The Department of Justice, not Education, Justice, is taking more control over universities as our Big Government Socialists march on.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) wants all “unwelcome” speech on sexual issues to be banned from universities. The Department of Education attempted this in 2013 and now it’s back under law enforcement and Title IX.
CEI reports that on April 22, the Justice Department ordered the University of New Mexico adopt an unconstitutional speech code. It is demanding that the University label as “sexual harassment” all “unwelcome” sexual conduct, including “verbal” conduct (that is, speech). The university must encourage students to report it as such; and investigate it when it is reported.
If a student is offended by being asked out on a date or if a joke or a lecture ‘offends’ one of the pampered creampuffs on campus, the offending student or teacher MUST be disciplined. Broader definitions of sexual harassment have already been struck down.
Universities now have to push students to report unwelcome comments, investigate them and then enact justice as if they were a court of law.
We already see that in the case of men being accused of rape. Without much evidence, they are expelled and their careers ruined. We also see it with DoJ head Loretta Lynch’s commitment to prosecute ‘hate’ speech against Muslims. She gets to define what that is and what justice must be meted out.
We also see it in the discipline of minorities in universities and K-12 schools. The DoJ has made it clear they don’t want them discipline the same way everyone else is. They are ‘protect’ from ordinary discipline.
Our US laws are starting to look dangerously like foreign laws such as sharia in which offensive speech can bring down all manner of punishment on those who would insult Islam. How is this different?
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have pushed for these types of constraints on free speech for a decade or more.
Only yesterday, Hillary Clinton told Jake Tapper that she wanted to overturn Citizens United so the government could ban certain speech. The Supreme Court decision on Citizens United was brought about because of a movie against her and she would like to see movies, comments, blogs and other venues banned from criticizing her and other politicians on her side.
If the university has a single incident, or if someone is deemed to have creates a “hostile environment”, the university will feel obligated to investigate.
This should alarm people. Think about how chilling this will be on free speech and freedom of movement.
Title IX already offers enough protections and appropriate punishments.
If a criticism of feminism or a joke can trigger extreme discipline, can we say we have a First Amendment? These “harassers” could be victims of “anti-retaliation” gag orders for making a controversial statement while accusers are fully protected against retaliation.
What rights do we have if we let the government do this? How do people defend themselves under gag orders or freely exercise free speech thereafter?
A law professor at Widener University was suspended for a year after criticizing a preposterous racial harassment complaint against him by students. At Northwestern University, Professor Laura Kipnis was subjected to a Title IX sexual investigation over an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe” (which hypersensitive students claimed offended them and constituted sexual harassment). When she criticized this as a threat to academic freedom, on Twitter, she was accused of “retaliation” by the students, even though she did not identify them by name). Only after an outcry was Kipnis found not guilty.
CEI reported that the Justice Department’s demand for this sweepingly broad “harassment” definition is found in a letter to the president of the University of New Mexico chiding it for its sometimes inept handling of sexual harassment and assault claims by students.
They declared them to be still in violation after making changes.
“The Justice Department concluded that even with some changes to policies, the University has significant problems . . . Its policies, for example, suggested “that unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature does not constitute sexual harassment unless it causes a hostile environment or unless it is quid pro quo,’ Simons and Martinez wrote.” (See Matt Zapotosky, University of New Mexico Blasted by Officials Over Sexual Assault Policies, Washington Post, April 23, 2016, at A3.)
This is a blueprint for all universities. This is how the enormously Big Government takes over. Other universities won’t want this type of scrutiny or problems with the top law enforcement agency in the country and will just adopt these suffocating rules over free speech and free and open discourse. It will teach the students while they are young how to be good little socialists without any respect whatsoever for the First Amendment.
In its letter to the University of New Mexico, the DoJ wrote:
“Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, however, constitutes sexual harassment regardless of whether it causes a hostile environment or is quid pro quo. Indeed, federal guidance defines sexual harassment as ‘unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as sexual assault or acts of sexual violence.’
Hostile environment is not part of the definition of sexual harassment, nor is it required for “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature” to be deemed sexual harassment. Instead, hostile environment is the threshold for determining the school’s obligation under Title IX: when a school knew or should have known about sexual harassment that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive as to create a hostile environment, the school has an obligation to end the harassment, prevent its reoccurrence, and remedy its harm.”
Similarly, on pg. 21 of the letter, the Justice Department writes,
“Once a school knows about an alleged incident of unwanted sexual conduct, Title IX requires it to initiate an investigation to determine whether the harassment was sufficiently serious as to cause limitations or denial of educational benefits.”
“Unwelcome” speech is now prohibited in universities where the youth are learning, youth who will forge the new socialist America they envision.