Dem senators: Colleges shouldn’t wait for justice system when dealing with sexual assault

Dem senators: Colleges shouldn’t wait for justice system when dealing with sexual assault
UNITED STATES - MAY 23: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., participates in the news conference to announce "bipartisan, bicameral legislation to combat sexual assaults in the military by holding perpetrators accountable and better protecting survivors." 2013. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Colleges should consider using a preponderance of evidence standard for sexual assault cases, two U.S. senators told students at George Washington University on Monday.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said that both the judicial and university systems should be involved in preventing sexual assault on campus. Different requirements apply for the separate systems, she said, because the severity of the consequences differ.

“The worst that happens to somebody under Title IX is they get expelled. If you’re convicted of a forcible rape or sodomy, you are going to go to prison for a long time and be a sex offender for the rest of your life,” said McCaskill. She said that preponderance of evidence, a lower standard of evidence than the one used by the criminal justice system, is a “fair standard” for investigations by universities.

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