Some rights are above popular opinion. We could hold a vote right now and a majority could decide to put me to death, but that wouldn’t be justice. I have a right to life not only as a student, not only as an American, but as a human being. These rights were not created by the Constitution; they were written to be common knowledge. My constitutional right to an evidence-based trial instead of hysteria is a human right. The idea of strictly believing accusers is not an addition to human rights, it is a direct contradiction and a quiet repeal of the values of the American revolution.
The right to a fair trial does not exist to only benefit criminals, just like the right to a free press does not exist to only benefit the New York Times. The rights of the accused are our rights.
If we “believe women” more assaulters would be convicted. That much is for certain. Stacking the odds in favor of the accuser has cost us our assumed innocence, and the costs of this justice are seemingly ignored. Believing any allegation at face value means evidence doesn’t matter. Justice at all costs is not justice.
I have been told that since 98 percent of allegations are true that under Title IX innocence has to be proven rather than guilt. It takes courage to stand in front of the Senate against the man who may have assaulted you. We do owe her a chance to speak her mind. However, to blindly accept testimony without regard for evidence is questionable. No one is above scrutiny, not even potential sexual assault victims—especially in the highest court of our country. Nobody’s freedom should depend on their popularity—not even Kavanaugh’s.
Here at Bowdoin, Title IX is routinely criticized because not every accusation of sexual assault receives punishment. That is not its purpose. Our students have a right to fair trial with clear charges and evidence. We are entitled to an investigation by the Judicial Board. Title IX does not exist to serve punishment at the cost of justice. I did not commit an assault, but I don’t have an alibi for where I was last weekend. Like Judge Kavanaugh, I don’t have an alibi for every weekend in high school. In 30 years, I will not have an alibi. His rights are my rights. I am Kavanaugh.
Like any Bowdoin student, I am skeptical of commonly accepted ideas and am open-minded. I openly question the logic behind our current immigration policy. I still believe America should have the most generous immigration policy in the world, but there should be some kind of limit. However, my views are generalized into being “anti-immigrant” in all cases. Calling you a communist is as unfair as calling me a xenophobe. Yet students are quick to paint conservatives as close-minded. I, Theo de Quillacq, with the most French last name, born in London, born without American citizenship, am not a xenophobe.
We aren’t playing for teams, we are creating marginal changes. We just value trade-offs differently. I value the environment, but I would not go to the extreme of sterilizing the human race to protect it from pollution. No one would. It is unfair to generalize someone’s views as “anti-environmental” because of particular stances.
It is childish to generalize this issue as men versus women, or corporations versus the environment. Kavanaugh considers the specifics, but the most common argument I hear is that he has chosen the wrong side, as if he is against the environment or women in all cases. It has only been a few weeks since student protestors gathered on the quad and petitioned in Portland because of Kavanaugh’s stances on the environment. Yes, I agree that the environment should be protected, but not in all cases. Justice at all costs is not justice.
No allegation or precedent is above scrutiny. It is possible Dr. Ford did not tell the truth. It is possible that Roe v. Wade was an unjust decision. Jane Roe was never raped. Jane Roe admitted she lied about being raped on live TV. She later changed her mind on abortion, and called her role in the case “the far greater sin.” Maybe we shouldn’t have taken her word for it. I don’t have the answers, but the conversation is not over.
It is ironic that a place dedicated to truth is hostile to skepticism.
Theo de Quillacq is a member of the class of 2021.