Re "SB 967 would improve rape response at California colleges" (Editorials, Feb. 15): As a lawyer who practiced education law for years, I was appalled by your endorsement of Senate Bill 967, which undermines due process on campus.
The bill would promote "anonymous reporting of sexual assault." That would prevent cross-examination needed to expose false allegations.
The bill would also invade students' privacy by redefining some consensual sex as rape. It would impose an "affirmative consent standard," which the editorial board says "means that 'yes' only means 'yes' if it is said out loud." Most happily-married couples would be deemed rapists under this definition, since in real life, consent seldom takes the form of an explicit "yes," especially in long-term relationships.
The bill also seeks to force colleges to use a low "preponderance" standard of proof. But as the Yale Law Journal has noted, "the appropriate standard of proof in student disciplinary cases is one of 'clear and convincing' evidence."
-- Hans Bader, Arlington, VA, senior attorney, Competitive Enterprise Institute