The good news is that students are not quite as ignorant of their constitutional rights as we’ve thought. The bad news is that most universities don’t want them to have any.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently surveyed students on this question and made a comparison to the FIRE ratings on college free speech policies. Their findings are rather disheartening:
• “85 percent of respondents think students accused of misconduct should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but only 30 percent of top schools guarantee this vital protection.”
• “8 in 10 students surveyed think students accused of breaking the law should be allowed to have a lawyer help defend them in campus disciplinary proceedings, but only three top colleges allow it.”
“Colleges argue that due process can be minimal because hearings are merely ‘educational.’ Students overwhelmingly disagree, with 84 percent responding that the primary purpose of a campus disciplinary hearing is to provide justice and protection to students on campus.”