Make no mistake, she’s smart. She’s had years to hone her craft of constructing a narrative built on false statistical claims, pseudo-scientific claims and a huge mountain of sophistry. And as the chief of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, she will have the bureaucratic ability to push her outcome to fruition, one way or another. She’s Catherine Lhamon, whom the Wall Street Journal calls “one of the worst excesses of the Obama years.”
She’s back. President Biden has nominated Catherine Lhamon to head OCR. It’s no surprise, but it is cynical and hypocritical. It is a shame that Biden happily sacrificed male students to placate the worst of his party’s left wing.
Lhamon makes no bones about what her goal is. She wants every woman who claims to be a “survivor” of any sort of sexual misconduct to be believed and to prevail, without challenge or question. She wants every man who stands accused to be punished, banished and ruined. It’s not that she doesn’t realize that her cause means innocent men will be destroyed. It’s that she doesn’t care. It’s that, from her perch as the avenging angel of sexually oppressed womanhood, women have suffered for generations and now it’s time to exact their revenge. If a few innocent men suffer, so be it. After all, haven’t women suffered all these years?
It’s not that OCR, now stuck for at least the moment with the DeVos regulations that seek to provide some modicum of due process to an inquisitorial system that in many ways is more harsh and punitive than the criminal legal system, even if it can’t physically incarcerate its targets. would give the accused a fair shot at defending themselves from false or erroneous accusations. OCR is already running down the road at full speed to undermine the new regs.
From new OCR Q&A:
Very, very few schools have gone this far, but OCR now says colleges can limit "the role of advisors to relaying questions drafted by their party."
(Goal seems to be to make regs' x-exam provisions as ineffective as possible, & make follow-up Qs v. difficult.) pic.twitter.com/pJ7CVCoK8a
— KC Johnson (@kcjohnson9) July 20, 2021
OCR has issued a new “Q&A,” which is its favored unilateral mechanism for providing succor to colleges seeking to circumvent the hard work of running a somewhat fair tribunal that might not guarantee the demanded outcome. Here, for example, it now “explains” that while the accused is entitled under the new regs the right to confront his accuser, to cross-examine through a representative the otherwise unchallenged and unchallangeable claims of the “survivor,” as they prefer to be called rather than the accusers that they are. A student is entitled to be represented by a lawyer, but the lawyer can only ask the questions framed by a college sophomore?
Sure, there will be plenty of subsequent lawsuits over these machinations, but that raises the usual host of problems, that the male student* has already been expelled, lost years of school, had his education and career derailed, lost the tuition and suffered the debt incurred, and then there’s the cost, both financial and personal, of suing. Even if he wins, at the end there will be compensatory damages, but that won’t give him back the life he could have had but for the colleges’, and OCR’s, decision to throw male students under the bus to avenge the perceived years of sexual oppression suffered by women.
And that’s where we are without Lhamon, who has proven herself shameless in her dedication to making accusers untouchable and ruining the accused.
Ms. Lhamon claimed on Twitter at the time that the DeVos rule was a return “to the bad old days, that predate my birth, when it was permissible to rape and sexually harass students with impunity.” That was false even in the “bad old days,” and it’s false about the DeVos rule. But Ms. Lhamon was unapologetic in her Senate confirmation hearing. It’s a safe bet that, if confirmed, Ms. Lhamon would roll back the due process protections.
Safe bet is a gross understatement. She rejected the presumption of innocence for the accused at her confirmation hearing, where she made as clear as humanly possible that she will do everything within her power, and as much beyond it as she can get away with, to achieve her goals.
The new DeVos regs are a vast improvement over the calculated abomination designed by Lhamon to assure the accusers prevailed and the accused stood no chance of defending themselves, but they are no panacea. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that can be done to make campus sex tribunals work fairly, even with full notice, the presumption of innocence and competent cross examination. The regs require that the decision makers be fair and neutral, but what constitutes impartiality in the minds of college students and faculty bears little relation to actual open minds and neutral factfinders as that concept is understood. They are deeply indoctrinated into the mentality of rape culture and they perceive it as entirely fair to “believe women” and assume men are rapists. No regs will change that mindset and self-perception that this is what impartiality looks like.
But Lhamon is utterly without shame in her abuse of power in the pursuit of her cause. She told the Senate back when she served the Obama Department of Education. She told the Senate again during her confirmation hearing. To confirm Catherine Lhamon to the position of the head of the Office of Civil Rights is to knowingly give power to someone dedicated to depriving accused male students of due process. The Senate must reject this nomination if they care anything about the Constitution and are against deliberate discrimination on the basis of sex.
*It should be noted that not all accused are male, as some female students are accused as well, usually in a gay or transgender sexual encounter. It should also be noted that black male students are disproportionately accused, although in this instance race suddenly is of little concern.