American Association of University Women, have applauded them.
As the AAUP points out in the letter the first link in the quote goes to, their standards were established in the 1940’s. The Department of Education’s change would bring the standard of evidence in line with other civil rights laws.