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Much of the debate focuses on changes colleges began making five years ago in response to accusations by the federal government that they were not doing enough to address campus assaults.
The directives also carried the threat that the government would withhold millions of dollars from colleges that did not comply.
In the past three years, male students accused of sexual misconduct have filed hundreds of lawsuits, charging that they were the victims of both false allegations and school procedures that failed to properly vet the claims.
And while there are no exact figures, in dozens of those cases male students also have sued the women who lodged the original allegations.
Last month, the American College of Trial Lawyers called for major reforms in how campuses handle reports of sexual assault.One out-of-state attorney says he has filed more than 15 defamation complaints nationwide on behalf of male students against their accusers.Locally, lawyers used the threat of defamation complaints against female accusers in sexual-misconduct cases at both Davidson College and UNC Charlotte.While acknowledging that the issue is a serious one, the group advocates policies that afford “basic fairness and due process.” Colleges do not operate courtrooms and do not have the resources, or legal authority, to conduct police-style investigations or trial-like proceedings, experts say.They are also limited by federal privacy rules from defending themselves against attacks from all sides.