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White House report on sexual assault gets major facts wrong, threatens freedom

A White House task force’s report made some startling errors about campus sexual assault rates, and proposed recommendations that endanger students’ constitutional rights, according to civil libertarians.

The report, which was authored by the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, leads with the bizarre and wholly false claim that 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while at college. The statistic, originally reported in a Centers for Disease Control report several years ago, is at odds with most other data relating to violent crimes, and has been repeatedly dunked by criminologists.

“The agency’s figures are wildly at odds with the official crime statistics said Christina Hoff Summers, a resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, in a video statement.

Violent crime has plummeted in the last 20 years. If the CDC’s estimates were true, U.S. college campuses would be astronomically less safe than the most dangerous, crime-ridden areas of major cities.

“Since there are more than 12 million women now on campus, that would mean that up to  2.4 million of them either have been raped on campus, or will be before leaving,” wrote author KC Johnson at Minding the Campus. “So the White house is saying that the nation confronts a public safety problem of enormous proportions: a higher rate of violent crime (sexual assault is, of course, a violent crime) than the most dangerous urban areas in the country.”

The scale of the problem is just the report’s first error. It also outlines several ways to address sexual assault that would threaten the civil liberties of students accused of sexual assault.

The report specifically instructs universities to abridge students’ due process by denying them the right to confront their accusers.

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