Duke University to Expel Students Disciplined for Sexual Assault
Yesterday, Duke University announced that the "preferred sanction" for attackers in cases of sexual assault will now be expulsion. The previous precedent for sexual assault was suspension for three to six semesters. However, this change does not mean that every student found guilty of sexual misconduct will be expelled because the University does not have any minimum sanction requirements."
President of Duke Student Government Stefani Jones, who helped change the sanction policy, noted that "In the past, the average sanction for similar offenses has been three to four semesters" including summer "which was really insufficient, considering the severity of the violation," and "What this does, though, is set the standard for the discussion so that expulsion is essentially the rule and suspension is the exception, rather than the other way around."
This change comes less than a year after Duke agreed to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assault misconduct. Until October of 2012, there was a one-year statute of limitations on cases of sexual misconduct.
These changes are also part of a larger movement in higher education to change sexual assault policies to address growing concerns about rape culture on campuses in light of recent legal challenges to universities across the country. The Duke policy decision comes shortly after it was announced that University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be facing a third investigation into allegations of retaliating against sexual assault survivors.
Media Resources: Duke Chronicle 7/9/2013; Think Progress 5/16/13; Feminist Newswire 7/8/2013, 5/24/2013, 10/9/12
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .