Laura Kipnis, who wrote a widely read article on the problems with the Title IX accusation process on campus and then herself had to fend off a Title IX complaint based on having written the article, is now being sued by the same Northwestern University graduate student who pursued the earlier Title IX complaints. The woman says she was portrayed under a pseudonym in Kipnis’s new book Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes To Campus and was unfairly characterized as, among other things, “litigious.” [Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, Robby Soave, earlier on Kipnis]
- Judge denies motion to dismiss Title IX suit against Laura Kipnis [Maddie Burakoff, Daily Northwestern, KC Johnson thread on Twitter] First Circuit appeal considers whether persons unconnected with a university can initiate Title IX complaints against it [District of Rhode Island decision in Doe v. Brown via Nicholas Wolfinger thread on Twitter]
- “Do we really need to tell you how a rent control regulatory takings claim fared in the Ninth Circuit? We didn’t think so.” [Robert Thomas, Inverse Condemnation, on Colony Cove Properties, LLC v. City of Carson]
- Judge boots 30-year-old who refused to move out of parents’ house [Douglass Dowty, Syracuse Post-Standard] More: Lowering the Bar.
- As the Supreme Court narrows the gate for Alien Tort claims, here come the inevitable proposals to widen it again by statute, as by FCPA-izing ATS [Pierre-Hugues Verdier and Paul Stephan, Lawfare]
- “Theatre Must Provide Captioning For All Live Performances Says Federal Judge” [Minh Vu, Seyfarth Shaw; Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis]
- Still relevant, alas: what I wrote on the ADA and golf competition 20 years ago [Reason “From the Archives”]
- Prof. Laura Kipnis, previously investigated by Northwestern over an essay she wrote saying there are too many Title IX investigations, wrote a book about the experience and that touched off yet another Title IX investigation of her [Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker]
- Groups demand that outspoken social conservative Prof. Amy Wax not be allowed to teach first-year civil procedure at University of Pennsylvania Law School [Caron/TaxProf] How to evaluate claims that professors who say controversial things must step away from the classroom because they can’t be trusted to treat/grade students fairly? [Eugene Volokh]
- Meanwhile, co-author of “bourgeois culture” op-ed, Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego, finds his dean distinctly unsupportive [Tom Smith, Caron/TaxProf roundup and more]
- “Stay Woke” and allyship: insider view of American University’s new required first-year diversity courses [Minding the Campus] So revealing that an AAUW chapter would celebrate cancellation of this American U event [Elizabeth Nolan Brown]
- Anonymous denunciation makes things better: president of Wright State University in Ohio “is encouraging students to anonymously report any violence and hate speech that might occur on campus.” [AP/WOUB] Student protesters called on Evergreen State “to target STEM faculty in particular for ‘antibias’ training” [Heather Heying, WSJ]
- From this excerpt, upcoming Shep Melnick book on Title IX, OCR and federal control of colleges sounds top-notch [Law and Liberty] What to expect as Education Department reconsiders its former Dear Colleague policies [KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr., Weekly Standard]
- U.S. Department of Education and Title IX: “The Office for Civil Rights Is Still Out of Control” [KC Johnson]
- Mobility penalty: “The residency requirement in Cuomo’s free tuition plan makes a bad idea worse” [Beth Akers]
- Loyalty oaths? Many colleges now require diversity statements for hiring and promotion [George Leef] Public college expels nursing student for breach of professional ethics code that includes ideological commitments, Supreme Court should review [Ilya Shapiro and David McDonald/Cato, Eugene Volokh on petition for certiorari in Keefe v. Adams]
- Maryland lawmakers move to bar colleges from asking applicants about criminal records [WYPR; Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun]
- “Colleges and the First Amendment” [video, Federalist Society panel with Michael McConnell, Philip Hamburger, et al.] Eugene Volokh presentation on free speech on campus Reason video, etc.
- “Torch the miscreant, resanctify the community.” Laura Kipnis attends a Title IX trial [Chronicle of Higher Education, (from her forthcoming book); more at Reason]
- New college freshmen show scant knowledge about or commitment to free speech. How’d that happen? [Howard Gillman and Erwin Chemerinsky, L.A. Times via Josh Blackman] New Gallup survey of students on campus speech [Knight Foundation and report] Greg Lukianoff (FIRE) interviewed [Fault Lines]
- Senior Ohio State administrator coolly advises protesters that not retreating from their “occupied space” will involve getting arrested and expelled [Eric Owens, Daily Caller]
- Mizzou’s chief diversity officer asked university administration to assist protesters with logistics. And it did. [Jillian Kay Melchior, Heat Street]
- No, the regents of a public university should not be saying that “anti-Zionism” has “no place at the University of California.” [Eugene Volokh]
- “In Her Own Words: Laura Kipnis’ ‘Title IX Inquisition’ at Northwestern” [FIRE interview, earlier] Title IX complainant at U.Va.: that mural must go [Charlotte Allen, IWF]
- National Coalition Against Censorship, AAUP, FIRE, and Student Press Law Center voice opposition to calls to ban anonymous speech apps such as Yik Yak on campus [NCAC, College Fix, earlier]
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which has a record of sadly weak defenses of faculty rights in response to the feds’ efforts under Title IX to restrict due process accorded to persons accused of misconduct at universities (see last paragraph of my piece from 2013), might possibly show a little more spine in a pending report now in draft form. Citing a string of episodes, including what happened to Prof. Laura Kipnis at Northwestern as well as many that are less well known, the report acknowledges that the current Washington interpretation of Title IX “has had a chilling effect on academic freedom and speech” and “that the emphasis on complying with federal law has led to some professors being investigated by universities for making statements that some students find offensive but that the report says should be protected.” [Anemona Hartocollis/New York Times, Lizzie Crocker/Daily Beast, Scott Greenfield, Peter Wood/Minding the Campus] More from the NYT:
The association says the government should allow universities to use a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence in their internal reviews of sexual harassment complaints rather than the less strict “preponderance of evidence” standard now required. …The report says that the federal crackdown has poisoned the traditional relationship between faculty and students by turning professors from informal confidants into official enforcers.
Plus, new paper being widely talked about, “The Sex Bureaucracy,” by Jacob Gersen of Harvard and Jeannie Suk of Harvard Law, forthcoming in the California Law Review, abstract:
We are living in a new sex bureaucracy. Saliently decriminalized in the past decades, sex has at the same time become accountable to bureaucracy. In this Article, we focus on higher education to tell the story of the sex bureaucracy. The story is about the steady expansion of regulatory concepts of sex discrimination and sexual violence to the point that the regulated area comes to encompass ordinary sex. The mark of bureaucracy is procedure and organizational form. Over time, federal prohibitions against sex discrimination and sexual violence have been interpreted to require educational institutions to adopt particular procedures to respond, prevent, research, survey, inform, investigate, adjudicate, and train. The federal bureaucracy essentially required nongovernmental institutions to create mini-bureaucracies, and to develop policies and procedures that are subject to federal oversight. That oversight is not merely, as currently assumed, of sexual harassment and sexual violence, but also of sex itself. We call this “bureaucratic sex creep” — the enlargement of bureaucratic regulation of sexual conduct that is voluntary, non-harassing, nonviolent, and does not harm others. At a moment when it is politically difficult to criticize any undertaking against sexual assault, we are writing about the bureaucratic leveraging of sexual violence and harassment policy to regulate ordinary sex. …
After the Feminist Majority Foundation promoted a Title IX complaint against the University of Mary Washington, primarily based on the public Virginia university’s failure to crack down harder on student use of the independent Yik Yak social media gossip platform, UMW President Richard Hurley in June wrote an unapologetic letter crisply refuting many of the group’s contentions. What do you think happened next? Sponsors amended their complaint to allege that Hurley’s letter itself constituted unlawful retaliation against persons invoking Title IX protection. “The [U.S. Department of Education’s] Office for Civil Rights announced its intent to investigate the university this month.” And now a group of 72 women’s and civil rights organizations, including the respectable American Association of University Women and Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, have “announced a campaign to enlist the federal government in pressuring colleges to protect students from harassment via anonymous social-media applications like Yik Yak.” [Eugene Volokh; Hans Bader; Chronicle of Higher Education; Fredericksburg, Va. Free Lance-Star (Hurley letter)] One thing’s for sure, someone is retaliating against something.
More: Eugene Volokh is out with a don’t-miss followup post analyzing the FMF complaints in much more depth, and noting that Hurley is being charged with retaliation for “engaging in normal public debate”:
Readers might recall the recent attempt to use Title IX to shut down critical speech as retaliation, in the Northwestern University / Prof. Laura Kipnis controversy…. This complaint is yet another such attempt.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, though a publisher of a magazine [Ms.], doesn’t seem to care much about the First Amendment rights of students, or of accused university officials. Its complaint goes far beyond constitutionally unprotected and rightly punishable speech, such as true threats of violence.
Instead, it faults the university for not stopping criticism of feminist arguments and feminist arguers, whether vulgar criticism or other criticism. It faults the university for speaking out, without vulgarities or epithets, in its own defense. And the premise of the complaint thus seems to be that one side of a debate has the right to speak — to condemn and to accuse — but the federal government should step in to stop the other side from responding.
I joined guest host Michael Moynihan on Margaret Hoover’s Sirius XM talk show this week. You can listen here. We discussed the Laura Kipnis case and the federal push to make college disciplinary tribunals more pro-complainant (links here and here), as well as dangers to American public support for free speech (links here and here).
- Following student complaints, Northwestern Prof. Laura Kipnis investigated by her university over an essay she wrote on campus sexual politics [Jonathan Adler and more, Chronicle of Higher Ed (Kipnis cleared amid nationwide furor), Glenn Reynolds] Flashback: How NPR, the Center for Public Integrity, and federal officials fueled the campus sex assault panic [Christina Hoff Sommers, The Daily Beast, January] Harvard lawprof Janet Halley, who battles for rights of Title IX accused, is anything but conservative [Harvard Crimson] “The pretense of ‘neutrality’ … has its roots in privilege.” Popehat’s wicked satire of academia looks so real;
- Throwing Skittles on a school bus = “interference with an educational facility” [Louisiana, Lowering the Bar]
- To reduce stigma, or so it’s said, Maryland will serve free school breakfast and summer meals to more children whether they’re poor or not. Why cook for your kids when the state will do it? [my Free State Notes post]
- Will high school football still be around in 2035? “Iowa Jury Awards Injured Ex-High School Football Player $1M” [Insurance Journal]
- “Maryland’s ‘free range’ parents cleared of neglect in one case” [Washington Post, earlier]
- St. Paul, MN schools in recent years embraced latest progressive nostrums on discipline, mainstreaming, cultural difference. Results have not been happy [Susan Du, City Pages]
- “Two-Thirds of Risk Managers Say Frats Are Major Liability” [Inside Higher Ed] California trend spreads as Connecticut Senate passes affirmative consent bill for college disciplinary policies [West Hartford News/CT News Junkie]