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Twisting Title IX

"Twisting Title IX" provides a sobering account of college students and faculty who have run afoul of Title IX regulations, and paid a steep price.

If you hear talk of “Title IX” on a college campus, it’s almost certainly a reference to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs. One of our nation’s most famous — and sometimes most controversial — civil rights laws, Title IX was for many years best known for its impact on college women’s athletics. But the law has other important effects on campuses as well. For example, when it was passed, it explicitly banned most forms of sex discrimination in college admissions.

Robert Shibley's book, Twisting Title IX, explains how Title IX, a 1972 law intended to ban sex discrimination in education, became a monster that both the federal government and many college administrators treat as though it supersedes the U.S. Constitution and hundreds of years of common law. Shibley tells the stories of the victims of this law — men and women both — and of the unaccountable government bureaucrats at the Departments of Education and Justice who repeatedly prioritize an extreme brand of politics over free speech, fundamental fairness, and basic human decency.

Robert profiles professor Laura Kipnis, who was subject to a surreal “Title IX Inquisition” at Northwestern University after publishing an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about, ironically, Title IX regulations run amok.

There’s also the female University of Oregon student who yelled a four-word joke—“‘I hit it first!’ (The phrase is a euphemism for ‘I had sex with him/her first’ or ‘I hooked up with him/her first,’[…])”—at a couple outside her window and was brought up on five conduct charges, including “two violations of her university housing contract, disruption of the university, disorderly conduct, and, of course, harassment.”

Perhaps even more shocking is the case of a Stanford University student found guilty of sexual assault in campus court after the university changed the standard of proof in the middle of his case at the federal government’s behest.

Twisting Title IX explains why these egregious violations of student and faculty members’ rights happen. Two words: federal funding.

But while help may come too late for many of the present victims of Title IX abuse, there are still measures that colleges and courts can take to curb these abuses until Congress acts — or we see a Presidential administration that cares more about restoring justice and the rule of law than it does about sex and gender politics.