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Campus Kangaroo Courts
Professors Rebel Against Campus Sex Bureaucracy

The Obama administration’s Office for Civil Rights in Education—the zealous government agency that has, over the last five years, unilaterally reshaped sexual assault procedures at campuses across the country—has a surprising new critic: The left-leaning American Association of University Professors. The flagship organization of U.S. college faculty has just released a major report, authored by its Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure and its Committee on Women in the Profession, sharply criticizing the role of federal Title IX enforcement in curtailing civil liberties for students and faculty alike. An excerpt from the document (h/t Inside Higher Ed):

The issue of what constitutes a hostile environment has been contentious under both Title VII and Title IX, but the university context raises distinctive issues, particularly when speech rather than conduct is in question. To what extent can speech be subject to the same regulations as assault, as has been increasingly the case in recent years? What are the consequences of such an equation in a university setting where there must be a careful balance between an interest in preventing or punishing hostile environment sexual harassment and an interest in academic freedom, including free speech, shared governance, and due process? How can care be exercised to protect students’ and employees’ equal rights and safety without violating rights of academic freedom or free speech? These questions were considered central to Title IX enforcement in the last decades of the 20th century; this has not been the case at least since 2011.

In 2011, the Office for Civil Rights issued its controversial “Dear Colleague” letter, redefining the federal government’s role in campus sexual misconduct disputes and dramatically weakening the due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. While previous federal guidance to colleges on dealing with sexual harassment had included precautions against infringing on civil liberties, the 2011 document contained no such language. Indeed, a (since-revoked) follow-up order issued in 2013 instructed colleges to adopt a definition of sexual harassment that was almost certainly unconstitutionally broad. The OCR also put dozens of colleges under an lengthy and arduous disciplinary process, pressuring administrators to discipline more students and faculty. In a forthcoming law review article, Harvard Law professors Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk describe the “Dear Colleague” letter as part of the impetus for what they call “bureaucratic sex creep”—the enlargement of regulation surrounding sexual conduct that has the effect of eroding protected personal liberties.

The politics of this debate are complicated, and its future uncertain. The Obama administration has wielded Title IX as a tool to satisfy and placate campus left-wing activists even as it disappointed them on more significant policy areas. Meanwhile, the GOP Congress has—belatedly—started to question the administration’s authority to intervene so aggressively in campus disciplinary processes without Congressional approval. Without more robust Congressional or judicial intervention, a Hillary Clinton administration seems likely to ratify the current OCR’s posture (or go even further). But if key academic constituencies are starting to rebel in a major way, then perhaps even the existing sex bureaucracy will be hard to sustain.

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  • Beauceron

    You know it’s gotten bad when the country’s idiot class (humanities professors) thinks you’ve gone too far to the Left.

  • Jim__L

    Hillary’s in a cleft stick. On the one hand, she can continue to receive political instruction from her husband. who blatantly violates the principles of the OCR. On the other, she can embrace the OCR, but that would probably mean divorcing (and possibly prosecuting) Bill.

    What makes this such a challenging decision for Hillary?

    Even if Hillary wins the critical FBI primary, one fact remains — she is, at best… a mediocrity.

    This isn’t just about her being of no particular note at State, at a time when our country’s profile and power was at risk of serious decline, a risk now realized thanks in large part to Hillary. (When she was not invisible or indifferent, she was actively incompetent.)

    This goes far deeper, to the basis of her very being…. Mediocrity.

    I watched Amadeus recently, which tracked a fictionalized, highly dramatized rivalry between the true genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and (his real-life friend) fellow Viennese composer Antonio Salieri. In the movie’s portrayal, Mozart is a boor, a man-child, reckless with money, unbelievably coarse, with “a laugh like the braying of an ass” — yet his music seems to be a gift straight from God. Salieri is courtly (likeable enough, although his only warmth is in his sublimated rage), intelligent enough, extremely well-connected, and works very, very hard to be the only thing he ever wanted to be — a composer of genius.

    Something he will never be. Listening to Mozart’s music, Salieri knows that he himself will always be — a mediocrity.

    Hillary has played this role in real life for decades now. First, she was a hardworking mediocrity to Bill Clinton’s (crude, coarse) political genius. I can’t help but wonder how often the Clinton household played out as a variation on that scene where Mozart is dictating his Requiem Mass in d minor to a rapt Salieri, who is getting as close to true genius as his mediocrity ever will.

    Then she had to play the mediocrity to Obama’s speechgiving genius. She was given the sop of a cabinet position, at which she demonstrated once again her mediocrity.

    Now, she looks like she’s going to go up against Trump’s crude and monstrous ego, whose ability to attract the disenfranchised of Obama’s America may actually rise to the level of genius. Hillary, the mediocrity, will never even have this brand of genius — imagine Salieri against one of the more transcendent rappers of today.

    Even if she wins the presidency, she will continue to be what she has always been — a mediocrity. And, with the support of the media and the Democrats’ Establishment, she will cause disasters worse than the Libya misadventure, if she is given the power. She must not be given that power.

  • Fat_Man

    What should one do when one’s enemies fight? “While you’re in the kitchen, please bring me a cold one and some popcorn.”

    Is there some way for both sides to lose?

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