While there has been a good deal of effort put into fighting the deprivation of due process in campus sex tribunals, it has largely been directed toward male students. At the same time, there have been some academics who have gotten caught up in the campus hysteria and learned, the hard way, that Kafka was an optimist.
For some, there’s a schadenfreude quality to it, as they were often very much a part of the machinery that created or enabled these problems to exist and fester. But as courts are now reining in colleges for the sake of male students, the University of Michigan has decided to wage war against its own professors.
Notably, this isn’t a question of punishment after a determination has been made by a trauma-taught tribunal of gender studies profs. Indeed, UMich uses the single investigator approach, where one person investigates and adjudicates. Or as some might say, is judge, jury and executioner.
Going forward, it will be left in the capable hands of a UMich Title IX investigator, as proxy for the Office of Institutional Equity (which may have more to do with “institutional” than “equity”) to decide whether a tenured professor should be immediately suspended without pay upon commencement of an investigation. Not a finding of probable cause or responsibility by preponderance of the evidence, but investigation.
Was this how you thought it would turn out when you supported the traumatized students who had sex but regretted it a year or two later, after their boyfriends started dating someone else? Did you really believe the snake would never bite you?
Professors are rarely understood to be constrained by the silliness that applies in the current campus climate, although those against whom sex accusations are made have come to realize very swiftly how absurd things have become. At the same time, there is little concern for academics who engage in any sort of sexual liaison with a student, even if the prof is young and the student isn’t their student and fully consents, if not totally desires, the relationship.
Maybe now it’s time for those who were happy enough to be on Team Rape Culture to consider whether things have gotten a bit out of hand, and maybe taking a bullet for the team isn’t nearly as fair as they thought it was?
Update: Per The College Fix, UMich says there’s nothing to see here.
UMich told The College Fix Wednesday late afternoon that suspension without pay “is not a change under the umbrella policy,” which is why it’s not highlighted in the press release.
Spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald wrote in an email that the university “currently has the ability to suspend staff and research faculty without pay as an interim measure during an OIE investigation,” and that tenured and tenure-track faculty can’t be suspended without pay as an interim measure because of a regents’ bylaw. “The umbrella policy does not change that.”
So why does the policy say what it says?