(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
America has reached a consensus. We have a free speech problem when it comes to higher education, and there’s a growing crisis where colleges oppose inviting speakers to their campus who disagree with their political positions.
Thankfully, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has appointed free speech advocate Adam Kissel to deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs effective June 19.
Kissel’s career highlights include working at institutions dedicated to protecting free speech at universities like the director of the Individual Rights Defense Program and vice president of programs at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. A key issue for Kissel is the low standard of evidence needed to convict a college student of sexual assault and harassment, reported Inside Higher Ed.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), well-known for her defense of Osama bin Laden as a man who built roads, schools, and daycare centers back in 2002, blasted Kissel’s appointment in a statement.
“I am deeply troubled this hire is another concerning sign that President Trump plans to make it more difficult for survivors of campus sexual violence to get justice,” Murray said in the statement. “Campus sexual violence is an urgent public health threat nationwide, and rolling back steps that have empowered more survivors of sexual violence to come forward will only send this problem back into the shadows. If there was ever a President who needed to take issues of sexual assault more seriously, it’s President Trump—and this is yet another indication his Administration is falling disturbingly short.”
The need for higher standards when it comes to sexual harassment and rape accusations on college campuses does not go unmerited. Many colleges do not respect due process for students to defend themselves as they would if they were in a court of law.
Back in 2015, National Review reported that 58 percent of those cases did not go proceed to a full conviction because of lack of evidence, the accuser was uncooperative, or the accusation simply did not meet legal standards and there have been a number of high-profile fake rape allegations that have destroyed young men’s lives.
Kissel’s appointment marks a huge shift in the way college tackles free speech and due process.