YOU MAY NOT CARE ABOUT THE CRAZY LEFT, BUT THE CRAZY LEFT CARES ABOUT YOU: What Happens on Campus Doesn’t Stay There: Reining in Title IX won’t even begin to solve colleges’ sex-related problems.
The situation on college campuses is well summed up by a recent flurry of articles and books. For a representative sample, take Stuart Taylor, Jr. and K.C. Johnson’s “The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities,” or Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis’s riveting Chronicle Review article, “Eyewitness to a Title IX Witch Trial,” an excerpt from her own recent book. The latter is not so much about Kipnis’s own surrealist encounter with Title IX enforcers as it is about her erstwhile Northwestern colleague Peter Ludlow, now effectively unemployable and living in Mexico. About American campuses, Kipnis observes, “Rampant accusation is the new norm.” About everything, she adds—but particularly about sex.
This commentary and the furious discussions it engenders feature the usual bêtes noires: Title IX, the Obama Administration’s “Dear Colleague” guidance letters, and campus administrative hearings. The consensus is that the Trump Administration ought to rescind the Obama-era directives, that Title IX ought to be re-tethered to its original purpose by Executive Order or Congress, and that colleges ought to be required by Federal mandate to hand over any sex-related incident to the criminal courts. Doing these things, so the reasoning goes, will restore proper due process and sanity to college campuses.
For starters, Title IX is an ice cube beside the iceberg of campus-related regulations. Colleges are bound by numerous Federal laws even more aggressive, intrusive, and elastic than Title IX. These include the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the 2015 Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE) amendment to the Clery Act, and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has added its own conditions to the distribution of Federal student aid. The procedures, programming, and public reporting required by these laws is in addition to, and in frequent contention with, the separate legal requirements of such Federal regulations as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Privacy Rule, Title IX, Title VII, and Title IV.
I hope that Betsy DeVos is looking at these — and the leverage they can provide her to enforce sanity.