USC Students Demand Prof’s Firing After He Defends Due Process

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TOM CICCOTTA

Students at the University of Southern California are demanding the termination of a professor who defended due process rights for those accused of sexual assault.

Earlier this semester, USC Professor James Moore came under fire after he decided to defend due process rights for those accused of sexual assault. Moore sent an email to his academic department, expressing his thoughts about the state of discourse surrounding due process in the context of sexual misconduct allegations. Moore’s email was inspired by the Christine Blasey Ford congressional hearings that were taking place at the time.

“If the day comes you are accused of some crime or tort of which you are not guilty, and you find your peers automatically believing your accuser, I expect you find yourself a stronger proponent of due process than you are now,” Moore wrote in his email.

Dozens of students immediately called for Moore to be terminated. They organized a group protest and called on the administration to take action against Moore.

“Professor James Moore has created a hostile environment in which many survivors of sexual assault do not feel safe. If you feel as we do that this is unacceptable, and that USC must take action to remove this man from his position of power, join us in protest,” the protesters wrote on a Facebook page.

“Seeing Mr. Moore’s email in my inbox was quite upsetting,” another female student said. “The initial email was meant to raise our attention to an absolutely critical initiative.”

 “As a female student, I feel very uncomfortable that a male professor whom I have never met is trying to interfere with my access to knowledge about my federal rights,” one female graduate student said in an email.

Moore ultimately caved and apologized to the protesters. In a statement, he reasserted his beliefs about due process after saying that he didn’t intend to hurt students.

“It is never my intention to hurt anyone.  My intention is to protect more students than we currently do from being punished for acts of misconduct they have not committed. Any of us might stand accused of any number of misdeeds, and each of us at that point will want to be treated fairly under due process,” Moore wrote.

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