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Friday, September 30, 2016

Urge Your University to Preserve Due Process

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is urging its supporters to write their alma maters about the worrying trend toward so-called "victim-centered investigations." I've written a letter to Penn's President Gutman laying out the case against this approach:

I am very concerned about the threat to due process rights and the presumption of innocence posed by the trend toward so-called "victim-centered" investigations, primarily being promoted in connection with accusations of sexual assault on college and university campuses.

By substituting partiality toward the accuser -- even to the point of deliberately refraining from gathering evidence in some circumstances -- this approach not only increases the likelihood of false convictions, but ultimately can only undermine the public's confidence in judicial processes, and make it more skeptical even of true accusations.

Indeed, inasmuch as the push for this approach is mostly restricted to the context of sexual assault investigations, it could end up making the public even less willing to believe these allegations than those of other crimes.

Please commit Penn to maintaining neutral fact-finding as the standard for all its judicial processes.

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