The “Fake” Title IX War Over Real Lives

At its core, the Washington Post op-ed by Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson is a facial lie.

I’m a college president. Betsy DeVos should help me deal with campus sexual assault.

No college or university needs the “help” of the Department of Education to deal with campus sexual assault. If the DoE got out of the business of pushing colleges to twist Title IX altogether, it would have no impact whatsoever on the choices colleges make in handling accusations of sexual assault or rape. What the DoE has provided was cover, the means by which colleges could discriminate and blame it on the DoE. “Lhamon made me,” they could cry. But it’s just a lie.

As has been discussed here in excruciating detail, Title IX was never intended to morph into a campus adjudicatory system for the crimes of rape and sexual assault, but slid down the slippery slope until bureaucrats with radical agendas circumvented law to push their vision onto colleges.

Even McIntosh, despite her dodging and weaving, concedes that Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and head of the DoE Office of Civil Rights has gone off the reservation.  She has no lawful authority to mandate colleges and universities adhere to her political whims, as reflected in her “guidance,” upon pain of losing federal funds.*

When asked (see 1:37 in the video) who gave Lhamon the authority to impose her personal will upon the nation’s colleges and universities, she responded, “with gratitude, you did when I was confirmed.”

Now that Betsy DeVos is Secretary of Education, the fear is that she will undo the Lhamon agenda by rescinding the “Dear Colleague” letters in which Lhamon, and her predecessor, Russlyn Ali, fundamentally changed Title IX in the absence of any lawful authority. While this doesn’t mean colleges will change their ways, it does mean they will no longer be able to hide behind the DoE when they are taken to court.* As for Lhamon’s relative concerns for law versus her personal whims, she made that plain in her 2014 Q&A on Title IX:

Procedures that ensure the Title IX rights of the complainant, while at the same time according any federally guaranteed due process to both parties involved, will lead to sound and supportable decisions. Of course, a school should ensure that steps to accord any due process rights do not restrict or unnecessarily delay the protections provided by Title IX to the complainant.

This is why Anderson fights any change in Washington, as the potential liability, already huge, for colleges to violate the constitutional rights of its male students and guarantee the “conviction” of the guilty as well as the innocent,  will be disastrous without the approval of a bureaucrat who issues letters, upon pain of loss of federal funds. How else can a college president explain to a judge that she’s required to put Lhamon’s politics ahead of the Constitution?

The impulse to deconstruct Anderson’s op-ed is strong, as it’s a line by line, paragraph by paragraph, indulgence in distortion and lies, tropes and disingenuous analogies. But there is nothing in there that hasn’t already been discussed here and, beyond the believers who use the word “survivors” when they mean to say “accusers,” is so intellectually bankrupt as to shock the conscience. The DoJ says 1 in 5? No, it does not.

What makes this particularly awkward is that Anderson is the President of Brooklyn College. The most thorough serious academic discussion of Title IX is in the book by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor’s bookThe Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities. And where does KC Johnson teach history? Brooklyn College. Yes, that would be the same college in which Anderson serves as president.

There is no way of knowing with certainty whether Anderson is even aware of KC Johnson’s book, no less whether she read it, but as Anderson was a law prof before becoming Brooklyn College president, I’m going to make an inferential leap and suggest that she is fully aware of the fact that her op-ed is completely false, and that she is promoting lies to further her agenda.**

KC and Stuart offered to write a responding op-ed, but the Washington Post rejected their offer. The op-ed by Anderson sufficed to match their politics, and they were wholly disinterested in an op-ed that was objectively accurate and contrary to the lies they prefer.

There is a war going on to stop Betsy DeVos from rescinding Lhamon’s “guidance,” and that war is being fought by academics willing to sacrifice facts and scholarly credibility to intentionally lie to the public and convince them to fight any change to Lhamon’s radical and lawless shift of campus sexual adjudication. Repeat lies enough and people will believe. After all, who would assume a college president would outright lie?

At the core of this agenda is the antithesis of all that comprises the fundamental basis of our legal system: blindly believe the accuser, assume the accused guilty, deprive the accused of due process and assure his guilt. In contrast to Blackstone’s ratio, the fundamental premise that it’s better to let 10 guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man, the premise here is that it’s better to convict 10 innocent male students than disbelieve one self-proclaimed “survivor” of sexual assault. And, coincidentally, the only difference when it’s two drunk kids is that one is male and the other is a victim.

For Lhamon, and Anderson, the flagrant discrimination against males is just the price to be paid to achieve their agenda. After all, it’s not as if women would ever falsely accuse a man for their own purposes or to bask in the adoration of victimhood. And even when they do, they just don’t care and will shamelessly lie to promote their cause.

*According to KC Johnson, who has done the heavy lifting of tracking such things, there have been 53 court decisions to date rejecting Lhamon’s radical vision of Title IX campus sexual assault adjudications. These do not include the settlements, such as Nungesser (and Grant Neal).

**Ironically, in 2004, the very same Michelle Anderson published an article in Boston University Law Review that concluded:

In fact, there is no good empirical data on false rape complaints either historically or currently… As a scientific matter, the frequency of false rape complaints to police or other legal authorities remains unknown.

25 thoughts on “The “Fake” Title IX War Over Real Lives

  1. Matthew S Wideman

    The “1 and 5 sexual assuault victims myth” is absolutely rediculous. I also love how she believes that just because they hand out tickets for parking passes they can investigate sexual assuault.

    She seems like a person in search of a problem. I can’t think actual adults think like this.

  2. B. McLeod

    Administrators were misguided if they really thought the “dear colleague” letter gave them some kind of carta blanche to violate students’ constitutional rights and not be sued for it.

    An objectively prudent administrator would want his or her university out of this business. Sexual assaults are crimes, and students should be encouraged (and schools should be allowed to encourage them) to turn every complaint over to police. For their own part, the schools should simply make sure they do what they can to provide reasonably safe premises as any landlord or merchant would do, and to prevent any school involvement in covering misconduct for anyone (and even those things should be separated from bullshit “Title IX” contentions). That should be the limit of the school’s involvement, and the criminal justice system should take care of the rest, just as it does in every other segment of our society.

    1. SHG Post author

      The argument against requiring victims to go to the police is that the cops are dismissive, don’t take them seriously and are insensitive to the special needs and “problems” of victims, including their reluctance to seek criminal sanctions.

      1. B. McLeod

        I’m aware of the argument, I just don’t buy it. Universities were not created to fill gaps in the criminal justice system as perceived through the jaded lens of gender politics. That has never been their purpose and should not be made their purpose now.

        1. JimEd

          The further counter argument is: But you are a the landlord to a bunch of post pubescent large children and you know they shouldn’t drink or have sex or god forbid, do both. We the nation of parents are entrusting you with our best and brightest and dumbest, at the same time. This police thing is confusing though since I’ve never had to deal with them. They seem nice?

          1. B. McLeod

            Of course, we do not hold this to be a responsibility of landlords in any normal context, and, the Title IX zealots expect to extend the enforcement role to students who are not living on campus and to incidents that don’t happen on campus. So, the landlord analogy really fails on several points.

          2. Mark

            The persons enrolled in college/university, with few exceptions, are adults. The worst thing we can do as a society is to continue to coddle them as if they were children. Furthermore, educational institutions are not well-equipped to prosecute crimes, and in order for them to be properly equipped, the cost of tuition will be driven even further up. There is simply no need to provide a duplicate criminal investigation/prosecution service as it is a waste of resources and makes tuition even less affordable for the poor and middle class.

            1. Mark

              Is that sarcasm? Most persons in college/university are at least 18 years of age, which means they are at the age of majority, or in other words…”adults”.

              [Ed. Note: Link deleted. It’s okay, we don’t need a link for age of majority.]

            2. SHG Post author

              Age of majority isn’t necessarily the same thing as being an adult. And yes, it’s sarcasm toward college kids with stunted adolescence.

            3. Mark

              You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish. Unfortunately we are rewarding that age group for not growing up. And it seems we are punishing those that are acting like adults. Up is down, down is up. (Great blog post BTW)

          3. DOUGLAS S WENZEL

            Why should the Universities be responsible, when parietals and in loco parentis were ejected from campus with the sexual revolution in the late sixties? Furthermore, they are almost all adults, and the few exceptions (I started college the day I turned seventeen) are smarter, if not necessarily wiser than the average bear?

            The problem is that gender ratios on campus are trending more female, while the tendency of women for hypergamy means that they end up scrambling for a smaller cohort of preferable men on campus, who of course will play the field to their advantage. Just because women later regret getting played, or feel pressure without a corresponding commitment, doesn’t make it rape.

            Furthermore, just because you choose to get yourself drunk doesn’t mean you have a right to abdicate moral agency and blame your drunken hookup on someone else. After all, when sororities “pre-game”, they are deliberately getting drunk on the cheap to lower their inhibitions, even before the frat parties they will later attend, where the booze will flow freely.

  3. LC

    I never thought about the “hiding behind the DoE” part. Great point. You mentioned the 53 lawsuits ruled in favor of the accused don’t include settlements made out of court. Is there anywhere/anyone that has stats for those cases?

    1. SHG Post author

      The academic who has followed these cases most closely is KC Johnson. He would be a better person to ask.

  4. Fubar

    For Lhamon, and Anderson, the flagrant discrimination against males is just the price to be paid to achieve their agenda.

    The dominant male paradigm
    Must be buried — It’s long past its prime.
    Any data statistical
    Is misogynistical.
    That’s how we make policy rhyme!

    1. B. McLeod

      Of such concerns, I make short shrift,
      From my trouser pocket, two dimes I lift,
      (To my jacket pocket — a pair-o’-dimes shift).

  5. Nate Whilk

    Sorry to nitpick, but “facial”? Perhaps “facile” or “farcical”? Or “bald-faced”?

    1. SHG Post author

      Nitpick all you want. My choice of word is facial. When you write this, you can choose the word you prefer.

        1. SHG Post author

          An assertion that is false on its face; it requires no further investigation to determine it’s truth or falsity.

  6. Jim Fuerstenberg

    If you need DOE’s help to deal with Sexual Harassment, you should not be involved in operating a college or university… it would be like Ford or GE going to the EEOC and saying we need your help to stop sexual harassment in our companies.

  7. Rxc

    Many of the high school colleagues of those university students did not make it into higher education, but are now working for the government, maintaining all sorts of weapons systems, firing those weapons, and killing real people. One wonders where the “best and brightest ” really ended up.

    1. B. McLeod

      Is that relevant because “war” was in the caption? I don’t wonder much about anybody’s brightness if he signs up voluntarily for war. A smart person who knows anything about war needs a damn good reason to do that, and by “damn good reason,” I mean things that aren’t expressible in dollar signs.

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