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Higher Education Watch
Colleges Enlist Growing Army of Title IX Enforcers

Earlier this year, the Harvard Law School professors Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk coined the term “bureaucratic sex creep” to describe the steady expansion of official regulation surrounding sexual conduct and discussion, especially on college campuses. New bureaucracies are constructed to enforce rules against sexual misconduct, but by making a growing range of ordinary conduct accountable to regulators, they end up eroding protected personal liberties as well.

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (un-self-consciously entitled “Resident Assistants Find Themselves on the Front Lines of Title IX Enforcement”) provides a perfect example of the phenomenon Gersen and Suk described. Not content with enlarging their ranks of diversity bureaucrats and Title IX officers, colleges are enlisting student resident assistants (typically, senior students who live in lower-class dorms) as “mandatory reporters” of possible Title IX violations, including “harassing remarks” they might hear.

“At the forefront of a university’s compliance is typically the Title IX coordinator,” the Chronicle reports earnestly. “But coordinators can’t monitor an entire campus on their own, so they often rely on mandatory reporters to bring possible offenses to their attention.”

The resident assistants are instructed to not be selective about what information they report to the authorities. They are to pass along to superiors anything they see or hear that could potentially run afoul of the growing web of sexual harassment rules and regulations: “RAs should be ‘funnels of information’,” a Title IX bureaucrat told the Chronicle. “Don’t try to sift and sort. Is this Title IX? Is this not Title IX?’ Let the Title IX administrator do that.”

As Gersen and Suk note, colleges are defining “Title IX violation,” increasingly broadly so that it sometimes includes consensual sexual contact or protected speech and discussion. And RA’s are now required to report student sexual remarks and behavior even if they don’t have a strong reason to believe it constitutes a violation. As a result, campus administrators will increasingly be privy to information about which underclassmen are sleeping with one another and which students made salacious remarks in their dorm rooms.

And so the sex bureaucracy continues to expand in American academia. It’s possible that the new embedded dorm-room “eyes and ears” will lead to more students being punished for genuine misconduct. But at what cost? Stalin’s police state helped him apprehend criminals more easily than America’s liberal system, too. This is not good training for life in a free society.

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  • f1b0nacc1

    They aren’t training for life in a free society, they are training for life as obedient serfs

    • stubb

      And sadly, they’re embracing it wholesale. They can’t get enough of it. They even wear their emasculation, brainwashing, and groupthink as a badge of moral superiority.

      I can’t think of another time in history when the young generation appeared to seize on to the ideas of their elders so eagerly and uncritically. Outside of Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, and other totalitarian states. Hmm..

      • wri

        It is a contrast with earlier generations which repelled against authoritarianism.

        • mrdoug1

          Actually, I think that’s mostly a myth based on our own little recent history in which the 60s generation did so. I believe if you go back pre-WWII, you would find that most younger generations largely embraced the society, and mores and values, of their elders, and carried on with them. The 60’s generation was, I believe, for the most part the exception, not the rule.

          • wri

            I don’t have enough info to dispute what you say. If you are right, it is certainly a “myth” that I have heard repeatedly and have just taken for granted. My experience with the two generations following the 60’s (my children and grandchildren) is that in their youth they tend to be idealistic, which usually means they identify with being “liberal”, however that is defined at the time. Today the left has managed to bastardized the meaning of “liberal” into a PC authoritarianism. So maybe our youth have taken the bait and think they are being idealistic and liberal by accepting and promoting ideas that belong in “1984.”

          • Jim__L

            There are rebels in every generation — flappers, hippies, Revivalists — even the Victorian Era was a rebellion against the damage that the more’s of Regency England caused, more’s which were in so many ways similar to our own.

            The pendulum continues to swing.

  • Tom

    Let’s be real about what this information is mostly going to be used for: going after anyone who ticks off an administrator or someone who is well-liked by an administrator.
    Dealing with actual, serious harassment? That was already being done, except in the cases of people who were, well, liked by administrators.

  • QET

    Georg Dreyman: I want to ask you one thing.
    Minister Bruno Hempf: Anything, my dear Dreyman.
    Georg Dreyman: Why wasn’t my flat wired? Everyone was under surveillance. Why not me?
    Minister Bruno Hempf: You were under full surveillance. We knew everything about you.
    Georg Dreyman: Full surveillance?
    Minister Bruno Hempf: The whole place was bugged. The works.
    Georg Dreyman: Impossible.
    Minister Bruno Hempf: Take a look behind your light switches. We knew everything. We even knew that you weren’t man enough to satisfy our little Christa.
    Georg Dreyman: To think that people like you ruled a country.

    The Lives of Others

    • mrdoug1

      Haven’t seen it but understand it’s a very good movie.

  • seattleoutcast

    And the elite wonder about the gender disparity at our universities. My only hope is that companies increasingly hire high school students as apprentices or merely without degrees, as Google (hat tip to TAI) does. Currently STEM majors say, “Well, I have to go to college to get my degree.” But if STEM students become apprentices rather than go through the gender-bashing mill, the future of the university is dismal indeed.

    Of course, the answer on the left is, “Make men more pink!”

  • Mark1971

    Someday they will remake “The Lives Of Others” with the setting on a US college campus.

  • stubb

    We haven’t had a “free society” here for many years. The tolerant, open-minded 60s radicals turned out to be a lot worse than the traditionalists they replaced.

  • Beauceron

    They have them to enforce their racial rules. Why shouldn’t they have them to enforce gender rules?

    Increasingly, as the privileges and special rights distributed to the favored races and gender become more and more absurd they have to find ways to justify them.

    There are 30% more women in college than men– a massive gap (https://nscnews.org/the-college-gender-gap) — and that gap is only increasing as more and more men rightly decide that universities are not particularly favorable places for them (unless they fall under one of the other protected groups, like blacks or latinos or gays). How do you justify special entrance requirements, scholarships, awards, programs, courses, majors, etc. available only or primarily directed towards women? Well, you come up with things like the ridiculous and totally counter-factual “rape culture” nonsense invented on campus and perpetuated by our media. Then you get an army of people whose sole job it is to turn over every stone to find examples so that its existence can continue.

    And students complain about the rising cost of education. They’re paying for an increasingly thick layer of useless administrators whose sole job it is to enforce social justice precepts.

  • Fat_Man

    George Orwell explained everything you need to know about the world the “progressives” are trying to create in one small book: “1984”. Read it and weep.

    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79n/

    • wri

      I started to write a post and then saw you had already said what I intended: “Wow, a real life ‘1984’!”

    • Andrew Allison

      There’s another book which should be be on everybody’s list: Chesterton’s “The Flying Inn” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flying_Inn). It’s lessons (insidious cultural usurpation) apply not just to the steady Islamification of Europe, but the “progressive” takeover of our country.

  • DukeLax

    Gender-feminists are going to keep pushing more and more perversions and manufactured statistics Alliances into our legal system ( and state and local law enforcements around the country are going to keep taking these DOJ “pervert the course of justice” dollars..until American males are forced to go gay, or go MGTOW……..just to keep from being harassed by law enforcement and their pervert triangles with the DOJ.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This is what happens when the “Government Monopoly” meddles with what should be a “private sector free market service” like Higher Education. Things like Title IX, Student Loans ($1 Trillion worth of private debt during a deflationary economy), the Suppression of Reason, and the indoctrination of the student body by anti-Western Culture/Leftist Dogma that has destroyed nations like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact countries, China, Cambodia, etc… and is trying to destroy America.

    The “Government Monopoly” suffers from the same disease as all Monopolies, the lack of the “Feedback of Competition”. It’s the “Feedback of Competition” that provides the Information and Motivation which forces continuous improvements in Quality, Service, and Price in free markets.

  • ljgude

    I’m still convinced the US led the ‘free world’ in defeating Communism because we had a freer more open system. It is truly astonishing that we seem to be compulsively repeating the same mistakes the Communists made. I believe the cultural bad seed actually goes back further than Communism – all the way to birth of the “Left’ in the French National Assembly. What we are seeing is the same process that took place between 1989 and 1793. Remember that line in Schiller’s Ode to Joy? “All men will become brothers where your gentle river flows” Beethoven used it for the final movement of the 9th Symphony and the left is still stuck on it endlessly repeating the march from universal brotherhood to The Terror in the space of 4 years. May God have mercy on their souls.

    • Jim__L

      I like the comment, but please leave poor Beethoven out of it… he had the sense to condemn Napoleon (rescinding his dedication to his 3rd symphony) after Napoleon sacked Vienna and declared himself emperor in 1804, twenty years before Beethoven finished his 9th.

  • FriendlyGoat

    These are good examples of why students should not live in dorms if they can possibly avoid it and why no one in his/her right mind should be an RA if he/she can possibly avoid it.

    • DivideByZeroes

      “I cannot imagine him thrust into the role described here.”

      I’m reporting you for using the harassing & sexually explicit word “thrust.” After all, I’m just a funnel of information; I’ll let the Title IX administrator sift and sort this.

      • mrdoug1

        Touche’

        • Jim__L

          Non-consensual Touche’! Reported!

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, you are describing one (one) of the many problems. Some try-to-make-this-work functionary will soon decide “What we need is a list of words!”

        • DivideByZeroes

          No doubt. What I like best is that the functionary you mention is almost certain to be the kind of person who, thirty years ago, would have been vehemently (and properly) opposed to religious & government book bans, but who now would think nothing about banning a list of words. Yet what are books, if not really, really long lists of words?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, the words in books stay in books unless we bring them out and parry them “at” other people. But, we know that when we go down the trail of mandatory reporting of this or that, then the next “definition task” is mandatory reporting of EXACTLY what? The “exactly” is more devil in the details.

            I’m not entirely against colleges being proactive in dissuading sexual “use” of some students by other students. I’m not against “yes means yes”. I’m not against women deserving some expectation that men are not supposed to “grab ’em by the p” EVEN if those women are very, very drunk and are what some used to call “asking for it”.

            My son did a year at a junior college from home. Then he went away to a state college and had a tiny one-guy apartment off campus. His housing and life were far superior to mine where I went to state college, lived a year in a dorm and then in a multi-guy off-campus apartment. Our personal experiences never included mixed gender dorms at all, and I am now grateful they didn’t. We both married one girl and have no-split marriages. We both avoided the big messes one can get in at college. But his one-guy housing was to me what anyone with sense should try to seek if possible. Less distraction all round.

          • DivideByZeroes

            Agree with everything you said in the first two paragraphs. I would expand on your second paragraph by saying that I would like to see college administrations put more emphasis on responsible alcohol use, by both genders. As a father of two boys who will someday be of college age, I also find appalling many colleges’ policies whereby a female student who has been drinking essentially has no agency. In cases where a woman is raped, she is never to blame for her own rape — I am neither saying nor implying that she is. What I am saying is that the increasingly common policy of treating alcohol-fueled hookups as solely the responsibility of the male, saying the woman is incapable of consent if she’s been drinking at all, infantilizes women. And assuming that the woman is not obviously staggering, slurring, vomiting, etc., it is unreasonable to expect the man to know how far under the influence the woman is.

            I went to a small liberal arts college in the 90s where the dorms were fully coed — no separate floors for men and women, everyone mixed together, complete with coed bathrooms. My freshman year, one of the bathrooms on my hall had two showers with only a shower curtain between them. I never did hear any stories about those living arrangements leading to incidents, but I could never see the value in it. Sorry to be crude, but who wants to take a dump while members of the opposite sex are at the sink brushing their teeth?

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) And another question is who wants to be brushing their teeth while,…. just kidding—-and agreeing.

            2) Because I’m old, my experience simply doesn’t include a co-ed dorm. I have occasionally imagined that might force some of the guys into greater civility, but I don’t know. Wasn’t there. Didn’t observe it.
            Also never even had a sister or a daughter, just one brother and one son. So, I’m no authority on how to “live with girls”.

            3) I fully agree with you about the alcohol and I see it as a major driver of the most egregious incidents we “hear about”. The religious colleges can push the teetotaler line, but the secular colleges can’t. I have wondered if any of them try to peddle the idea of drinking “a little” with ideas like “One and Done” or “Be Kind, Hold it to Two”—-or something. When I was in college, we guys drank a few, but not much in mixed company. I was never “plastered” and was only once with a girl who had had too many. (She didn’t feel well and we held hands until she felt better.)

            As for your sons, good luck. I don’t have to tell you that the world in many ways is becoming more hazardous and difficult for young people. One thing you might tell them is this. When they are 65 (like me), they may well remember every girl they ever held hands with or kissed (like I still do.) You want those to be sweet, kind memories and you want those girls to have the same of you when they get old.
            You want whoever later marries those girls to say to you (in your imagination if nothing else)—-“Hey, thanks for treating her right, you were an okay dude.”

          • DivideByZeroes

            Sounds like you and I have a very similar mindset regarding romantic dealings. I also have fond memories of things like slow dances with girls I had crushes on at middle school dances, first kisses with high school girlfriends, etc. I was never aggressive with girls, and was constantly trying to make sure I wasn’t pressuring them into doing anything they might not want to. I was terrible at interpreting hints and clueless about reading between the lines, and in retrospect there were a number of hookups I left on the table, but for my own self-respect, I’d rather have memories of situations that could have gone farther, and not have to deal with feeling like I ever took advantage of someone or cajoled her past her comfort zone.

            The specific way you phrased your memories of past experiences, as sweet and kind, resonates with me and it’s exactly how I hope my sons will someday remember their romances. My older son is approaching middle school (my younger one is only 2, still a baby) and I will need to be very clear about my expectation that he respect girls. Definitely not looking forward to uncomfortable conversations where I tell him, for example, that he is never to ask a girl to text him selfies that she might someday regret.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. I enjoyed writing to you, because we don’t often get to reminisce on these kinds of subjects. I too was clueless about hints and “between the lines” with girls, and though trying to be courteous, I was not as focused then on the idea of kindness as now in hindsight as an old guy. Today it seems like the main thing we should be discussing for the guy/girl stuff at high school and college. Are we as kind as we could be? All the best to you and your sons.

    • MarkM

      The other sad thing is by taking the mandatory reporter approach and not giving the RAs any kind of discretion, there will be an incredible flood of information coming into that office – thus justifying more bureaucrats to review said flood of information. They also undermine the ability of the students to go to the RA with problems once everyone realizes the RA cannot keep anything in confidence but is required to report it all.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I wasn’t kidding about advising any young people to try to stay out of the dorms. If their college has a mandatory dorm rule for freshmen or other students, THAT is the one they should be fighting against.

  • mrdoug1

    I will be sitting down with my now-16 year old son within the next year, and most certainly before he embarks for college, to discuss in detail with him how easily he can become a target and be put squarely in the dock, without the ability to defend himself, simply on the basis of some girl’s say-so. Whether she’s his girlfriend or something more casual will not matter – all it takes is one angry, regretful, spiteful woman. And Lord knows, the females in our colleges are being pumped full of the feminist/SJW propaganda constantly, so they are almost encouraged to go on these crusades. Emma Sulkowicz, the “mattress girl” at Columbia was the perfect prototype of this kind of woman. They’re everywhere in our colleges now. I’m so glad I went to college when I did, and not now. I feel sorry for young men in college now. It’s truly risky.

  • Richard Cook

    After my annual HR orientation this semester, I was troubled to discover that professors are also “mandatory reporters,” not only of incidents described to us by students, but also of overheard commentary (jokes included – as the article says, we ought not trouble ourselves with filtering, which is the purview of the Title IX Coordinator). When some questioned the potential for getting dragged into the fray ourselves, we were also advised by the Counsel’s office that if it appears that a student is about to spill the facts of an incident to us, we should inform them we are mandatory reporters. We were told this as a way to avoid reporting; in other words, make sure the student knows that this info will be sent up for a report in order to dissuade the student from saying anything. Out of one side of the mouth, we are told to maintain a Stasi-like monitoring all activity and speech, and out of the other, suppress the reports to avoid embroiling oneself in the problems. It’s the best of both worlds: evil AND incompetent.

    • Jim__L

      “Evil and incompetent” — there is an alternative to this dire situation… be cheerfully corrupt!

      Watch Casablanca again, and model your behavior on Captain Renault’s. =)

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