Once upon a time, our beloved University, in loco parentis, regulated the lives of its young men in terms of the Chapel rule, parietals, and the like. In the present, “modern” era, with gender-neutral dorm rooms and common baths, it strikes me that (for better or worse) society has moved on regarding regulation of individual behavior. Perhaps ancient ecclesiastical tradition encourages the University to maintain its own internal court system, but, apart from matters of academic malfeasance (e.g., cheating on exams, plagiarism, intellectual-property theft), it is not clear to me why we do not employ the criminal and civil systems to handle sexual-misconduct incidents (On the Campus, Oct. 8).
Is it that the University has established the precedent of responsibility for its students’ behavior? Does New Jersey law ascribe to the University, as “innkeeper” of a largely residential student body, responsibility for occurrences in its facilities? We might avoid the complexities of satisfying federal regulations if we simply cede adjudication of sexual-misconduct complaints to better-qualified authorities. I expect that our lawyer brethren can educate us properly on these matters.