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 book, The 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.