Due process, Title IX, campus sexual misconduct panel held

Student Council retracts event sponsorship

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Incoming Student Council President Abraham Axler said he was not intimately involved in the process of formulating the panel, but he did help balance the board where views were lacking.

Ashley Belfort | Cavalier Daily

A panel on due process, Title IX and campus sexual misconduct was held at the Caplin Pavilion at the University Law School Wednesday evening. After concerns about poor representation on the panel, Student Council decided yesterday to no longer sponsor the event.

Student Council President-elect Abe Axler, a second-year College student, said he was not intimately involved in the process of formulating the panel, but he did help balance the board where views were lacking.

“Yesterday I was getting a lot of really concerned emails about the composition of the panel,” Axler said. “It was troublesome that it was very one-sided with people who were not very reflective of the most rigorous academic conversation.”

Axler said when Student Council realized the panel did not fairly represent a viewpoint in favor of Title IX or University processes for handling campus violence, there were three speakers on the panel.

The first speaker was Heather MacDonald from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. She has written many articles, including “The Campus Rape Myth,” for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

The second speaker was Stuart Taylor from the Brookings Institution. He is a freelance journalist who focuses on legal and policy issues. He coauthored a book titled “Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustice of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.”

The last speaker was Susan Kruth from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization with the mission of defending the individual rights on America’s colleges and campuses.

Axler said Student Council realized the panel was missing a feminist viewpoint, which needed to be balanced. Because the panel date was quickly approaching, Axler said he acknowledged the difficulty in finding a feminist legal theorist to bring diversity of thought to the panel.

Axler asked University alumna Emily Renda, project coordinator for the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, to speak on the panel. Renda is well known throughout the University community for her involvement in sexual assault prevention and awareness. Last year, she was the co-chair of the Sexual Assault Leadership Council.

“I called Emily Renda, a known feminist and asked her to join the panel,” Axler said. “There were concerns whether this was still enough.”

Axler said in light of recent events at the University, this conversation is a necessary one, whether or not Student Council offers direct sponsorship.

“It was still an important conversation to have about due process. We [StudCo] just were not confident in getting 100 percent behind it.”

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