- Fourth Circuit: Title IX may oblige universities to take action against outside social media sites whose content is said to create hostile environment. By blocking student access to them? [Samantha Harris, FIRE, Eugene Volokh, Robby Soave on University of Mary Washington ruling]
- Return of the loyalty oath? Some senior academics speak out against required faculty diversity statements and pledges, at the University of California [Stephen Bainbridge, Nick Wolfinger, John McGinnis, Law and Liberty] and Harvard [Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, Jeffrey Flier, Times Higher Education]
- Speech codes and “The Coddling of the American Mind”: Greg Lukianoff and Adam Goldstein guestblog at Volokh Conspiracy [series: first, second, third, fourth, fifth]
- “OCR’s use of overly broad anti-Semitism definition threatens student and faculty speech” [Zach Greenberg, FIRE] University of Washington lecturer publishes article on sex differences in pursuit of computer careers, it’s cited as gender harassment as part of successful push for training and curriculum review [Stuart Reges, Quillette] Update on “Fourth floor, ladies’ lingerie” joke episode [Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, earlier]
- Bias response teams are benign-sounding way to police speech [Dan E. Way, Martin Center] Prescribed first-year programs do much to bend the assumptions surrounding what can be safely said [John Tierney, City Journal] Artists’ intent was to challenge Confederate imagery, but some students were offended, so down it went [Inside Higher Ed: Scott Jaschik and Emily Chamlee-Wright and Sarah Skwire]
- Speech First, recently formed nonprofit group, sues University of Texas over speech policies [Phil Prazan, KXAN, Washington Examiner: Lauren Cooley and Grant Addison]
The Education Department has published for public comment proposed changes in regulations to Title IX on campus discipline and sexual misconduct; its Obama administration predecessors had decreed major changes in the same law through a “Dear Colleague” letter without public notice or comment. The new proposals differ on some points from draft versions circulated earlier. Cathy Young and Robby Soave provide overviews, and Soave writes on how response from the ACLU left much to be desired. FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) has an initial statement (Samantha Harris), a more detailed analysis (Susan Kruth), and a letter to Senate Democrats correcting some misconceptions. And John McGinnis says both sides are getting it wrong: the feds shouldn’t be regulating college misconduct codes in the first place [Law and Liberty]
- R. Shep Melnick on his new book The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education [Christina Hoff Sommers review, Education Next; Brookings; Melnick in National Affairs] And three video appearances by the author [Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth, Hoover Institution, Harvard Program on Constitutional Government]
- Some early looks at Department of Education’s planned revamp of Title IX regs [Robby Soave, Reason and more; KC Johnson, Minding the Campus; Shikha Dalmia/The Week; previously here and here]
- “Students Filed Title IX Complaints Against Kavanaugh to Prevent Him From Teaching at Harvard Law” [Shera S. Avi-Yonah and Jamie D. Halper, Harvard Crimson] “Professor Defends a Woman Accused of a Sex Crime, University Forces Him to Undergo Sexual Harassment Training” [Robby Soave on episode at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire; Conor Friedersdorf (training “as a general purpose punishment for alleged wrongthink”)]
- “Facing Penalties, 100 Percent of College Students Completed Sexual Harassment Training” [Jamie D. Halper, Harvard Crimson]
- “Failing at Fairness: Getting the Story 180 Degrees Backwards” [Coyote]
- Colleges face wave of cases alleging faculty misconduct 25, 35 years ago or longer [Collin Binkley, Asssociated Press]
- 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]