Campus Free Speech

Female Student Who Initiated Title IX Witch Hunt Against Laura Kipnis Is Now Suing Her

Author of Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus sued for defamation.


Kipnis lawsuit
Reason TV

Laura Kipnis, the Northwestern University professor who faced down a Title IX investigation after writing an essay about sexual relationships between students and professors, is now being sued for defamation.

Her new book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, discusses at great length the Title IX proceedings against Kipnis's colleague Peter Ludlow, who was accused of sexual harassment and assault by a female graduate student. Kipnis defended Ludlow in an essay for The Chronicle Review, which led the student to file a Title IX complaint against Kipnis as well, on grounds that Kipnis was retaliating against the student. Kipnis was eventually cleared of wrongdoing by the university.

But now the book has drawn a complaint of its own—from the same student, "Jane Doe," who accuses Kipnis of falsely representing details of Doe's relationship with Ludlow.

"[Kipnis and publisher HarperCollins] recklessly pursued fame and profit without regard for the harm their actions would cause to Plaintiff, a young and promising graduate student who—rather than being on a mission to end Ludlow's career (as Kipnis suggests)—in fact only very reluctantly came forward to disclose his conduct after she learned of other allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with students," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit provides Doe's version of the events: she claims Ludlow singled her out, even before she enrolled at Northwestern, and then aggressively pursued a romantic relationship with her. Doe was reluctant to turn Ludlow down completely since he was an important academic in her area of study, so she gradually grew closer to him. Eventually, after a night of heavy drinking, she woke up in bed with him—a sexual encounter she described as nonconsensual. Eventually, she filed a Title IX complaint against Ludlow after learning of his allegedly nonconsensual sexual relationship with another student.

Kipnis has defended Ludlow, and described the Title IX proceedings against him as "like watching a person be burned at the stake in slow motion." According to her version of events—which is supported by the massive volume of text messages sent between Doe and Ludlow—the relationship was consensual.

"What would it mean to not consent to sending a thousand text messages?" Kipnis writes in the book.

Doe's lawsuit accuses Kipnis of defaming her with actual malice, publicizing private facts about Doe, and inflicting negative emotional stress. Complicating this charge is the fact that Kipnis did not actually use Doe's name in the book—she used a pseudonym, albeit one that resembles Doe's real name, according to the lawsuit.

Before publishing the book, HarperCollins would have subjected it to a rigorous legal review, which makes me doubtful that the lawsuit has much chance of succeeding, unless it's revealed that the publisher was employing Rolling Stone's fact-checker.

But if this is a she-said, she-said—or, perhaps, a she-said, she-said-he-said—it's one in which a whole lot of evidence seems to be on Kipnis's side. The text of the lawsuit, which presents Doe's side in the best light possible, doesn't actually do a very good job of proving her case. For instance, the lawsuit contends that Kipnis's book misrepresents Doe as "litigious." But how is that a misrepresentation? Doe has used both the Title IX process, and a lawsuit, to adjudicate her dispute with Kipnis.

Part of the lawsuit rests on the idea that Title IX proceedings should be closed, and that Kipnis did not have the right to call attention to the Ludlow case (paradoxically, many claim that Title IX actually prohibits discussion of Title IX cases). But it will be difficult to establish that Kipnis was wrong to publish facts, unless Doe can do a better job than this of showing that the facts were actually wrong.

And while Doe claims that Kipnis published her text messages out of context, as KC Johnson notes, the lawsuit fails to specify a single example of this.

"Lawsuit makes Kipnis look even more sympathetic," writes Johnson.

Indeed, there's a sense in which this lawsuit actually proves the central ideas of Kipnis's book—that sexual paranoia pervades the modern university campus, where messy relationships are treated like assault, women are presumed to lack agency when it comes to consent, and tribunals are seen as the solution to every dispute.

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  1. Defamation of an anonymous person. Suing someone for being called litigious. Good stuff.

    1. Made my day.

      1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

        This is what I do…

    2. With all this legal action, who has time for actual learning at college.

    3. I’m curious at what arbitrary point one is now the destination gender as opposed to the departed gender.

    4. Love it. Spot on.

    5. Exactly B.P. Hard to feel bad for Jane Doe.

  2. Unless Kipnis files a counter-suit for defamation, nothing will improve.

    It’s easy to file suits as there is little risk to the plaintiff. But since Congress is lawyers almost exclusively, they won’t do a thing to change it.

    1. A lot of states have anti-SLAPP statutes, which allow the court to toss the lawsuit at an early stage (before discovery) AND impose fines AND force the plaintiff to pay the defendant’s legal fees.

      Unfortunately, this suit is not in one of those states.

      Anti-SLAPP statutes kick-ass.

      1. I, too, share your love of anti-SLAPP. It’s one of the only viable defenses to being shut up by the mere threat of funding a legal defense, which you usually can’t recover from the other side, even if you win.

    2. Kipnis should be able to sue or claim her costs of defending herself from this litigious thing. Methinks this anonymous hypocrite needs a lesson in the definitions of “litigious”, “defamation”. AND “Title IX”

      What a spinless snowflake this Doe critter is. WHAT was she, crazy or something, in HIS place, drinking? How old was she at the time? My guess is not of legal age to be drinking. And how stupid was she, thinking she could sit there in HIS room drinking screwdrivers and thinking they would not work to their intended purpose? Does she not know SHE was in full control of her whereabouts, her company, and what she put into her mouth? SHE decided to take that booze and put it where it mattered to him.

      Of course, HE is an animal, hitting on silly young females, getting them drunk and pliable, then taking advantage of their stupidity. No HONOURABLE MAN would behave this way. Go find a strip club or flophouse if that’s your game.

  3. unless it’s revealed that the publisher was employing Rolling Stone’s fact-checker.

    Robby with the sick burns.

  4. Eventually, after a night of heavy drinking, she woke up in bed with him?a sexual encounter she described as nonconsensual.

    So, she’s pressing charges against him for waking her up in the morning after a night of heavy drinking? Suddenly I’m conflicted as to the outcome of the case.

    1. I thought the whole point of getting yourself drunk before sex was to consent to sex with someone who you wouldn’t possibly consent to having sex with if you were sober.

  5. Speaking of witch hunts:

    “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!”

    “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

    Trump is throwing a pity party, and everyone is invited!

    1. there’s TDS and thes Dan’s case of TDS, which evidently involves a steady diet of goalpost moving.

      1. The troll’s just all-around deranged. The TDS is just its most noticeable manifestation.

        1. What’s that orange stuff on your lips?

          1. hmm. must be dust from the doritos I’m eating while watching you beclown yourself. Fine entertainment.

            1. Well played, sir.

          2. TDS: “if it’s orange, it must be Trump”

  6. I’m surprised she didn’t file the lawsuit broken up into a thousand texts as further proof of how she was coerced into being litigious. That’s rich.

  7. “Eventually, after a night of heavy drinking, she woke up in bed with him?a sexual encounter she described as nonconsensual. Eventually, she filed a Title IX complaint against Ludlow after learning of his allegedly nonconsensual sexual relationship with another student.

    Reasonable Doubt * 10^3?

    . . . not that it matters. I’m just sayin’.

    She only reported this non-consensual sex . . . after she found out he was sleeping with another woman?

    How long was it between the time the alleged unconsensual sex happened and the time she learned that he was sleeping with another woman?

    No way the jury is unanimous on that charge.

    . . . not that it matters. I’m just sayin’.

    1. Shouldn’t the professor file a suit against the student for rape?

      He was in no condition to consent to her pussy engulfing his dick.

      1. it wasn’t her fault. she tripped.

        1. on booze

      2. It is known that only men have agency while drunk. Frankly, they’re the only one’s with agency period. Just ask any feminist.


  8. Eventually, after a night of heavy drinking, she woke up in bed with him


    in fact only very reluctantly came forward to disclose his conduct after she learned of other allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with students

    that’s the ticket.

    1. the hell hath no fury rationale.

    2. She thought she was special.

  9. Perhaps we should be thankful that Jane is bringing this forward to an actual court of law instead of the kangaroo courts on campus.

    This could force public examination of actual evidence. It might not go well for Jane.

    1. No. 14 C 4614 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 5, 2015)

      Northwestern University professor Peter Ludlow, the subject of two sexual harassment investigations involving both a graduate and an undergraduate student, brings this suit against Defendants Northwestern University (“Northwestern”), Morton Schapiro, Alan Cubbage, Lauren Leydon-Hardy, Jennifer Lackey, and Joan Slavin claiming that Northwestern’s investigation of sexual harassment allegations against him in 2014 violated Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. ? 1681 et seq., and that Defendants’ comments associated with the 2012 and 2014 investigations defamed him and placed him in a false light.

      As usual, thanks for the details Robby. I wish the best of luck to Mrs. Doe.

  10. publicizing private facts about Doe

    No. No. No. I’ve been assured by bona fide libertarians that 3rd party doctrine is not kosher. Information, even when legally and scientifically severed from the source, cannot be disclosed without the consent of the source.

    The only way to libertopia, not a police state, is if everyone owns every knowable fact about themselves and is legally able to punish anyone else who comes to know those facts without regard of if they know who they’re about and/or who already owns them.

    1. And these “bona fide libertarians” are…?

      1. To avoid casting aspersions; wait for the next domestic spying article. They identify themselves.

    2. You’re confusing “libertarians” with “liberals”. A common mistake.

      1. Libertarians ARE liberals, if you’re going by the actual definition of “liberal.”

        Progressives are NOT liberals.

        Very common mistake.

        1. The Progressives stole the term Liberals after their policies were compared to socialism.

          I am all for taking back the Liberal term but as long as most Americans equate Liberal with socialist, I prefer to Classic Liberal to just Liberal.

          1. Vintage liberal sounds cooler

            1. Steampunk Liberal

          2. How about statists .vs individualists?

        2. Libertarians ARE liberals, if you’re going by the actual definition of “liberal.”

          Libertarians are classical liberals.

          Today, the unqualified term “liberal” refers to social liberalism, which is the illiberal crap you get from Democrats.

          Progressives are NOT liberals.

          They are according to the usual meaning of these words in 2017.

      2. You’re confusing “libertarians” with “liberals”. A common mistake.

        Especially when said liberals show up on a libertarian website. Claim to defend liberty/individual rights and then espouse said nonsense re: 3rd party.

  11. Illinois has a decent anti-SLAPP statute. Hope Doe has some deep pockets.

  12. Jane Doe’s reputation was seriously harmed here. I wish her luck.

    1. To be fair, Jane Doe is always up to something. Her name is constantly in the news.

      1. Is Jane related to John?

    2. Yeah. From here on she will be known as Jane Mud.

  13. Sounds to me as if Doe should probably be encouraged to find some socially useful and therapeutic work.

    Like in a brothel.

        1. This would indicate she doesn’t like being part of a train…

          1. Just when I start to get sick of the constant bickering on this site, a reply chain like this gives me hope again. Thanks for my daily laugh folks.

  14. This is mind boggling. Whenever I think the misandrist sexual assault witch hunt and civil legal system can’t get any worse, it does.

    So… why can’t Ludlow just accuse this fucking bitch of sexually assaulting him? His claim wouldn’t have any less credibility. They were both probably intoxicated. And she didn’t accuse him until much later, obviously without any fucking evidence.

    The minimal facts presented in the article demonstrate that her accusations of sexual assault have zero credibility. If we had some sanity and decency in our higher education system, she should have been expelled for such a blatantly false accusation. And this should have been put on her permanent academic record so that other schools can decide whether to take the risk of accepting such a fucking sociopath. And if our civil legal system had any fucking balance, her lawsuit would be immediately thrown out with appropriate financial penalties for wasting everybody’s time and for abuse of the legal system. And Kipnis should be able to successfully countersue for such a malicious attempt to legally attack her.

    1. WTF is “her permanent academic record”? Can I see mine?

      1. No. You’re on double secret probation.

        1. And super duper double dumb-assed.

      2. Her transcript.

  15. While professors sleeping with students shouldn’t be a crime, Northwestern should fire Ludlow for being a creepy ass guy they don’t want on campus.

    1. Your recommendation comes a tad late.

    2. I haven’t dated a girl who didn’t admit to sleeping with at least one professor in college. You’re on a pretty slippery slope there.

      1. or maybe YOU are?

    3. While professors sleeping with students shouldn’t be a crime,

      Really, Robby’s only scratching the surface with this one;

      In March 2014, Lackey encouraged Leydon-Hardy, then her graduate student advisee, to file a complaint against Ludlow.

      Ludlow sleeps with student not, in any way, under his purview and with consent. When questioned independently about the relationship, the student pleads the 5th. Later, well after the fact and on the advice of her student adviser, she files charges.

      What about creepy, meddlesome, divisive advisers? They’re kosher, right?

    4. WTF else are hot coeds for?

  16. inflicting negative emotional stress

    where’s the law that protects “muh feels”?

  17. Kipnis is a classic leftist and is on record for being in support of “more government control” and “economic justice, redistribution, and that kind of stuff.”

    As far as I am concerned she is being attacked by her own progressive progeny coming home to roost; let her reap what she has sown.

    1. Regardless of whether or not you like her as a person, she’s being sued on extraordinary flimsy pretenses. Supporting frivolous defamation claims because you don’t like the target’s politics is idiotic. .

      1. Northwestern should fire Ludlow for being a creepy ass guy they don’t want on campus.


        she’s being sued

        Endorsing her consumption by the Title IX kangaroo courts that she helped create is one thing. Affirming that she is civilly liable on the case/pretenses of said kangaroo court is another matter.

        I do loathe the fact that the near entirety of the coverage of this issue is second-hand through Kipnis. However, I assume gag orders and/or legal counsel on the part of the plaintiff/defendant are (a bit) at play.

        1. Northwestern should fire Ludlow for being a creepy ass guy they don’t want on campus.

          It’s perfectly understandable that a business wouldn’t want to employee some dirty old man who keeps hitting on their customers. Again, it shouldn’t be a crime, but it is grounds for firing.

          1. Again, it shouldn’t be a crime, but it is grounds for firing.

            This is pretty thin gruel. The school should also can the shit out of an *academic* adviser for putting them on the hook for what should be a criminal/legal matter and, facts are, the University didn’t/doesn’t exactly have that as an option.

            If I walked into the University mail room and said I thought a package might be some manner of contraband, you better believe whatever relatively credentialed peon(s) is involved will get the authorities involved first before even opening the package, let alone rounding up witnesses and indicting the guilty parties. The difference? Title IX.

            1. Edit: relatively *un*credentialed

      2. It’s not personal [or “idiotic”], but these progs feeling their oats were not created ex nihilo. Title IX and all it’s overreach is nothing less than an outgrowth of the government needs to do more mentality, and she has clearly contributed to and supported that. Such “frivolous” lawsuits do not exist in a vacuum and would not stand were it not for the social and governmental support upon which it depends.

    2. Bolsheviks don’t just stop the firing squads when they’re done with the Mensheviks.

  18. We need “loser pays” with bond posted (as in appeals cases). If case is strong enough, the plaintiff’s lawyer should be happy to post the bond, Yes, some legitimate cases might not be filed, but tons of “iffy” and frivolous time and money wasters would get settled by arbitration or never brought in first place.

  19. If this lawsuit survives a motion to dismiss, remember that it is the plaintiff’s obligation to prove the falsity of the statement that is allegedly defamatory. What is more, given the notoriety around this case, the plaintiff is arguably a public figure, which makes her burden of proof even higher.

    All in all, this should be a hilarious trial.

  20. why is her name being kept secret? it should be in a registry, a database, a website.

    1. She deserves a whole page at

    2. Robby is keeping it so and, not knowing all of Robby’s personal history and in light of Kipnis’ involvement, I can’t entirely fault Robby for it.

      As someone gainfully employed by Northwestern within the last decade, I suggest that if you read the case I cite above it’s easily knowable among the list of defendants: Northwestern University (“Northwestern”), Morton Schapiro, Alan Cubbage, Lauren Leydon-Hardy, Jennifer Lackey, and Joan Slavin.

      1. Robby probably doesn’t want to be added as a defendant in Doe’s Amended Complant.

        OTOH, a plaintiff simply cannot award himself or herself anonymity in a lawsuit. Under what authority is she permitted to withhold her name?

        1. IANAL, but I assume attorney-client privilege. If someone shows up with a fist full of cash and says “File a lawsuit on behalf of Jane Doe.” you file a lawsuit on behalf of Jane Doe.

          Seriously, Kipnis is the tip of the iceberg. This case is just as good as any of the other, er… high profile “I was raped!” cases Robby’s picked up. The similarity is… erie.

          1. It has something to do with Lake Erie?

  21. This woman needs to be named and shamed.

    1. Lauren Leydon-Hardy. She committed a rape hoax against Peter Ludlow, destroyed his life with a Title IX witch hunt, and then initiated a Title IX witch hunt against Laura Kipnis for writing abut it, even though Kipnis had kept Leydon-Hardy’s name secret, and Leydon-Hardy wrote a thoroughly dishonest thing about the cases for the Huffington Post, in which she lied, saying she was just a member of the Philosophy Department, rather than the hoaxer.

  22. This may not be a popular opinion, but if you are worried about waking up in bed with someone you do not want to sleep with, you should be more careful about how much alcohol you drink and be cognizant how alcohol changes your decision making. Without accepting any personal responsibility, men are more and more likely to be charged for bogus rape crimes, which makes proving actual assaults more difficult. That is why we are seeing the Red Pill movement and even though I think they’re a dramatic group, it is easy to see why they are becoming popular.

    1. Not that women are not cunts.

      /H&R “libertarian”

      1. Some women are cunts, most are not. Or do you want to argue that being a woman makes someone immune from all human failings?

        Likewise, some men are cunts (just look at yourself), most are not.

  23. Wow, one of the defendants in Ludlow’s original case has no reservations about publicly stating her own case in HuffPo. I wonder if she did that for free?

    1. Tried to read that but couldn’t take it, was like a HS honor student’s blog. “here, roughly, is how the decks were stacked against…”

      1. The combination of aloofness while asserting ‘insider knowledge’ seems symptomatic of a mental disease.

        On the one hand, Ludlow does appear to be the victim. On the other hand, he appears to have stuck it in crazy.

        1. It isn’t possible to stick it in not crazy. Only less crazy.

      2. On second reading, it’s insane. Like mathematical proof = legal proof insane. 2+2=4 ergo, Title IX assaultrape.

    2. “Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.”

  24. I suspect the Title IXzis have finally won the upper hand and Kipnis will be told to resign. We really have to consider the strategy of letting the archetypal American university burn to the ground. It’s unlikely there’s much TO preserve at this point. Let the animals run the zoo. My only recommendation for American students is start early learning a second language and go one of those other countries instead, for college.

  25. What this country needs is for 90% of lawyers to be unemployed, or, maybe even shot-whichever brings the most glee!

    1. I like to think of the old joke about “what’s a cruise ship with three thousand lawyers aboard, hitting an iceberg and sinking?”
      answer, of course, “a good start”

  26. paradoxically, many claim that Title IX actually prohibits discussion of Title IX cases

    First rule of Title IX is: you don’t talk about Title IX

  27. Sounds like student “Jane Doe” found an ambulance chasing lawyer who is hoping Kipnis will settle rather than opt for lengthy and costly litigation.

  28. Doe fits a key description of someone who is schizophrenic: delusional paranoia in which eventually everyone becomes an enemy out to do her wrong. And, yes, paranoid schizophrenics are often litigious.

    Doe is either that or a radical feminist warrior out to bring all non-feminists down. Let a psychologist decide.

  29. All of this sounds like “The Lord of the Flies” university edition.

    1. Wait a minute: is this the chick that’s carrying around a mattress? Or is that some other fruit loop?

  30. I R-E-G-R-E-T, it pays to rescind all agency, based on my anatomy

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