A law unto themselves

Caption: Sydney University demonstrates its innovative new method of dispensing justice.

When nations descend into authoritarianism, the university-educated elite are almost always at the forefront. Recent surveys have indicated that young Australians are increasingly flirting with authoritarianism, and university academics waving their little red and black flags are leading the way.

From free speech to the very idea of Western civilisation itself, academics are championing the march of the counter-Enlightenment. Now, universities are undermining the very foundations that have underpinned Western rule of law for centuries. Quote:

A raft of new university policies have emerged in response to concerns about the prevalence of sexual misconduct on campuses. Many of the policies?have been criticised for potentially undermining legal rights of those accused of serious crimes?the University of Sydney?s student affairs unit?applies a civil burden of proof, rather than a criminal one, in its investigations. End of quote.

Like academic-led attacks on free speech, these vacuous ninnies are following the American playbook. False ?concerns about the prevalence of sexual misconduct on campuses? are used, like so many Reichstag fires, as an excuse to undermine the civilised rule of law. As psychologist Bettina Arndt says, there is no ?rape crisis? on Australian campuses. These ridiculous claims ? which, if taken seriously, would mean that universities are as dangerous as the war-torn Congo ? are based solely on fabricated statistics which hysterically equate unwanted glances with ?rape?.

Such lies cannot be allowed to turn universities into Star Chambers. Quote:

Courts, when hearing criminal matters, typically require a determination of guilt ?beyond reasonable doubt?, which is a higher evidentiary standard of proof.

Penalties at the university range from fines to suspension, ?rescission of an academic award and expulsion. Concerns have been raised that a person found not guilty of a sexual offence by a court could still be punished by the university.

The move has echoes of an Obama-era policy to permit US universities to apply civil-style standards when dealing with sexual violence complaints. The Trump administration rescinded the policy amid concerns it lacked rigour and did not strike the right balance in protecting the rights of the victim and the accused. End of quote.

Under these similar policies in America, false rape claims proliferated. The Duke Lacrosse case, the Rolling Stone rape hoax, and ?Mattress girl?. In each case, the lives and careers of the accused were ruined, often on the most obviously false evidence. Even when the accused were exonerated, campuses still punished them mercilessly, while the lying accusers get off not just scot-free, but actually celebrated as ?feminist icons?. Quote:

Sydney?s updated policy, released this year, stipulates that the standard of proof to be satisfied in university investigations of sexual assault and sexual harassment be ?on the balance of ?probabilities?, which requires ?satisfaction on the evidence that the matter found to have occurred is more likely to have occurred than not?. End of quote.

Alleged crimes are a matter for police and courts to decide, not biased, ideologically-driven campus witch-trials. Quote:

In a submission to the University of Tasmania, Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Matthew Lesh accused the policy of being in ?clear contradiction of the legal rights of someone accused of a serious criminal matter such as sexual assault?.

Mr Lesh said the higher threshold in criminal justice was required because the consequences, in terms of punishment and for an individual?s reputation, were severe.

Criminal defence barrister Patrick Casey [said] ?We should not be turning our universities into a police force to deal with such serious matters, which clearly require a higher standard of proof than a balance of probabilities.? End of quote.

The same academics who hysterically attacked the very idea of a course on Western civilisation, at the same time happily promote ?Islamic studies centres? funded by some of the most oppressive regimes on earth. Quote:

Far from being beacons of enlightenment, some of this nation?s universities seem intent on ushering in a new dark age where fundamental rights ? the gift of the Western enlightenment ? are being rapidly discarded. Leading the charge into the abyss is the nat?ion?s oldest tertiary institution, the University of Sydney, where the forces of darkness have a rec?ord of attacking freedom of speech and are now targeting due process, the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.

These fundamental rights form the bedrock of Western civilisation. End of quote.

?Intellectuals? are siding with zealots who want to institute sharia law, not the rule of law established by centuries of Enlightenment.