The Real Campus Sexual Assault Problem—And How to Fix It

The policy conflict over allegations of sexual assault on college campuses has become a battle over rights. Conservatives worry about the rights of the accused in the hands of overzealous administrators, while liberals fear that those same officials might ignore the rights of victims by focusing on due process and thereby adding to the trauma of those who say they were assaulted. In broad legal terms, conservatives say that evidence against the accused should be “clear and convincing,” while liberals favor a less demanding standard. This conflict is driven by radically different views of the rape problem itself. Conservatives are concerned that scarred and angry women might be leveling assault charges in the regretful wake of drunken hook-ups, while liberals insist that in such encounters, consent is rarely if ever actually granted.