Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Silencing via Sexual Accusation

Keith Whitaker

A brief history and critique of the Department of Education's proposed Title IX regulations. 

Measuring Sexual Assault on Campus: The Clery Report Challenge

Dan Subotnik

A careful dissection of the most widely used surveys on campus sexual assaults indicates that the problem might be something less than the scourge it is often portrayed as.

Accusation Studies

Peter Wood

Trial by accusation has become standard, where did it find its start?

Clemson’s Colin Kaepernick Moment

Dion J. Pierre

Clemson University deals with issues of race and sexual-assualt. 

Title IX Witch Trials

Michael Krauss

Michael Krauss reviews K.C. Johnson & Stuart Taylor's The Campus Rape Frenzy.

More OCR Follies

Peter Wood

A call for Congress to rein in the rogue Department of Education.

Looking Back at the Duke Lacrosse Case after Ten Years

George Leef

A professor reflects on the decade-old Duke case and the lack of change at the university.

Hook-Up Culture

David Randall

NAS President Peter Wood writes on the hook-up culture on campus.

Sexual Misconduct on Campus: Big Report, Little Information

Glenn Ricketts

A front-page report on campus sexual assault investigations provides lots of numbers and little information.

Roses and Thorns: NAS's Top 10 List for 2015

Ashley Thorne

The National Association of Scholars remembers who stood out this year in higher education. 

Columbia Gets Citizenship Wrong

Ashley Thorne

Columbia University is requiring students to take sexual assault education prevention training but cares little about students' long-term sexual well-being or freedom of conscience.

Peter Wood Discusses "The Meaning of Sex" on the Radio

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood talks with the Armstrong & Getty Show about his recent Weekly Standard cover story. 

Letter to Members of Congress: Rein in the DoED's Office for Civil Rights

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood urges U.S. Members of Congress to rein in the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Assault by the DOE

Robert Carle

In Academic Questions, Robert Carle writes on why sexual assault cases should be decided by courts, not by campus rape tribunals, which have an abysmal record of mishandling cases and issuing weak sentences.

Letter to Scripps Trustees: Re-Invite George Will

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood urges Scripps College trustees to re-invite George Will to speak on campus.

Statement on Campus Accountability and Safety Act

NAS

The NAS has concerns about the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which could potentially encourage college communities to implicate innocent parties.

Letter to Lamar Alexander

Peter Wood

Peter Wood writes to Senator Lamar Alexander about the Office for Civil Rights's efforts to lower standards of due process in cases of alleged sexual assault on campus.

DOE Invites Comments on Proposed Sexual Assault Regulations

Glenn Ricketts

The Office of Postsecondary Education returns to the older practice of soliciting public comments.

Senate Committee Hearings Examine Sexual Assault on Campus, No Room for Due Process

Glenn Ricketts

Two Senate committees examine sexual assault on campus, but don't explore a significant aspect of the issue.

How Often? How Bad?: New Evidence on Self-Reported Sexual Assault on Campus

Peter Wood

Surprising new statistics, from a surprising source, on sexual assault.

California Legislature Seeks to Codify OCR Sexual Assault Standards

Glenn Ricketts

A proposed law goes even further in placing the burden on the accused.

Sexual Assault on College Campuses: A Compendium of Key Sources

Glenn Ricketts

A list of statutes, documents, agencies and organizations for quick reference.

The White House War on Men

Peter Wood

Rule of thumb: If a woman alleges sexual harassment, she is telling the truth. 

DOE's Sexual Harassment Guidelines Not a "Blueprint" for All Colleges

Ashley Thorne

A letter from the new head of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights indicates that the Office may be moving away from its earlier unconstitutional policies on university discipline for sexual harassment.

Guilty

Glenn Ricketts

Federal sexual misconduct guidelines get results.

Watch Out: Feds Act to Make College Campuses Safer

Glenn Ricketts

Do we need a new federal agency to make college campuses safer?

Gender Inequity Among the Gender Equity Enforcers

Peter Wood

In a sample study, NAS found that 83% of Title IX Coordinators are female.

Sexual Harassment: The Real Thing

Glenn Ricketts

This was genuine misconduct, and justice was well served.

Sexual Harassment--The Feds Go Way Too Far

Peter Wood

Peter Wood evaluates the implications of the federal government's "breathtakingly broad definition" of campus sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment Update: Kangaroo Courts Rule

Glenn Ricketts

KC Johnson describes the latest developments in campus jurisprudence - they don't include due process.

Peter Wood Comments on U of Montana Sexual Assault Tutorial

Glenn Ricketts

NAS President Peter Wood has reservations about the new policy.

Campus SHI Learns Improved Ways To Find ‘Em Guilty

Glenn Ricketts

Campus SHI administrators learn how to get air-tight guilty verdicts.

A Culture of Evasion

Peter Wood

Campus sexual-harassment codes grow ever more draconian even as what passes for acceptable behavior behind the scenes grows worse and worse.

Ivy League Schools Continue to Refine Sexual Harassment Procedures

Glenn Ricketts

More heartening news on campus sexual misconduct procedures.

The Shape of Things to Come: Justice Corrupted at Brown

Glenn Ricketts

A tale of  injustice at Brown and its larger implications.

FIRE Sends Followup Harassment Inquiry to OCR, NAS Co-signs

Glenn Ricketts

We sign on with FIRE' s letter asking OCR to break its silence on new harassment guidelines.

OCR Harassment Guidelines And Campus Policies: The Latest

Glenn Ricketts

The implementation of OCR's campus harassment guidelines unfolds.  Bad gets worse.

One Year Later: OCR Stonewalls Objections to New Harassment Guidelines

Glenn Ricketts

Despite strong protests from NAS, FIRE and the AAUP,  OCR says nothing about its new harassment requirements

FIRE Notes NJ Anti-Bullying Law Endangers Free Speech On Campus

Glenn Ricketts

No one should tolerate genuine bullying, but the sensitive enforcers of ambiguous anti-harassment laws often overstep their bounds.

Sexual Harassment Industry Rides Rough at Yale

Glenn Ricketts

New guidelines from the US Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights stack an already slanted deck even more heavily against the accused.

FIRE Sends Open Letter to OCR on Sexual Harassment, NAS Co-Signs

Glenn Ricketts

We collaborate with FIRE against OCR guidelines that trivialize sexual harassment with severe results to the careers of those frivolously charged.

NAS Signs Open Letter Asking OCR to Better Define Sexual Harassment

Ashley Thorne

NAS joins ten other organizations in requesting the Office for Civil Rights to use the Supreme Court's standard in defining student sexual harassment in higher education.

That Man May Revel in His Freedom of Speech

Glenn Ricketts

Is the use of inclusive use of the masculine singular pronoun grounds for accusations of sexual harassment? It was at CSU-Chico till FIRE ridiculed them with "Speech Code of the Year."

No Evidence of Sexual Harassment? Guilty, Says the Dean

Glenn Ricketts

Professor Arthur Gilbert, a long-time, highly regarded faculty member in the University of Denver's Joseph Korbel School of International Studies is still seeking vindication, following his outrageous treatment by senior DU administrators.

FIRE: Sen. Leahy Pulls OCR Standards From VAWA Re-Authorization

Glenn Ricketts

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has withdrawn his proposal to incorporate the "preponderance of evidence" standard of proof from the current draft version of the Violence Against Women Act. 

Anti-Bullying Regulations in DC Promise Ubiquitous Micromanagement

Glenn Ricketts

There may well be a threshold at which verbal abuse constitutes legitimately punishable harassment, but the bill currently under consideration by the DC Council goes way, WAY, beyond those limits: "Virtually no speech or behavior that a student might consider insulting and that a petty bureaucrat might find offensive and disruptive is beyond the reach of this ban." 

The AAUW - More Manipulation by Survey

John Leo

John Leo scrutinizes another dubious alarmist survey from the AAUW. Unfortunately, most of the media usually give them a free pass.

Still More: A Student Affairs Administrator Disputes "Victim-Friendly" Policy

Ashley Thorne

This open letter at Inside Higher Ed by an anonymous student affairs administrator is the most powerful piece of evidence I've seen so far showing why the mandates in the Office of Civil Rights' "Dear Colleague" letter go too far. The author complains that Russlynn Ali doesn't understand the job of an administrator who has to handle real cases as complex and contentious as sexual assault charges:

It is unlikely that Ms. Ali has ever sat at desk like mine, on the phone with a parent who cannot believe I allowed his daughter to drink, much less allowed (or not allowed -- always a difficult point to discuss) a "boy" to do the things her account reports. Or a parent who wants to know why I have sent her son home without so much as a hearing, an action we call "interim removal," while we investigate these claims. "Because the alleged victim is afraid of seeing him, and the Office for Civil Rights has made it clear that our process must support the alleged victim in this way" is not an answer that satisfies an angry mother who believes that her son (1) has been unjustly accused, (2) has not been given a chance to defend himself (yet), and 3) may find his ability to succeed academically compromised by his absence from classes during this investigation.  Has Ms. Ali ever had a parent, in a rageful voice, point out the inequity of all of this? Because I've experienced that on several occasions as I have tried to do what OCR expects from a "victim-friendly" policy.

The author writes that experienced human judgment is a better approach to getting to the bottom of sexual assault charges than this "victim-friendly" rule: "I do not appreciate having my hands tied by the presumption of guilt the Dear Colleague Letter portrays." The OCR regulations thus harm not only students and their families but also the campus administrators trying to sort out these painful situations.

More on Sen. Leahy's VAWA Amendment

Glenn Ricketts

Vermont Sen. Pat Leahy's proposed codification of OCR's outrageous new "guidelines" for college sexual harassment case procedures has been getting some close public scrutiny and deservedly scathing criticism. 

No Really, Some Good News on Sexual Harassment

Glenn Ricketts

New mandatory regulations for college sexual harassment case procedures from the US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have made it much easier to return a guilty verdict but thanks to FIRE's tireless vigilance and PR efforts, a particularly egregious case at the University of North Dakota has seen justice done. 

OCR's New Sexual Harassment Guidelines Threaten Academic Freedom, Due Process

Glenn Ricketts

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has mandated new guidelines for processing sexual harassment cases on college campuses. Watch out: it's going to be much easier to find you guilty.

FIRE Wins Another Case

George Leef

I wrote about the astonishing case of a professor at East Georgia College about two years ago; he was fired summarily for having had the temerity to criticize the school's sexual harassment policy. Just recently the case was settled for a mere $50,000. Read about it here. That seems like small compensation for the damage the college inflicted, but maybe there simply wasn't more to be gotten.

Fired: For Sexual Harassment? No, for Criticizing the Policy

Glenn Ricketts

A professor at East Georgia College was just legally vindicated after being terminated, NOT for sexual harassment itself, but for merely criticizing his school's proposed policy at a faculty meeting in 2009. You can read about the details here, courtesy of our friends at FIRE, who these days seem to have more and more work to do. First Amendment Rights? Not when it comes to the SHI (sexual Harassment Industry). Never, never assume that we've finally reached the limits of Orwellian absurdity where this subject is concerned.

Higher Sex Ed

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood examines the bewildering state of sexuality on many contemporary college campuses.

J'accuse! Feds "Discourage" Due Process

Jonathan Bean

 Colleges have already thrown out old-fashioned notions of civil liberties, so they are all too happy to presume guilt. 

Feds Gut Due Process in "Sexual Harassment" Cases

Jonathan Bean

The Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education has retreated from its firm stance in favor of due process and put forth a new standard for enforcing campus sexual harassment codes based on "the preponderance of evidence" (rather than "clear and convincing" evidence). 

Widener Law Professor Wins, Still Loses

Glenn Ricketts

As Ashley Thorne reported earlier this week, Widener University law professor Lawrence Connell can't seem to get a break. Although he was vindicated of the frivolous charges of racial and sexual harassment lodged against him at the behest of law school dean Linda Ammons, he's still in the soup. 

Kudos to the AAUP

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood applauds some recent policy statements by the AAUP.

Widener Law Professor Exonerated

John Irving

A Widener University faculty and administrative commmittee unanimously cleared law professor Lawrence Connell of racism, sexism, and charges that he was a danger to students.

CEI Attorney on OCR's New Sexual Harassment Procedures

Glenn Ricketts

I noted recently that the US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had mandated new standards under which colleges and universities recieving federal funds would be obligated to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Specifically, OCR now requires that all such inquiries apply a much lighter burden of proof in determining innocence or guilt. A "preponderance of evidence" - basically 51% - is all that's needed now in order to find you guilty. Many campus "harassment" procedures were already stacked pretty heavily against the accused, so the scales of justice appeared to tip even further in the same direction.

The picture hasn't gotten any brighter. Numerous commentators have blasted the new rules including Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects at the Competative Enterpirse Institute and a former OCR lawyer. He's written cogently on campus harassment codes over the years, and his most recent thoughts here and here aren't encouraging to anyone who cares about due process or the rights of the accused.

Campus Sexual Misconduct Codes, Con't

Glenn Ricketts

As I observed briefly here last week, the US Dept. of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced a mandatory new standard under which most campus judiciary bodies will be expected to examine charges of sexual misconduct.

Sexual Harassment: Probably Guilty is Good Enough

Glenn Ricketts

Recently, the US Dept. of Education's Office for Civil Rights mandated a new standard of proof for campus sexual misconduct procedures. Watch out, because it's going to be a LOT easier to find you guilty.

Fear Factory: Sexual Harassment and the Rights of the Accused

Jonathan Bean

Our Illinois affiliate president weighs in on the wacky world of sexual harassment codes on college campuses.

Collegiality or Harrassment? Two Sides of the PC Coin

Mitchell Langbert

At a northeastern college the chair of a department also chaired  a tenure and promotion committee that made a negative decision on an  untenured associate professor.  The associate professor under consideration had published many books and articles, and his publication record was better than the majority of tenured faculty at the institution.  However, he had offended other of the senior faculty politically by outshining them. He was accused of  lack of collegiality. The promotion committee rejected the tenure application, and that became news.  Ultimately, the university's chancellor rescinded the committee's decision. Fast forward five years.  Another professor, this time a full professor, offends the same departmental chair.  The chair accuses the full professor of harrassing a female professor.   The accusation of harassment is not referred to a personnel or EEO office, but is raised in a public, departmental meeting without investigation or hearing.  The charges are discussed publicly.  The departmental chair demands that a vote of censure be taken against the full professor. The full professor states that he was helping the untenured female professor and discussing a course with her, and that she does not claim that she was harassed.  In other words, he was acting collegially. I deduce a simple conclusion for the politically incorrect:  if you are collegial, you will be called a harasser.  If you are a talented hard worker, you will be said to lack collegiality.

Accused Professor Reinstated

Ashley Thorne

Thomas Thibeault, a professor of English at East Georgia College, was escorted from campus by police and suspended from teaching two days after he criticized the school's sexual harassment policy for lack of protection for the falsely accused. It appears that after voicing his concerns about the policy, he himself was falsely accused of sexual harassment. FIRE took on the case and now reports that East Georgia College has reinstated Thibeault after finding no evidence of sexual harassment. FIRE says that the case is "far from over," as EGC president John B. Black has engaged in new abuses of freedom. Greg Lukianoff said in a press release:

President Black has added to his blatant abuses of power by reprimanding Professor Thibeault for his speech, but never bothering to mention precisely what his offense was. Black has already retaliated against Thibeault by informing him that his contract would not be renewed after the spring semester. The bullying tactics at this college are breathtaking.

FIRE has enabled readers to take action and write to President Black and the Board of Regents by completing this form. NAS will be watching this case. SEE ALSO: NAS's statement on Sexual Harassment and Academic Freedom

Now It Can Be Told! Revelations from the Secret Annals of Sexual Harassment

Glenn Ricketts

A glimpse back to the Golden Age of sexual harassment hysteria.

Spinning Our Training Wheels

Peter Wood

Where did "sexual harassment training" come from?

Sexual Harassment Training and Collective Guilt

Glenn Ricketts

New AAUP General Secretary urges faculty to confront the "bad behavior of peers."

Harassed by Harassment Codes?

Glenn Ricketts

Sexual harassment codes - codes that often infringe on faculty rights and that poison collegiality on campus - are making a comeback.