After more than a year of public pressure from FIRE,
FIRE’s full press release on this case appears below, but if your e-mail client does not support HTML, you can view a link-rich version at http://thefire.org/index.php/article/8319.html.
Victory for Fundamental Fairness at
“According to the old, ludicrous policy, practically every person at
FIRE first called for a repeal of Gettysburg’s original policy in May 2006, stating that although Gettysburg promises its students that “they enjoy the same rights…that other citizens enjoy,” the school’s old Sexual Misconduct Policy infringed on students’ rights to due process and fundamental fairness. Despite months of agreeing to undertake an administrative review and revision of the Sexual Misconduct Policy,
The original policy’s broad definition of sexual interaction included not only sex acts but also “brushing, touching, grabbing, pinching, patting, hugging, and kissing,” drawing no distinction between innocent hugging and sex crimes. FIRE wrote to Gettysburg President Katherine Haley Will on April 11, 2006, urging her to revise the policy, because it “trivialize[d] sexual assault by equating it with normal and legal behavior,” and because it criminalized so much everyday student conduct that it could not possibly be enforced across the board, therefore vesting the university administration with the power to arbitrarily punish innocent student conduct. The revised policy has eliminated the language equating rape with mere hugging and instead prohibits “[s]exual misconduct, including sexual assault, [which] is defined as deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature without the other person’s consent.”
A second pressing problem with
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