Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Recent Thoughts: On Sexual Assault in Colleges and in the Military

On sexual assault in colleges: The fact that colleges tend to have their own security forces is a holdover from early days when universities were nominally church-run enclaves where every student was considered to be in holy orders and therefore subject only to the jurisdiction of the church, as locally exercised by the school. This tradition continued into relatively modern times, when universities were preserves for the sons of the wealthy and privileged, and expected to be protected by the alma mater. This has got to change.

By and large, campus security and faculty committees are neither competent nor capable of dealing with the issues of sexual violence. (The University of Wisconsin, which has an actual sworn police force with arrest powers, may be an exception.) This tradition needs to go by the board, and all crime on campus should be reported to and investigated by real police, and referred to the District Attorney for prosecution. This then, relieves the college authorities of troublesome decision making. If the alleged perpetrator is a student and is charged, he or she can be suspended based on that finding of probable cause. If found guilty, expulsion is automatic. If the accused is acquitted, then they may return to school.

On sexual assault in the military: Likewise, the handling of sexual assault, indeed all crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, needs to be taken out of the hands of commanding officers and handled by the professional military police and trained prosecutors of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. This way, charging and prosecution can be based on law and evidence, and not solely on whether or not the accused is a decorated veteran, or the best machine-gunner in the unit. Commanders’ input should certainly be weighed in the balance for what it is worth, but more likely at disposition than at charging.

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Tags: crime, politics
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