Jameis Winston, FSU and Title IX

I heard a few minutes ago that Jameis Winston's accuser has hired some high profile Title IX attorneys to represent her in a civil suit. When the criminal investigation came to a close, there were some rumblings in the media and from the accuser's attorney, Patricia Carroll, with regard to Title IX, and FSU's alleged failure to comply with Title IX standards in investigating the accuser's alleged sexual assault.

This gave me pause. I remembered an article I had read last spring on the subject of Title IX, written by a feminist attorney, Judith Grossman. Most people associate Title IX with the NCAA's requirement of having an equal number of sports for male and female student athletes. But Title IX goes quite a bit further than this.

As Judith Grossman, who admits early on in the article would have once expressed "unqualified support for Title IX", learned, there are a lot of serious problems with this legislation and how it is enforced. It starkly contrasts not only with the Constitution of the United States, but the principles that inform its amendments, particularly the Bill of Rights.

I'll link to the article below, which I encourage you to read. Even if the civil case doesn't draw much media attention, as fans I think it's good to know what standards Winston's accusers feel FSU should have reasonably been held to; a legal standard which has, in the words of Grossman, resulted "in a veritable snake pit of injustice."

Any of you who are students at FSU, or any university, deserve to know what Title IX means in cases like this.

For a quick primer, according to this article:

  • When an alleged victim comes forward, charges are immediately brought against the accused by the university
  • The charges are brought in the form of a letter, without even basic information of the alleged incident/s
  • In the case of Grossman's son, he was required to appear to answer for these charges within days, before a Campus Tribunal, without a presumption of innocence
  • Witnesses for the accused remain anonymous and provide unsworn statements, granting them total immunity
  • The accused was not allowed to submit any exculpatory evidence, including communications with his accuser via social media, text messages, email, etc.
  • This tribunal follows the same 51/49% burden of proof as in civil cases

The fact that this occurs in American universities, and that it is the result of legislation intended to encourage and preserve gender equality, is absolutely shocking. Yet Winston's accuser will almost certainly attempt to hold FSU accountable for their unwillingness or failure to subject Winston to this insane, unjust process.

I encourage all of you to read the article and share your thoughts.

Wall Street Journal: A Mother, A Feminist, Aghast

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