National magazine looks at campus courts controversy

U.S. News and World Report highlighted the criticism facing campus courts’ secret proceedings in its online edition in August.

Critics charge that campus tribunals — with their closed hearings, lack of due process and inability to impose penalties harsher than expulsion — are not suited to handling cases of rape, assault or other serious crimes.

But universities may have an incentive to funnel criminal cases to the campus courts: criminal offenses handled by university tribunals are tried in secret.

Although all crimes reported to campus police are required to be made public, once they reach the campus courts, they are rarely heard about again. Last October, Congress added an amendment to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that permits colleges to disclose the outcomes of disciplinary proceedings. Although the amendment does not require schools to release this information, many state open records laws do.