Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Harvard Law school faces sexual assault inquiry

Feminist whiner reluctant to allow due process. Wants instant "justice": "too much evidence is required"

The civil rights division of the US Department of Education is investigating Harvard Law School after a Boston lawyer filed a complaint with the agency alleging that school policies regarding response to sexual assault allegations violate Title IX rules against discrimination on campuses.

Wendy J. Murphy, a faculty member at the New England School of Law said yesterday in a telephone interview that she filed the complaint in September, after being hired by Harvard Law in the spring to work on a Title IX issue and finding that three policies ran afoul of federal regulations. She would not elaborate on why she was hired.

She said the most troubling violation is the school’s policy of waiting to address complaints on campus until police and prosecutors have finished investigating, a practice she called “running out the clock.’’ Murphy said criminal investigations can drag on until after victims graduate, leaving them vulnerable to retaliation from their attackers and others during the rest of their time in school.

A Harvard Law official with knowledge of the hearing process denied yesterday that administrators seek delays as a matter of policy. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the pending review, said campus hearings can be held before criminal investigations end, though he could not say how often that happens.

The official said the law school pays for an attorney chosen by each alleged victim to represent her or him during the disciplinary process.

But Murphy said too much evidence is required during a campus hearing to find a law student guilty of sexual assault, and that school officials do not provide alleged victims with a “clear and concise’’ timeframe for when cases will be resolved. She declined to say if she knew of any students who have been harmed by these policies.

In a statement yesterday, the school defended its record of handling allegations but did not comment on the specifics of Murphy’s complaint, citing the pending review.

“We have a responsibility to protect and maintain the safety and well-being of our students, and to offer complete support and assistance to any student who makes us aware of harm,’’ the statement said. “That responsibility includes effective processes for ensuring a safe community and for investigating any allegation of assault expeditiously and fairly, followed by appropriate disciplinary action.’’

The Department of Education’s civil rights division did not immediately return messages seeking comment yesterday.

Murphy said the division could issue its findings by June. She said that if a school refuses to comply with Title IX, the government could pull its federal funding, though she was unaware of any case being resolved in that manner.


Grocery school

Suppose that we were supplied with groceries in same way that we are supplied with K-12 education.

Residents of each county would pay taxes on their properties. A huge chunk of these tax receipts would then be spent by government officials on building and operating supermarkets. County residents, depending upon their specific residential addresses, would be assigned to a particular supermarket. Each family could then get its weekly allotment of groceries for “free.” (Department of Supermarket officials would no doubt be charged with the responsibility for determining the amounts and kinds of groceries that families of different types and sizes are entitled to receive.)

Except in rare circumstances, no family would be allowed to patronize a “public” supermarket outside of its district.

Residents of wealthier counties – such as Fairfax County, VA and Somerset County, NJ – would obviously have better-stocked and more attractive supermarkets than would residents of poorer counties. Indeed, the quality of public supermarkets would play a major role in determining people’s choices of neighborhoods in which to live.

Of course, thanks to a long-ago U.S. Supreme Court decision, families would be free to shop at private supermarkets that charge directly for the groceries they offer; such private-supermarket families, though, would get no discount on their property-tax bills.

When the quality of supermarkets is recognized by nearly everyone to be dismal, the resulting calls for “supermarket choice” would be rejected by a coalition of greedy government-supermarket workers and ideologically benighted collectivists as attempts to cheat supermarket customers out of good supermarket service – indeed, as attempts to deny ordinary families the food that they need for their very survival. Such ‘choice,’ it would be alleged, will drain precious resources from the public supermarkets whose (admittedly) poor performance testifies to the fact that these supermarkets are underfunded.

And the small handful of people who call for total separation between supermarket and state would be criticized by nearly everyone as being, at best, delusional and – it would be thought more realistically – more likely misanthropic devils who are indifferent to the malnutrition and starvation that would sweep the land if only private market forces governed the provision and patronizing of supermarket. (Some indignant observers would even wonder aloud at the insensitivity of referring to grocery shoppers as “customers”; surely the relationship between suppliers of life-giving foods and the people who need these foods is not so crass as to be properly discussed as being ‘commercial.’)

Does anyone believe that such a system for supplying groceries would work well, or even one-tenth as well as the current private, competitive system that we currently rely upon for supplying grocery-retailing services? To those of you who might think so, pardon me but you’re nuts.

To those of you who understand that such a system for supplying grocery-retailing services would be a catastrophe, why might you continue to count yourself in the ranks of those who believe that government schooling (especially the way it is currently funded and supplied) is the system that we should continue to use?


Class war in British universities

Middle class students will pay thousands more to subsidise poorer peers' university fees

Middle class students will pay at least £2,700 more in university tuition fees to subsidise those from low income families – even if they go on to earn much less in later life.

Under rules designed to help poorer youngsters into higher education, universities which wish to hike up their fees next year must put 30 to 35 per cent towards waiving costs for students on low incomes.

With virtually all universities defying the Government to more than treble fees, middle class pupils will, as a result, be required to pay an extra £2,700 to £3,150 a year towards the cost of subsidising their peers.

They will then be forced to pay back far higher loans, even if they are earning significantly less than a successful graduate originally from a poor background who goes on to enjoy a lucrative career.

The arrangement was drawn up by the Liberal Democrats, who were heavily criticised over their tuition fees about-turn, and is designed to counter criticism that higher fees will put poor students off applying to universities.

In an Opposition Day debate today, however, Labour will claim that as a result, youngsters from relatively modest backgrounds will end up subsidising those whose parents are only slightly worse off.

Under the “access agreements,” which universities wishing to charge more than £6,000 a year are required to draw up, fees must be cut for any student whose parents earn less than £25,000. So far, despite ministers’ claims that top fees would be levied only in “exceptional circumstances,” 70 per cent of universities which have set out their intentions have said they will charge the maximum £9,000, with many of the rest levying close to the upper ceiling.

That means that in most cases, a youngster with parents earning only £26,000 a year will be required to pay around £3,000 more in fees to pay for the education of a fellow student from a family on £24,000.

John Denham, the shadow business secretary, said: “The Government has lost control of fees, with £9,000 becoming the norm, not the exception. “On top of this incompetence, the Government is now trying to make students from middle income families pay to cut the fees of others.

“Progress … on social mobility must be maintained, but the Government has chosen to put the burden unfairly on the shoulders of hard working squeezed middle families. “Students do not pay until they graduate, but the Government is imposing a system where graduates with the same class of degree in the same subject from the same university doing the same job will owe very different debts.”

New research suggests that half of students will be turned off top universities by the imposition of £9,000 tuition fees. In a survey of current final year undergraduates, 51 per cent said they would not have enrolled if fees were almost three times higher than current prices.

Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show record numbers of students are applying for courses this year in order to beat the fee rise. Applications are expected to be up by around 14,000 in the summer as students scrap gap years to get into university this autumn.

More than 700,000 are expected to apply with almost a third missing out on places.


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