Men punished for sexual misconduct in the wave of cases sweeping college campuses are fighting back against what they call unfair student disciplinary systems and publicity that threatens to shatter their reputations, the Washington Post reports. The current and former college students describe themselves as victims of false accusations amid a national campaign led by the White House to stamp out sexual violence on campuses. While the federal push to increase awareness of sexual assault is aimed at keeping students safe and holding colleges and universities accountable, some of the accused say the pressure on their schools has led to an unfair tipping of the scales against them.
They dispute the validity of internal investigations that rely on a lower standard of proof for determining misconduct than what is required for a sex-crime conviction. They contest accounts on the Internet that label them as sexual assailants or rapists. Joshua Strange, 23, of Spartanburg, S.C., was stunned that Auburn University expelled him in 2012 for sexual misconduct even though a grand jury found insufficient evidence to prosecute him for a sex crime. The internal disciplinary proceeding began, he said, after an ex-girlfriend falsely accused him of sex assault. “The way that universities are handling the entire situation is terrible,” Strange said. “It's kind of a broken system.” Debate over campus sex assault has exploded as college students and officials confront questions about what constitutes consent for sex and what behavior fuels a culture that tolerates or trivializes rape.