New story at The New York Times Magazine:
Last year, the phone rang in the office of the New York attorney Andrew T. Miltenberg. On the line was Tom Rossley, a trustee for 23 years at Drake University in Iowa. His son, Thomas, had just been expelled after a woman accused him of rape, and Rossley, such a longtime booster that he was sometimes called Mr. Drake, was on the verge of being kicked off the board for protesting the verdict, he believed.
While a trustee’s son might be expected to receive favorable treatment, Rossley thought that possibility had been eclipsed by the school’s greater urgency to demonstrate how seriously it took sexual assault, because it was under federal investigation at the time for supposedly mishandling a victim’s complaint two years earlier. “I’m not definitively saying it didn’t happen,” he told Miltenberg. “I’m not saying it did happen. What I’m saying is we don’t know, and they didn’t really want to find out.”
…In the past year, Miltenberg’s cause has widened into a public debate about whether the effort to ensure women’s safety has come at the expense of men’s due-process rights. An already polemical fight sharpened when President Trump’s administration came into power and began to methodically dismantle Obama-era policies. Miltenberg has said that Trump’s election, despite sexual-assault allegations, demonstrated that university practices are out of step with public opinion. Many of Trump’s advisers signaled support for accused men, as did the 2016 Republican platform. His secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, has donated to a group that supports accused students’ rights, and to temporarily lead the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Title IX compliance, she picked Candice Jackson, a conservative activist who told The New York Times in July that 90 percent of campus-rape allegations are dubious — mired in alcohol and relationship drama. (Jackson later apologized.) In September, DeVos declared current policies a “failed system” of “kangaroo courts” and “weaponized” civil rights, vowing that “the era of rule by letter is over.”