Rape

Blame the Federal Government for Making College Awful

Rein in OCR

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Censorship
Dreamstime

Developments over the last few weeks have brought a lot of attention to the sorry state of the American college campus. This essay in Vox, the ordeals of Laura Kipnis, and the usual spate of college outrage stories provoked condemnations from a diverse range of media commentators.

It's nice that everybody is so upset, but as I explained in a recent column for The Daily Beast, defeating campus censorship will take a lot more than winning hearts and minds. That's because the policies of a runaway federal agency—the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, under the auspices of Title IX—keep the problem in place:

Kipnis is not the first academic to face such an inquisition. In fact, dubious harassment investigations have become commonplace at American colleges. At the moment, they seem to be drawing a great deal of (deserved) outrage. But they aren't going away simply because everyone is upset about them. Indeed, they are likely to keep increasing in frequency.

We have the federal government to thank for that.

Specifically, the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights—a massive, bureaucratic agency staffed with 650 lawyers. They have one job: punish universities that don't sufficiently police campuses for harassment and discrimination.

Ostensibly, they do this under the charge of Title IX, a 1972 amendment to the Higher Education Act that prohibits gender discrimination at universities that received federal funding. Initially intended to make sure that female student-athletes received as much institutional support as male athletes, Title IX has been reinterpreted by OCR to apply to virtually all human activity that takes place on campus.

Greg Lukianoff, President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, believes universities will continue incentivizing professors to self-censor if they think that's what's required to avoid Title IX investigations. He thinks Congress should intervene:

 "One thing you quickly learn is universities are terrified of Title IX investigations and lawsuits," said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free speech organization, in an interview with The Daily Beast. "The investigations themselves are really onerous, the lawsuits are expensive, and given the climate on campus, they are really afraid just to be accused of discrimination."

Lukianoff testified before the U.S. House of Representatives judiciary committee earlier this week about threats to academic freedom on campus. His solution is for Congress to require universities to police harassment in accordance with the strict Davis standard, rather than the broad and confusing standard that OCR has instructed universities to abide by.

"We need cultural pushback," said Lukianoff, "but we also need to understand that there is a structural governmental reason for why this stuff is so out of control."

Only when administrators are specifically instructed to maintain harassment policies that comport with the First Amendment will they actually leave professors alone. Until that happens, no number of thinkpieces about PC fascism taking over college campuses will convince administrators that ending a wave of professorial self-censorship is worth provoking the ire of the federal government.

Full thing here.

In the meantime, there's little reason to think the Title IX Inquisition won't continue. There are many members of Congress—including Sens. Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand—interested in forcing universities to "do something" about rape, even if that "something" tramples free speech and due process rights while doing very little to address sexual assault. How many members of Congress are interested in reining in OCR, instead?

NEXT: Rand Paul on Blocking the Patriot Act, GOP Hawks, and Edward Snowden

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  1. Specifically, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights?a massive, bureaucratic agency staffed with 650 lawyers. They have one job: punish universities that don’t sufficiently police campuses for harassment and discrimination.

    Change their incentives, or nothing about their behavior will change. At all. If you want to put 650 parasites in an agency and think they’re not going to find a way to suck off the host, you’re insane.

    Our government is nothing but parasites looking for something to do, some way to try and justify why they are tolerated as parasites. They will find a way if they are allowed.

    1. “They have one job: punish universities that don’t sufficiently police campuses for harassment and discrimination.”

      be one thing if all discrimination or harassment was treated equally; at least then a person could say there’s a job being done. It’s the one-sidedness, as many liberal academics are finding out, that gets people’s attention.

      1. wareagle,

        No, unequal treatment is now firmly entrenched. The idea of explicitly unequal enforcement of federal law, focusing on one race to punish, has been clearly used by regulators before this Pres. It has been emphasized and strengthened by his former Attorney General (Holder). Under Holder, the feds have explicitly bought into unequal enforcement civil rights laws only against white defendants; this explicit position was demonstrated in dropping the case of an African American thug, standing in front of a polling place during a federal election, clearly intimidating voters. The case had been won, and was waiting for the Justice Dept to ask for a sentence when holder dropped it under the theory that a black person couldn’t be guilty of a charge involving racial intimidation at a polling place. The the rape stories show that these agencies have been doing this for quite a while. Eliminating the Ed Dept by a Repub Pres with a Repub Senate and House is an actual, realistic possibility. This was one of the three Departments that (Former TX Gov) Perry famously forgot during a debate. His point was that he intended to eliminate all three. A big change, but he and possibly other Repub candidates might well do it.

    2. Epi. I use to work for a University. The only way to get rid of those people is to just not work for them, and not send your kids to learn from them. When you bosses, bosses, bosses, boss, who does not even work in the kitchen decides to make some changes in procedure, without taking into consideration labor, equipment, product costs, and mark up’s, and then bitches about cost overruns like it’s your fault. Then it it time to say “FUCK OFF” I’m not working here anymore.

      1. Seriously. State Indoctrination is so fucked. I say defund all State Universities.

        1. Just a little too much there; I’d say “defund all State!”

  2. Gah. I have a 14 month old son. I certainly hope this crap is reformed by the time he’s 18. More likely, just looking at a girl with any kind of desire will be a basis for a sexual harassment claim…

    1. Luckily, in 18 years physical colleges are likely to be extinct except at the very low and very high ends.

      1. Yeah, but cyberstalking!

  3. There are many members of Congress?including Sens. Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand?interested in forcing universities to “do something” about rape, even if that “something” tramples free speech and due process rights while doing very little to address sexual assault.

    Well, their oath to the United States Constitution isn’t going to keep them in power, the victim vote is. But what about the collegians lodging the complaints? Do they not get a share of the blame? Do you get an inquisition without an accuser?

    1. You can counter file if you want to under Title IX.

      It’s a shit show.

  4. Blame the Federal Government for Making College Awful

    So true. So unbelievably fucking true.

    1. “Blame the Federal Government for Making _______ Awful”

      You can actually fill in that blank with just about any noun you want, and you’d be right the majority of the time.

      1. You can also blame the colleges for making the federal government into the awful leviathan it is. It’s a two-way street, and none of it is by accident–the colleges have been pushing collectivism and statism and other awful ideas for over a century, and that is how we got where we are.

      2. That’s true. And also, if you leave the blank BLANK — still true.

  5. Good to see Robby takin a victory lap(s) after that UVA unpleasantness.

    1. His micro-aggressing against those who Believe the Victim? will not be tolerated!

  6. ” there’s little reason to think the Title IX Inquisition won’t continue”

    Then Repeal Title IX

    Is there any reason not to?

    1. Eh, I think it can be reformed back to its original intent, at the very least. I can see complaints about “abolishing equal opportunity” otherwise.

      I (sort of) want to read the saga of how mandating men’s and women’s volleyball teams receive identical funding turned into our current nightmare.

      1. Women already represent the majority of college students, and have been for decades

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

        “For 35 years, women have outnumbered men in American colleges.

        Federal data show that female students became the majority in 1979 and for the past decade have accounted for about 57 percent of enrollment at degree-granting institutions. This gender gap holds true for many kinds of students at many kinds of schools, from part-timers in community college to full-timers in private, nonprofit colleges.”

        How would repealing Title IX negatively affect “equal opportunity” again?

        1. YEAH BUT FOOTBALL AND MEN’S BASKETBALL!!11!! TEH PATRIARCHY, IT BURNS!!!1111!

        2. It’s not equality of opportunity, it’s equality of outcome. See, women’s outcomes in society are still not equal to males because males are bad. And because males are bad, we need Title IX. Title IX helps women. The problem is that it’s not helping enough. Because males are worse than originally thought, obviously, because of all the rapes that are happening (certainly you’ve heard about the campus rape culture). Title IX is there to stop that too, but it’s obviously not enough because males are worse about rape than originally thought, too. We really need to end engineering programs and force all males to get degrees in gender studies, because that’s the only way to ensure Title IX is met in the spirit of the law, because origin and wording need not apply to law.

          It’s almost like they should use 1984 as a textbook for HOW TO doublethink instead of why it might lead to bad things. Call it sensitivity training.

      2. I (sort of) want to read the saga of how mandating men’s and women’s volleyball teams receive identical funding turned into our current nightmare.

        Why on earth do you think it wouldn’t? If it’s legitimate for the federal government to mandate equal funding for men’s and women’s volleyball or ice hockey (regardless of the actual make up of student interest in either), why wouldn’t it be legitimate for them to mandate that colleges protect female students from getting raped?

  7. It would take far less time to list the things that government does well than to list the things that government makes worse at huge expense. Government survives by selling pigs in pokes to citizens willing to believe a pig in a poke is not only a great deal but free to boot.

  8. Repeal Title IX? That’s crazy. You can’t repeal laws. It says so in the Constitution. I can’t remember where, specifically, but it’s in there. Check the Commerce Clause.
    But you can’t, so stop talking about it!

    1. Every law they repeal puts us closer to *shudder* Somalia!!

  9. When I’m elected, I’ll make sure Mexicans and fat cats can’t take away our right to kill foreigners.

    1. I refuse to support an America where Chilean miners and Hollywood liberals can make a mockery of our commodities markets.

      1. My supporters know that I believe in our powerful SUVs, our job creators and our fast food chains.

        1. I will work for an America where tribal warlords and flight attendants cannot take away our innocent babies’ smiles.

  10. Francis Wilkinson is pissing his pants.

    No technical skill. No background check. No identifying serial number. And — no problem — a brand new AR-15.

    It actually wasn’t that easy. Greenberg is no gunsmith, and he ran into technical trouble (and a need for parts and assistance). But before long, the march of technology will make it that easy, and cheap too. And it will be very, very hard to regulate — even if a polarized, dysfunctional Congress bothers to try. When guns can be manufactured at home by amateurs, what will prevent a felon, a domestic abuser subject to a restraining order, a terrorist, or anyone with cash and “a 12-year-old’s understanding of computer software,” from building a gun?

    Technology may well render our current gun debate moot. It will move too fast for cops or regulators or law to keep up — even if an elusive consensus should somehow emerge among conservatives and liberals. New technology, especially 3-D printing, has the potential to expand the unregulated gun market to every garage and basement in the U.S.

    The horror.
    The HORROR.
    I don’t remember reading anything by this smarmy douchebag before, but he has the progressive rhetorical sneer DOWN.

    1. Don’t you worry. They’re busy trying to regulate 3D printing, encryption and other tools the masses may use to make the government’s job moderately more difficult.

      1. They just need to put all the plebs in the Bastille.

    2. It will move too fast for cops or regulators or law to keep up

      I remember my naive youth when I felt that laws and regulations were magical, and somehow stopped bad people from doing bad things. Now that I have learned to think, I understand that all they do is stop good people from doing good things.

    3. There are moments when citizens devise some way of doing things out of the government’s dominion, and the government notices, but they can’t do anything about it, and other people start to realize, “hey, we can like, do stuff without the government’s permission!” These moments are things like Uber, Lyft, AirBNB, and now, 3D printing of firearms.

      I cackle with glee at those moments, because it encourages liberty-minded people to keep finding “workarounds” to government impediments. It might even show some “progressives” that laws made by the government are not the same as laws of physics: they can be broken and ignored. Sure, most are too blind to see that, but I like to think that one or two will have their faith in government shaken up just a bit.

  11. Am I mistaken or is the OCR reinterpretation of Title IX an Obama policy? I thought I remember him pushing that.

    1. 2010 Federalist Society piece, “Is Obama Changing the Title IX Game?”

      This seems to be focused on the Obama Admin’s OCR focusing on title IX as it applies to academics

      it provides some interesting background however on how title IX was seen as an area of focus for his admin from very early on.

      The application of Title IX to ‘sexual assault’ seems to go back to 2011 – with the issuance of new guidance on how the law was going to be applied

      1. That is what I thought. It is his doing.

        Is there anything this guy hasn’t fubared?

        His competence at creating shitshows is breathtaking.

        Again, I congratulate all those who voted for the POS.

        1. It also occurs to me that he is deliberately creating an army of useful idiots.

        2. the first link was broken = here’s the piece

          The interesting angle in that brief piece was its focus on how the Obama admin was aiming to find new angles on how to apply title IX (and they specifically cite STEM as a possible area to ‘increase participation”)

          Part of the rhetoric is how Obama credits Title IX for ‘advances’ that were actually made without any significant contribution from federal law

          Because the rate of female participation in sports has increased far faster in High School than in college…. where no mandates or special federal programs have existed to enforce ‘equal access’.

          If there has been increased participation in college athletics by women, it is far more due to general cultural trends than Title IX…whose *actual* effects on Universities has been in many cases to simply reduce the overall number of Men’s athletic opportunities in college in order to reduce ‘inequality’

          You will find a million articles out there claiming that its a “Myth” that title IX ’causes’ cuts in men’s athletics.

          they claim that “there are many ways to comply”… and that schools could just as easily keep their wrestling, swimming teams if they just ‘trimmed football/basketball’ instead…

          …but the inherent dishonesty is their avoidance of any admission that title IX reduces men’s sports to achieve “equality”

          1. ^^^This in so many ways, and these retards studiously ignore the fact that men’s football and basketball provide 90% of the revenue for 99% of the athletic programs. I’m ok with that but there is no doubt men’s programs have been cut due to Title IX.

            They cut a decent men’s wrestling program here in Montana 30 years ago….ironically the state had a pretty good record of producing good wrestlers, now they have to leave the state to compete at the college level.

            I think athletics for men and women are a good thing, you learn things about yourself participating in a competitive venue that you don’t learn in other facets of life.

            I’d like to think the crazy amount of money the NCAA and big conference football generate could generate more scholarships overall. I know that’s particularly free market but I’d argue college sports isn’t very free market.

        3. His competence at creating shitshows is breathtaking

          why do people continue overlooking that this is the point?

  12. Why are we worried about optical character recognition again?

    1. Why are we worried about optical character recognition again?

      Well Warrren … the concern is if you mistakenly scan a picture of someone that works for the Dept. of Education it spits out a copy of Mein Kampf.

      1. Is there nothing science can’t do? That’s why we must ban it!

        1. Since pre-historic times.

          http://dresdencodak.com/2009/0…..e-fiction/

          Me am go too far!

    2. jerbs

    3. it’s a trigger for blind people

  13. The extreme gun-rights movement is vigorously trying to overturn the cultural norms of American society — to integrate guns into every facet of private and public life, and to transform gun carrying from a social anomaly to a social standard. The movement’s claims are sometimes patently ridiculous. And it’s by no means clear that its goals will ever be achieved. But in red states, at least, the movement has been making strides.

    That vision of America — perpetually armed and dangerous — is quite new and, for most Americans, still strange. But technology has the capacity to break down law, and build up the every-man-for-himself ethos that girds the extreme gun-rights movement. So in addition to politics and law, supporters of gun regulation may need to place additional emphasis on culture.

    The gun was only recently introduced into American culture. As recently as 1987, there were no guns in American homes. It’s all a plot by Republicans and the NRA.

    1. That vision of America — perpetually armed and dangerous — is quite new and, for most Americans, still strange.

      That at least is correct.

    2. The blatherings of a useful idiot. As usual the gun grabbers turn truth on its head. Every assertion made there is the inverse of the truth save one.

      ‘In red states, at least, the movement has been making strides.’

      That is just a restatement of Holder’s “we need to brainwash people against guns” argument.

    3. As recently as 1987, there were no guns in American homes

      In 1987 almost everyone I knew owned guns and had them in their homes. I must be a real gun totin redneck son o bitch.

      1. No, shit , I had 5 then and more now, have ten and no innocents have died yet.

    4. That vision of America — perpetually armed and dangerous — is quite new and, for most Americans, still strange.

      British Redcoats, c 1776, would disagree.

      1. *Americans* circa 1860 would also disagree.

        1. And the federal government certainly considers Americans perpetually armed and dangerous.

    5. I think this is simply down to they guy not understanding that a country as large as the United States has *multiple* cultures inside of it. Even multiple ‘mainstream’ cultures.

      There is certainly a fairly large culture that has nothing to do with firearms or weapons in general. They don’t carry them, don’t keep them in the house, don’t own them, never used them growing up. And for who social norms frown on firearm possession.

      There’s also an equally large group that does all those things.

      But the group that carries firearms is not going around trying to make the group that doesn’t carry them. They’re only trying to show that a) they’re a large group and b) that there’s no reason to freak out about it.

      The conflict comes because the non-gun people aren’t content with telling the gun-people that they don’t like them – using social pressure to modify the culture – but are looking to use government coercion to force their cultural ideals to be held by everyone.

    6. “The gun was only recently introduced into American culture. As recently as 1987, there were no guns in American homes. It’s all a plot by Republicans and the NRA.”

      This is what some “progressives” actually believe. They think that the NRA (backed by the evil, money-grubbing gun manufacturing CORPORATIONS) is just brainwashing all these rubes into buying guns that they don’t really want. They think that non-gun owners just decide to join the NRA one day, and after reading a few Wayne LaPierre columns in the monthly magazine, they stagger like zombies to the nearest gun store and buy a few AR-15s that they don’t even want.

      I suppose it’s just one more way in which “progressives” think that they know what’s good for us better than we do.

  14. This is the worst dating site ever

    1. Ever considered it might be your breath, or that tie?

  15. Party of Envy

    In late May, Sanders called for restoring top income tax rates as high as 90 percent. The graduated income tax system means that policymakers could create new tax brackets up at that level without raising taxes on everyone below whatever level of wealth they choose to target.

    Sanders based his comments on generalized information about wealth inequality, but the new IRS data on income inequality bolster his argument. Currently, the highest income tax bracket and capital gains tax bracket each kick in at a little over $400,000 in annual income. But there are nearly 14,000 tax filers who earned more than $12 million in 2012 as members of the best-paid 0.01 percent of all taxpayers, according to the IRS, and about 1,360 who earned over $62 million that year. Their vast earnings were not taxed any more heavily ? and indeed, they paid a lower overall income tax rate than their merely one-percent brethren.

    Punish success. Reward failure.

    1. I forget, the last time the tax rates were that high how much did it bring in?

      1. About the same amount (adjusted for inflation and population) as it does now.

        1. But, like Yglesias (and the Joker) this is not about *money*, its about *sending a message*.

          Everything burns.

    2. “In late May, Sanders called for restoring top income tax rates as high as 90 percent”

      Well, we’re only going to make it 90% for those evil rich one percenters, making over 1 billion dollars a year. Ok, that’s not working, we’ll have to lower that to those making over 1 million a year. Well, shit, it’s still not working, we still don’t have enough money to spend! We’re going to have to apply it to those evil one percenters making over 40 thousand a year. For the children.

      1. And if THAT doesn’t work, it’s probably because there are too many different deodorant brands.

  16. “Step away from the diving board!”

    Texas officer suspended after pool party video shows him pulling gun on teens

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-…..ty-arrests

    1. Oh, sooo close. But Reason posted that story almost at the same time you posted this.

  17. Have to disagree with the author on the hope for fixing this. Congress is never going to be convinced to act on this. What will fix it is when public universities enrollment numbers shrink to the point that they are on the brink of ceasing to exist. Nothing else will fix it. And even that may not fix it, but at least it will go away.

  18. Congress is never going to be convinced to act on this. What will fix it is when public universities enrollment numbers shrink to the point that they are on the brink of ceasing to exist.

    I think you’re right about Congress, but people are too brainwashed about the “value” of a degree. The “best and brightest”, with connections and options, will definitely turn their backs on college.
    I think donors are going to revolt, and cause collegiate governing bodies to panic; then things will begin to change.

    1. Increasingly, the value of going to college is more in networking than in the actual education. Colleges will never cease to be places to which the wealthy will give donations and send their kids, more for the purpose of making lifetime connections with other wealthy kids than for any actual education that they receive. Because of this I don’t think donors will necessarily revolt, because the education isn’t the most valuable part of the degree.

  19. “You want me to give you a million dollars. How do you propose to spend it??”

    *Charlie Brown teacher noise*

    “Haha, seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Wellll… no. If I’m just going to piss the money away, I might as well buy a boat. Maybe I’ll remodel the mud room in the Sun Valley house.”

  20. Reagan talked about shutting down the Department of Education. Of course, it actually grew during his administration, but the thought was nice.

  21. How many members of Congress are interested in reining in OCR, instead?

    Rein it in? How about burn it the fuck to the ground while the doors are locked from the outside?

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  24. But what color are the characters in this story Robby. That’s the key information!

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