Colleges and universities across the country are failing to afford their students due process and fundamental fairness in their disciplinary proceedings. These institutions investigate and punish offenses ranging from vandalism and housing violations to felonious acts of sexual assault, handling many cases that are arguably better left to courts and law enforcement. But their willingness to administer what is effectively a shadow justice system has not been accompanied by a willingness to provide even the most basic procedural protections necessary to fairly adjudicate accusations of serious wrongdoing.
In November 2018, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights proposed new federal regulations that would require schools to provide many procedural safeguards in sexual misconduct cases. If the regulations are enacted as proposed, a fairer status quo might be on the horizon. But for now, most institutions of higher education maintain disciplinary policies and procedures that fail all students involved.