- In separate incidents, public universities (Rutgers and the University of New Mexico, respectively) discipline a professor and a med student over vulgar and inflammatory political postings on their personal Facebook pages. First Amendment trouble [FIRE on Rutgers case; Eugene Volokh: Rutgers, UNM cases]
- Defend someone who’s facing Title IX charges, and you just might yourself find yourself facing Title IX charges too along with the withholding of your degree [ABA Journal on Yogesh Patil case; Drew Musto, Cornell Sun (19 Cornell law profs write to president to criticize withholding of Ph.D.); Scott Greenfield]
- Social justice bureaucracy within University of Texas might be bigger than some whole universities [Mark Pulliam] “Ohio State employs 88 diversity-related staffers at a cost of $7.3M annually” [Derek Draplin, The College Fix]
- “Male, pale and stale university professors are to be given ‘reverse mentors’ to teach them about unconscious bias, under a new [U.K.] Government funded scheme” [Camilla Turner, Telegraph]
- “Wow, this is truly astounding. A *published* paper [on gender differences in trait variability] was deleted and an imposter paper of same length and page numbers substituted to appease a mob.” [Theodore P. Hill, Quillette, as summarized by Alex Tabarrok] Reception of James Damore episode on campus: “[T]hose of us working in tech have been trying to figure out what we can and cannot say on the subject of diversity. You might imagine that a university would be more open to discussing his ideas, but my experience suggests otherwise.” [Stuart Reges, Quillette]
- Speak not of oaths: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is latest public institution to require diversity statements of all faculty, staff applicants [Rita Loffredo, The College Fix] Harvard students “will be required to complete a Title IX training module to enroll in fall 2018 classes” [Jamie D. Halper, Harvard Crimson]
Although formal proposals are not due until next month, word has begun to filter out about the U.S. Department of Education’s plans to revisit and revamp the Obama administration’s Title IX guidelines on discipline for campus sexual misconduct. Emily Yoffe at The Atlantic, whose work in this area we’ve covered before, has more:
A year ago, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos declared that the rules and procedures put in place by the Obama administration on this volatile subject had created a “failed system” that brought justice neither to accuser or accused. She promised to change that….
As I wrote in a three-part Atlantic series last September, the use of Title IX to protect female students, however well-intentioned, has resulted in the over-policing of sex between young adults. It has also sometimes resulted in adjudications that assume guilt, rely on junk science, gut fundamental fairness, engage in racial animus, and disregard the effects of ending men’s educations and crushing futures. The Times’s story was based on a leak, so we still need to see all the rules in their final form. Because these proposed rules will go through an administrative process known as “notice and comment” – meaning the public can weigh in — revisions are likely….
Among items on the reform agenda are the definition of harassment (moving toward the Supreme Court’s definition as opposed to the broader definition used now); the scope of the university’s duty to address wrongdoing (filed complaints only, or any appearance of misconduct whether or not there is a complainant?); whether colleges are obliged to punish misconduct occurring far away or during the summer, as opposed to on campus; sharing evidence with the accused; and allowing colleges to adopt higher standards of proof. Also under scrutiny are the training manuals and materials used for Title IX investigators; many colleges have yielded to pressure to adopt so-called trauma-informed response to accusations, which invokes dubious scientific assertions to stack the process toward overlooking flaws in accusers’ stories and assuming the worst of the accused.
Some of the proposals might make little difference or even encourage dubious “single-investigator” formats, but overall, Yoffe concludes, their thrust would be to “move the policy in a more just direction.”
More: and don’t miss the new analysis by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr. in the Weekly Standard.
- New York Times tackles a story of lopsided Title IX process [Michael Powell, NYT on Keith Mumphery Michigan State case] Federal court spanks Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island over kangaroo court [KC Johnson, Minding the Campus] U.S. Department of Justice “has filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit challenging the University of Michigan’s controversial speech code policies” [Nikita Vladimirov, Campus Reform]
- “Judges,” he told the crowd, “cannot be intimidated,” and “Lawsuits are won and lost in the courtrooms, not in the streets.” Gail Heriot gives Stanley Mosk his due;
- Suing for faculty positions: “While I find it regrettable that university faculties are so politicized that good candidates like Teresa Manning get rejected, I think it would be even worse to have some law or regulation against discrimination based on politics.” [George Leef]
- “As many as one in four students at some elite U.S. colleges are now classified as disabled, largely because of mental-health issues such as depression or anxiety, entitling them to a widening array of special accommodations like longer time to take exams” [Douglas Belkin, WSJ]
- Diversity follies in STEM [Heather Mac Donald, City Journal] University of Michigan employs 93 full-time diversity staffers [Mark Perry]
- “Six Ideas to De-Politicize the American Campus” [Martin Center]
“Male and female student have a drunken hookup. He wakes up, terrified she’s going to file a sexual misconduct complaint, so he goes to the Title IX office and beats her to the punch. She is found guilty and suspended.” [Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic quoting Robby Soave, Reason on University of Cincinnati case]
- 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”]
Recycling a joke that was already old when I was a teenager, academic conference-goer on elevator calls out “Ladies’ lingerie” in reference to a floor stop. Then begins the acrimonious process in which he must defend his career against the complaint filed by a women’s and gender studies professor who was present and took offense. [Ruth Marcus, syndicated/Houston Chronicle] More: Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education.
Not seen yet, but promises to be an important read: R. Shep Melnick’s “The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education” Publisher’s blurb:
Few laws have had such far-reaching impact as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Intended to give girls and women greater access to sports programs and other courses of study in schools and colleges, the law has since been used by judges and agencies to expand a wide range of antidiscrimination policies – most recently the Obama administration’s 2016 mandates on sexual harassment and transgender rights.
In this comprehensive review of how Title IX has been implemented, Boston College political science professor R. Shep Melnick analyzes how interpretations of “equal educational opportunity” have changed over the years. In terms accessible to non-lawyers, Melnick examines how Title IX has become a central part of legal and political campaigns to correct gender stereotypes, not only in academic settings but in society at large. Title IX thus has become a major factor in America’s culture wars – and almost certainly will remain so for years to come.
Related: “23 Cornell Law Profs support suspended male student in Title IX court appeal” [William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection]
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “There’s been criticism of some college codes of conduct for not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard, and that’s one of the basic tenets of our system, as you know, everyone deserves a fair hearing.” Jeffrey Rosen: “Are some of those criticisms of the college codes valid?” Ginsburg: “Do I think they are? Yes.” [Atlantic] Related: Stuart Taylor Jr. & KC Johnson, Real Clear Politics; Linda LeFauve & Stuart Taylor Jr. on the long-deflated yet still influential Lisak campus rape study;
- “Forcing Students to Apply to College Is a Bad Idea” [George Leef, Martin Center, earlier]
- “Congress Should Deregulate Private Universities, Not Regulate Them More” [John McGinnis, Liberty and Law on bill to restrain colleges from applying discipline for membership in a fraternity or sorority]
- “What’s more, any program proposed by a Maryland university must be reviewed by the monitor to ensure it will not harm the historically black schools.” [Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post]
- 88-year-old NYU psychology professor denounced to bias cops for curricular choices on gender politics, not using students’ preferred pronouns [Dean Balsamini/New York Post, Alex Domb, Washington Square News on case of Prof. Edgar Coons] Ideological state of the law schools not good [Mark Pulliam/Misrule of Law, and thanks for mention]
- “No one should be entitled, though, to a particular mix of holiday celebrations.” [Eugene Volokh on Loyola (Chicago) controversy]
If you missed the December Cato event with acclaimed writer Emily Yoffe on the problems with campus sex-misconduct tribunals, you can watch here as well as checking out KC Johnson’s live-tweeted summary. Yoffe was joined by commenter Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post and moderator John Samples of Cato, who kindly stepped into my place when I was unable to attend. Earlier here and here.
- “Wyoming: Efforts to strip state courts of jurisdiction to hear K-12 funding lawsuits reintroduced; courts could declare funding system unconstitutional but could not order more funding” [Gavel To Gavel, more on school finance litigation]
- Coalition of accusers’-rights groups sue Education Department demanding restoration of earlier Obama versions Title IX guidance [KC Johnson Twitter thread pointing out weaknesses in suit]
- “A High School Student Faces Expulsion for Noticing the Square Root Symbol Looks Like a Gun” [Scott Shackford]
- How a political machine based on the schools lobby ran one affluent suburban county (Montgomery County, Maryland) before fumbling its grip [Adam Pagnucco, The Seventh State]
- Costs approach $1M in Southern California special ed dispute over one student’s education [Ashly McGlone, San Diego Union-Tribune]
- Japan: “Of course, this ignores the absurdity that students are being required, or feel required, to dye their hair because of a policy that was supposedly meant to prohibit students from dying their hair.” [Lowering the Bar]