State Representative Earl Ehrhart is now in his second legislative session fighting the failure of due process on Georgia’s university campuses. House Bill 51 seeks to force the colleges and universities to give serious consideration to the accused as well as spur the system to provide funding to those same institutions for counseling, campus safety and law enforcement.
At issue is the Title IX Education Amendments Act of 1972. This federal law’s purpose was to target discrimination in schools based on sex in federally assisted educational programs and was mostly known for its support of women’s athletics. It was later amended to go beyond sports and the classroom to include sexual harassment and assault.
But why the controversy? Rep. Ehrhart, Chairman of Appropriations for Higher Education believes that it was President Obama’s “Dear Colleague” letter that pushed school administrators into over-reacting to the detriment of the accused. “There are so many young people that have had their lives ruined by schools not allowing the basic Constitutional right of due-process to play out that I felt I had to act on this” says Ehrhart. He also stated that his goal was “not to deprive the victims of their right to due-process” as well, but to push the system to provide the needed funds to insure that the rights of all involved are protected. “These heinous acts should be prosecuted to the fullest and this bill does nothing to stop or impede this process. What it does do is turn the investigation over to those qualified to perform a full and proper investigation for the fairness of all involved.”
The Powder Springs Republican believes that funding in the millions of dollars can and should be made available to insure that the institutions of higher learning provide a safe atmosphere for “everyone on campus.” Chairman Ehrhart told IAG, “I intend to stay on this until the funding is there and parents of students at our fine institutions can rest easy that their children are treated fairly and appropriately by our system of higher education.”