Letter to the editor: Title IX changes

I am disappointed to find Chancellor Gallagher among those resisting much-needed Title IX reforms (see related story here).  Too many young men, deprived of fair due process by university administrations, have had their academic careers disrupted and lives turned upside down as a result of unsubstantiated or patently baseless allegations of sexual assault.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has intervened on behalf of some of these victims. I quote from a recent F.I.R.E. report:

“First, by taking the rights of both complainants and accused students seriously, these proposed regulations make important strides toward ensuring that complaints of sexual misconduct will be neither ignored nor prejudged.

“Second, the proposed regulations define sexual harassment in accordance with established Supreme Court precedent, eliminating the confusion that has led institutions nationwide to adopt overly broad definitions of sexual harassment that threaten student and faculty speech.”

Among the provisions under criticism are precisely those that are essential to restoring meaningful due process to campus judicial proceedings, as well as placing some reasonable bounds on the scope of their authority.  No doubt there is room for improvement of the proposed regulations, but foot-dragging on necessary reform is not a constructive response.

Allan Walstad, associate professor of physics, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown