Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis is apologizing after he suggested during a congressional hearing last week that college students accused of rape should be expelled without question.
Mr. Polis admitted Tuesday he made a “major gaffe” when he argued during a hearing on campus sexual assault prevention: “If there’s 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people. We’re not talking about depriving them of life and liberty. We’re talking about them transferred to another university,” Mediaite reported.
Mr. Polis initially defended the remarks, telling Reason, “If my son had a baseless accusation made against him at a university and it was making his life there miserable, I would suggest he transfer or take courses online. It can be a living hell to go through endless campus investigations. I’ve seen this go down, and there really is no winning once the accusation is made even if the process provides formal vindication. Someone who is wrongfully accused needs to do their best to put it behind them and move on.”
After being widely criticized for the comments, Mr. Polis apologized in a statement he published on Medium.
“I went too far by implying that I support expelling innocent students from college campuses, which is something neither I nor other advocates of justice for survivors of sexual assault support,” he wrote. “That is not what I meant to say and I apologize for my poor choice of words.”
Mr. Polis added, “I regret that my gaffe is now being used by some to advocate for a dangerous and myopic policy that would make our college campuses less safe.”