Joshua Adam Engel was a featured presenter at the 2015 Fraternal Law Conference in Cincinnati on November 13, 2015.
Engel presented on the rights of students accused of Title IX violations and sexual assault in campus disciplinary hearings. Engel’s presentation focused on the sexual harassment or sexual misconduct policies adopted by schools for investigating and resolving allegations of sexual assault. In Engel’s view, instead of implementing policies aimed at finding the truth after full and fair investigations and hearings, many schools have adopted policies that more closely resemble witch hunts aimed at making examples of accused students to show the Department of Education that school is “tough” on allegations of sexual assault.
Engel noted in a previous article that, as a former prosecutor, he is committed to providing adequate due process protections to those accused of sexual assault because, in part, these protections enhance the credibility of the proceedings and ultimately serve to provide justice for victims of sexual assault. The hearings do not need to resemble criminal trials, and not all rights guaranteed by the Constitution in a criminal trial need to be present. Yet, a full and fair process that allows students a meaningful opportunity to be heard prior to the imposition of sanctions should include a number of traditional and time-tested protections that lead to reliable outcomes, including cross-examination and restrictions on the use of unreliable hearsay.