Violent crime, including sexual assault, declined for more than 20 years, until the Obama administration changed the definition of “domestic violence” and “sexual assault,” requiring universities across the U.S. to also redefine the meaning of “sexual violence” to include anything that makes a woman feel badly, including regret.
This virtual wave of campus rape in fact, does not exist. What spurred this bill was a program by the Obama White House, which declared sex crimes to be “epidemic” on U.S. college campuses. The White House claimed one in five students is a victim of sexual assault while in college. This dubious figure became an article of faith and rallying cry among radical feminists pushing government intervention into colleges’ handling of sexual assault claims.
Adding to this disparity, 73 percent of top U.S. universities do not guarantee the presumption of innocence in Title IX sexual misconduct trials, according to Families Advocating for Campus Equality.
California responded and passed legislation declaring sex “a contractual event,” and redefined consensual sexual relations as “rape” if it occurs on a college campus. SB 967 said silence and a lack of resistance do not signify consent, and drugs or alcohol do not excuse unwanted sexual activity.
On the campus of University of California, Davis, near Sacramento, of the 35,186 total students, 17,419 are women. If the chances of women at U.C. Davis being sexually assaulted really is one-in-five, there should be 3,500 sexual assaults reported just at that campus each year. But this is not the case.
Democrats in the California Legislature have embraced the feminist notion that women claiming rape should always be believed, and more importantly, never questioned. Concurrently, all presumption of innocence of young males, and “innocent until proven guilty,” has been casually, and unconstitutionally, tossed aside.
Trivializing Real Rape
Whether intentional or not, these legislators, many who are self-described feminists, have trivialized rape and sexual assault, while disparaging young men, instead of addressing the degrading hook-up culture young women have come to accept. And instead of counseling female students not to binge drink lest they find themselves in regrettable situations, California legislators have reclassified consensual sex as “rape.”
SB 967 allowed California colleges and universities to forgo proper police procedures and due process, and deal internally with campus sexual violence, making California the first state in the U.S. to require public colleges and universities to adopt a “yes means yes” standard of affirmative sexual consent when dealing with sexual assault crimes on campus.
The consequences have been devastating. Young men are increasingly being charged by female students and college administrators, of sexual misconduct — even when accusers cannot remember the events because of intoxication. Right or wrong, young men are subjected to a minimum of academic discipline, and many times, brought up on more formal, serious, and even criminal charges, and expelled from college without due process.
California Tries to Preempt Trump Admin on Title IX Changes
Last year, in response to the Trump administration’s proposed changes to Title IX to narrow the definition of sexual harassment on college campuses, Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) authored Senate Bill 169 which would have codified a combination of federal regulations and guidance on sexual harassment, as well as some language from model policies that have been developed by California universities, into California code on sexual violence – before the Trump administration could make the Title IX changes. But Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, with very strong language, and convened a panel to study this issue, and offer solutions.
Governor Brown’s veto message acknowledged that SB 169 was premature: “We have no insight into how many formal investigations result in expulsion, what circumstances lead to expulsion, or whether there is disproportionate impact on race or ethnicity.” Brown promised “to convene a group of knowledgeable persons who can help us chart the way forward,” and, in November 2018, Brown’s Post SB 169 Working Group issued a report on how best to address and prevent campus sexual misconduct.
Families Advocating for Campus Equality
“Disappointingly, Jackson’s SB 493 ignores nearly every recommendation made by Governor Brown’s Post SB 169 Working Group,” said Cynthia Garrett, co-president of Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), and a practicing attorney. Garrett has served on an American Bar Association task force which developed recommended Title IX procedures, and serves as a liaison for two sexual misconduct projects with the American Law Institute.
In an interview with Garrett, she said, “Brown’s working group report relied heavily on recommendations of an American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Task Force comprised of various stakeholders including victims advocates and campus administrators.”
Garrett said the Legislature should be working to empower young women instead of teaching them to be victims. “But it appears that the Legislature is unable to understand that there is another side,” she added.
Families Advocating for Campus Equality submitted its opposition to SB 493 hoping to work with Senator Jackson to create a better, more equitable bill. “Unfortunately, despite having submitted our Opposition sufficiently in advance of the April 3rd hearing – as instructed on SB 493’s website – distributed the Opposition in person throughout the Senate on March 20th, and emailed it on March 31st to every senator in the California legislature, we were astonished and dismayed to learn that the Senate Education committee’s bill analysis stated SB 493 had received no opposition,” Garrett said.
At the April 3 Sen. Education Committee hearing, witnesses for the opposition to SB 493 were not treated equitably to the supporters of the bill (Video here). Sen. Jackson’s witnesses were given more than 10 minutes to speak, rather than the usual two or three minutes. When one of the opposition witnesses approached the dais, Committee Chairwoman Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), told her she had two minutes. The witness told Sen. Leyva she had clocked the support witnesses at 10 minutes and 51 seconds. Leyva argued with her, saying she would be held to two minutes, but eventually said she’d allow a little extra time if necessary.
“It is disconcerting that, although Senator Jackson was fully aware of opposition against SB 493, the Senator refused to acknowledge either its existence or legitimacy at the April 3rd hearing,” Garrett said. Yet at the hearing Sen. Jackson made a point of saying “I’m a strong advocate of due process in all circumstances.”
In her opening statement, Sen. Jackson acknowledged the passage of California’s SB 947 “Yes means Yes” legislation, but said, “we cannot be satisfied with the implementation of that measure.”
“The legislative process should not be treated like a game of hide-and-seek with changing rules that appear designed to obstruct California citizens’ rights to provide input on proposed laws,” Garrett said, addressing the gamesmanship by Sen. Jackson and Democrats over the opposition.
“Not only had FACE informed Senator Jackson’s own staff member of its Opposition to SB 493 during an in-person meeting on March 20th, content of our Opposition was further demonstrated by the fact that during the hearing Jackson both raised and attempted to undermine some of our key concerns. At the same time the Senator disrespectfully denigrated those at the hearing who opposed her bill, referring to them as ‘just some moms of accused students.'”
“Considering all perspectives on proposed legislation is the very foundation of how our government was intended to create judicious, equitable, nondiscriminatory laws,” Garrett added.
But that’s not what is happening to opponents of SB 493.
Senator Jackson’s Bill Ignores Multiple California Appellate and Superior Courts’ Decisions
University disciplinary panels are not made up of trained judges, police officers, legal mediators or attorneys, and instead are made up of university employees. They have an interest in protecting the university, and not the rights of the accused, and victim.
“Perhaps most concerning,” Garrett said, “is that Senator Jackson’s bill ignores multiple California appellate and superior courts that recently have found both public and private California schools’ Title IX procedures ‘deeply flawed,’ that they create ‘an unacceptable risk of bias,’ have completely ‘obliterated due process,’ operate like a ‘kangaroo court,’ have even ‘failed the alleged victim,’ and ‘improperly permitted’ evaluations based on the same ‘trauma-informed approach’ Senator Jackson’s SB-493 seeks to have schools implement.”
“In fact, late last year California’s Second District Court of Appeal criticized officials at UC Santa Barbara, located in Senator Jackson’s own district, finding it: “ironic that an institution of higher learning, where American history and government are taught, should stray so far from the principles that underlie our democracy,” Garrett added.
“Having personally spent significant time in both D.C. and Sacramento meeting with legislators on these issues, I have never before encountered such a corruption of our system of representation,” Garrett said. “The bottom line is that Senator Jackson knew full well that FACE – and other interested parties throughout California – had mailed or emailed their California senators or submitted their comments on SB-493’s website expressing grave concerns about the bill.”
“Perhaps even more tragically, the foundation on which these students have relied since childhood, the promise of a better future and their belief in the American system of justice, is destroyed,” Garrett said. “Many attempt suicide, some successfully, many, many are hospitalized, and most suffer significant life-long trauma, PTSD and anxiety. Even students found not responsible have been traumatized by these one-sided prosecutorial-like proceedings.”
Garrett asked “when will this stop?” She asked why California lawmakers are politicizing this. “When will our representatives remove their political hats and, as a human beings, open their eyes to see the destruction of promising young lives?”
It is still unclear how classifying most consensual sex as rape, will do anything to help real rape victims.
Notably, the Latin inscription emblazoned over the dais of the California State Senate Chamber says, “Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri” — It is the duty of the senators to protect the liberty of the citizens.
SB 493 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday April 23, of which Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson is the committee Chairwoman. California Globe will be at the hearing, and will report back.