Dartmouth College administrator: why can't we expel students accused of sexual misconduct?

Sterling Beard
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  • Administrator asks if universities value a fair and equitable processes more than the safety of students.
  • The head of Dartmouth College’s new center to prevent sexual assault asked last week why schools should not expel students who have been accused of sexual offenses.

    “Why could we not expel a student based on an allegation?” Amanda Childress, the newly appointed head of Dartmouth College’s Center for Community Action and Prevention, asked last Tuesday at a two-day “dialogue” on sexual misconduct at the University of Virginia.

    “It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students."   

    According to Inside Higher Ed, Childress posed the question to a panel of six college presidents whose campuses have seen high-profile allegations.

    Childress said a full 90 to 95 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses are carried out intentionally by repeat offenders and go unreported. Though she acknowledged that two to eight percent of accusations are unfounded, she said that concerns about due process are overriding the protection of students.

    “It seems to me that we value fair and equitable processes more than we value the safety of our students. And higher education is not a right. Safety is a right. Higher education is a privilege,” she said.

    “If we know that a person is reasonably a threat to our community, why are we not removing them and protecting the safety of our students?”

    However, Dartmouth says that Childress, who plays no role in the judiciary process, was speaking rhetorically and that the question did not represent a personal belief.

    "[S]he was not suggesting policy, but was asking a question—a provocative one—meant to generate dialogue around complex issues for which answers are necessary to continue to strengthen and promote fair and equitable processes at all colleges and universities,” Dartmouth College spokesman Justin Anderson told Campus Reform in an emailed statement.

    Anderson said that the college “is committed to a fair, objective disciplinary process that respects the rights of both the reporting student and the accused,” and has no intention of altering its policies.

    Childress did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

    Via Minding the Campus.

    Follow the author on Twitter @SterlingCBeard

    Sterling Beard

    Sterling Beard

    News Editor

    Sterling Beard is Campus Reform's News Editor. Previously, he worked as an Editorial Associate at National Review Online and a Staff Writer at The Hill.

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