Title IX

Northwestern Investigated Laura Kipnis Again for Violating Title IX with Her Opinions

"So she was investigated for writing about being investigated for writing about being investigated?"


Reason TV

The forces of darkness really don't want Prof. Laura Kipnis to criticize the campus sex bureaucracy—but they keep proving her right about it.

You will recall that Northwestern University investigated Kipnis after she wrote an essay about campus sex politics for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Students claimed her article had violated Title IX, the federal statute ostensibly dealing with gender equality on campus.

One of those students has also filed a defamation suit against Kipnis for her book Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, which cast aspersions on the student's sexual harassment claims against a former professor.

But that's not all: Unbeknownst to the public, Kipnis has been dealing with another Title IX investigation. Several Northwestern graduate students—including the one who is suing Kipnis—filed a Title IX complaint against the professor last May. The details, according to The New Yorker's Jeannie Suk Gerson, are insane:

Kipnis told me that she was surprised when Northwestern once again launched a formal Title IX investigation of her writing. (A spokesperson from Northwestern did not respond to a request for comment by press time.) Kipnis said that investigators presented her with a spreadsheet laying out dozens of quotations from her book, along with at least eighty written questions, such as "What do you mean by this statement?," "What is the source/are the sources for this information?," and "How do you respond to the allegation that this detail is not necessary to your argument and that its inclusion is evidence of retaliatory intent on your part?" Kipnis chose not to answer any questions, following the standard advice of counsel defending the court case.

She did submit a statement saying that "these complaints seem like an attempt to bend the campus judicial system to punish someone whose work involves questioning the campus judicial system, just as bringing Title IX complaints over my first Chronicle essay attempted to do two years ago." In other words, the process was the punishment. Possible evidence of retaliatory purpose, she learned, included statements in the book that aggressively staked out her refusal to keep quiet, expressed in her trademark hyperbole. Her prior Title IX investigation, she writes, "has made me a little mad and possibly a little dangerous….I mean, having been hauled up on complaints once, what do I have to lose? 'Confidentiality'? 'Conduct befitting a professor'? Kiss my ass. In other words, thank you to my accusers: unwitting collaborators, accidental muses." Also presented as possible evidence was her Facebook post quoting a book review—"Kipnis doesn't seem like the sort of enemy you'd want to attract, let alone help create"—on which Kipnis had commented, "I love that."

As Ken White of Popehat tweeted in response to this news:

Keep in mind that the student who filed the lawsuit has based her defamation claim partly on the idea that Kipnis falsely misrepresented her as overly litigious—this, from a student who has filed a lawsuit and multiple Title IX claims against Kipnis.

In any case, it should be obvious that the text of Title IX does not empower university officials to investigate tenured professors for criticizing Title IX, nor was the law intended to weaponize students' grievances. Kipnis's ongoing ordeal is a testament to the pressing need for the Education Department to rein in the Obama-era guidance that spawned this madness, and a reminder that Secretary Betsy DeVos is wholly justified in doing just that.

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  1. “That Kafka fellow sure had some great ideas about how to run things” – Title IX administrators, apparently

      1. Some say that there is no need to read Kafka anymore, because the surreal?and highly inappropriate?”First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case is better. See the documentation at:


  2. “The forces of darkness really don’t want Prof. Laura Kipnis to criticize the campus sex bureaucracy?but they keep proving her right about it.”

    Forces of darkness?

    OK, who are you and what did you do with Robby?

      1. Open the door, man! This ***IS*** Robby! And I think that the cops saw me!

    1. I don’t want to spread rumors, but maybe Robby’s car broke down in front of a remote cabin owned by a crazed loner named Buford, who has Robby locked in the basement while he (Buford) makes posts in Robby’s name. Hence the unusually aggressive tone.

      1. “If yew don’t like Hank Williams, Jr. you can kiss my ass, an essay by Robby Soave.”

        1. Unusually sloppy, even for “yew.”



    2. I don’t know what all Robby considers to be grouped in with the forces of darkness, but I know he considers the valiant charge of the forces of light to be led by hydrogen peroxide.

  3. You are part of the rebel alliance and a traitor. Take her away!

  4. Here you go, folks;
    “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

    Kind of hard to believe all the madness that has come from this, isn’t it?

    Of course, there are more regulations to “explain” that simple statement than a five level deep set of links in the electronic federal register can contain. Not to mention “the letter”.
    Maybe we need a constitutional amendment that laws have to be all the law. So that a new part of the constitution can be ignored.

    On the other hand, most any man accused under Title IX could point to the original text and show discrimination by all of the administrators of Title IX.

    1. Slippery slopes need neither oil or even slopes.
      Just a gentle “boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

  5. “How do you respond to the allegation that this detail is not necessary to your argument and that its inclusion is evidence of retaliatory intent on your part?”

    Answer or we’re file another complaint!

  6. Kipnis needs to simply stop cooperating with the investigations, give nonsense answers, sit at the table in silence, respond to every question with “Go fuck yourself.” You know, that kind of thing.

    1. I got into one of these investigations at northwestern for telling the title IX coordinator to go fuck herself

    2. I refuse to answer on the grounds that doing so may cause me to utter obscenities?

    3. Unfortunately, lack of cooperation would probably be treated as a signal justifying stripping her of tenure and firing her from her position. She would probably win the lawsuit — 5 to 10 years down the road.

      She should hire Camile Paglia as her representative

  7. How dare you call me litigious?! I’ll sue you for slander! Classic.

    1. If you read between the lines, whatever grad student is doing this is clearly going after this professors job. You can indeed lose tenure, and they are creating the document trail to support an eventual removal here.

    2. They probably didn’t actually know what litigious means and assumed it was something far worse than it really is.

  8. In other words, the process was the punishment.

    Someone’s beginning to figure things out.

  9. Inasmuch as universities have been the cathedrals of progressivism for the past 50 years, why is The New Yorker, an outlet for the progressive intelligentsia, now covering this like it is news?

    1. Some of the Mensheviks are beginning to think, “wait a minute, why are we blindfolded and whose graves are they making us dig?”

      1. Kipnis herself is a Menshevik. She’s been preaching progressivism to students since whenever, and now her progeny, like an Al Capp monster fully grown, has turned on her.

  10. Tolerant people do not tolerate wrongthink.

    1. Indeed. The least tolerant and diverse among us are those who preach “tolerance” and “diversity”. Kind of the way old-time priests would scourge themselves to drive out their devils

  11. “…nor was the law intended to weaponize students’ grievances.”

    Well, what the coitus WAS it intended to do?

    1. Fund women’s sports events from the proceeds of men’s sports events.

      But they couldn’t say it that way, so they said it so broadly that it could mean anything.

  12. I will say one thing in possible defense of Northwestern, based on my experience in the law of sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Employers are advised to take every single allegation seriously and to investigate them, no matter how preposterous, because if they do not, it constitutes “evidence” that they ‘do not take sexual harassment seriously’ and that their anti-harassment policies are “ineffective.” So every single allegation is investigated even if the employer knows from the outset that the accused will be cleared. Northwestern may have felt that it was safer to conduct the investigation, knowing full well that Kipnis was guilty of nothing.

    Sad that the law forces everyone to waste time and resources on this nonsense.

    1. Yeah, this was always my take on the situation. The Obama Dept. of Education told universities there was a horrible epidemic of sexual assault and that they needed to Do Something or risk losing their funding. Most of the measures that actually make sense and might be effective (PSAs on safety at parties/events, late-night ride services) were already implemented at most of the major universities. So the only way to appease the DOE and prove they were Doing Something was to investigate more people for sexual assault and expel more students for sexual assault. Since there really weren’t lots of well-known rapists hanging around campus that the universities could just round up and expel, they had to make some, basically, by lowering standards and pouring more resources into meritless investigations. The result is the mess we have today.

      1. The “best” thing they could have done was “nothing”, just referring all cases of sexual assault to the local (off campus) constabulary, and daring the Feds to pull that funding. Even if they funding went away, they would be better off because then they would again be in control of their own destinies, instead of remaining “handmaidens” of the Nomenklatura.

    2. If true that’s a sad commentary on Northwestern and is not a defense of their actions. Sometimes an organization has to stand up for what is right. To subject an employee to a known useless investigation because the organization wants to protect its ass is cowardly.

    3. “Investigated” needs to be defined here. If it means looking for facts and justice, then it doesn’t work in a corporate environment. If it means finding ways to shut the complainer up and cover up what the higher paid, hard to replace manager did, then, yes, they are investigating.

  13. Doesn’t Illinois have a anti-SLAPP statute? Prof. Kipnis may find it useful.

  14. “What do you mean by this statement?”
    “What is the source/are the sources for this information?”
    “How do you respond to the allegation that this detail is not necessary to your argument and that its inclusion is evidence of retaliatory intent on your part?”

    The investigators were upset that she refused to answer the questions, but I bet they would also not have liked the appropriate response, ie “Go fuck yourselves (after you get full consent first, of course.)”

  15. Telling that the for the left today the answer to speech they don’t like is to silence it. Sound familiar?

    My parents broke with Stalinism initially over this very issue. “The answer to speech is speech” they lectured me, early and often. “Only dictators are afraid of public opinions expressed in the town square, even obnoxious opinions”. Today’s left is Stalinist and dictatorial, fearing any expression of ideas that go against the “politically correct” grain. This is the stuff for satire.

    Once back in the day we had a Mort Sahl who, whatever his shortcomings, would take everybody on and would be savaging this mercilessly. Today we have Jimmy Kimmel and James Colbert who evade the issue by focusing on what they don’t like about the speech they would suppress rather than on the Constitutional principle involved, and the liberals cheer. One more way in which our society proves to be in decay

  16. There Laura goes again with all the Violent Speech!
    Burn the Witch!

  17. There Laura goes again with all the Violent Speech!
    Burn the Witch!

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