Imagine you send your son to college and he gets accused of sexual harassment. You find the charges unbelievable and you trust an investigation will vindicate him. You assume that, until the complaint has been investigated and a ruling has been made he won’t be disciplined.
The Wall Street Journal just reported on the scandal that everyone has missed because of… all the other scandals. A new “letter” from the Department of Justice and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has been issued. Among other things, it states that,
“a university must take immediate steps to protect the complainant from further harassment prior to the completion of the Title IX and Title IV investigation/resolution. Appropriate steps may include separating the accused harasser and the complainant, providing counseling for the complainant and/or harasser, and/or taking disciplinary action against the harasser.”
As Greg Lukianoff summarized it in the WSJ, “In plain English: Students can be punished before they are found guilty of harassment.”
But that is only the beginning. There is no longer any real standard. The old standard of objective offense is rejected:
“Third, Sexual Harassment Policy 406.5.1 improperly suggests that the conduct does not constitute sexual harassment unless it is objectively offensive. This policy provides examples of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature but then states that ‘[w]hether conduct is sufficiently offensive to constitute sexual harassment is determined from the perspective of an objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation.’ Whether conduct is objectively offensive is a factor used to determine if a hostile environment has been created, but it is not the standard to determine whether conduct was ‘unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature’ and therefore constitutes ‘sexual harassment.’ . . . sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.’ (Findings at pg. 9)”
So, yes, your son is a sexual harasser. He asked a classmate to go out on a date and she had all she needed to charge him.
The new policy includes speech. It even singles out: “non-sexual harassment of a person because of the person’s sex and/or gender, including, but not limited to, harassment based on the person’s nonconformity with gender stereotypes.” Actually, this would apply to siding with the Bible on homosexual conduct or arguing that women should not serve in combat roles.
More than anything, this new regime is a way of giving jobs and authority to Left-liberal authoritarians of the Clinton-Obama type. Wendy Kaminer’s conclusion in the Atlantic is well aimed. Leading up to it, she points out:
“Finally, in addition to punishing alleged harassers, colleges and universities are required to undertake extensive, putatively preventative measures against harassment, mainly extensive mandatory training (or re-education) programs for staff members and students. Read the dreary, detailed resolution agreement between the Obama administration and the University of Montana to appreciate the burdensome sexual harassment bureaucracies required by federal policy, especially when a school has been found derelict. Montana has agreed to hire an ‘equity consultant,’ and conduct student focus groups, annual ‘climate surveys’ and monitoring programs; it will also subject itself to an annual federal assessment ‘of the effectiveness of its anti-discrimination efforts.’”
In the final analysis, everything from the Obama Administration is about oppression and stimulus.