Campus panels may fail to ask tough questions of the students on both sides of an accusation, says Mr. Sokolow, the consultant. He often works with colleges when they are finishing an investigation or a hearing to review their process.
In a recent case, a young woman had accused a male classmate of forcing her to perform oral sex. The college’s panel had found him responsible, and the young man had appealed. When Mr. Sokolow went over the evidence and the findings, he had several questions for the panelists: Had they asked the young woman how long the encounter took? What position was the couple in? Was she on her knees, or were they in bed? Was he holding her head to force her?
The panelists weren’t sure, says Mr. Sokolow. “They looked at me like, How can we possibly ask those questions? I said, Because that’s the job.”
The panel on that campus has reopened the case. It has yet to issue a final judgment.