Tag: Joe Cohn

Rep. Polis: ‘Sorry I’m Not Sorry’ For Belittling Student Due Process Rights

 

Jared PolisSome of you may remember my post last week about the disturbing comments Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) made in an exchange with FIRE’s Joe Cohn during a congressional hearing on “Preventing and Responding to Sexual Assault on College Campuses.” When discussing due process rights for the accused, Polis made the shocking suggestion that college students accused of sexual assault should be expelled even if they are innocent:

“If there are 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people.”

After receiving considerable media backlash, on Tuesday, Polis wrote a piece in Boulder’s Daily Camera explaining that he “misspoke” at the hearing and apologizing to his constituents for his apparent contempt for the due process rights of the accused.

Colorado Representative Says That If One Out of 10 Students May Have Committed Sexual Assault, It’s ‘Better to Get Rid of All Ten People’ Just In Case

 

o-JARED-POLIS-facebook-620x400Yesterday FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, Joe Cohn, testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training during its hearing on “Preventing and Responding to Sexual Assault on College Campuses.” When delivering his testimony, Joe elaborated on the importance of preserving the due process rights of accused students during investigations of campus sexual assault. But one moment from the hearing stood out in particular.

As you can see from the video below, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) suggested that the “preponderance of the evidence” standard — which requires only that fact-finders be 50.01 percent certain in order to find an accused student guilty — may be too high of a bar for campus sexual assault cases:

“It certainly seems reasonable that a school for its own purposes might want to use a preponderance of evidence standard, or even a lower standard. Perhaps a likelihood standard. I mean, we’re talking about a private institution, and if I was running one I might say, well, you know, even if there is only a 20 or 30 percent chance that it happened, I would want to remove this individual.”[Emphasis added.]