In the last decade, the federal government has increasingly used Title IX—the 1972 law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs—to force colleges and universities to comply with new, sometimes controversial, regulations. But many of these regulations, promulgated by the Departments of Education and Justice in questionable compliance with federal regulatory law, have been not just fundamentally unfair, but unlawful.
In his new book, Twisting Title IX—out September 27 through Encounter Books and available for pre-order today—FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley gives readers a quick but comprehensive overview of how Title IX “became a monster that both the federal government and many college administrators treat as though it supersedes both the U.S. Constitution and hundreds of years of common law.” Robert provides a sobering, sometimes jaw-dropping, account of students and faculty members who’ve run afoul of these new, unlawful regulations, and paid a steep price.
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.
Violations of Title IX can result in the loss of federal funding, and since most colleges and universities are beholden to federal funding through Pell grants and Stafford loans, they are wary of challenging unconstitutional mandates, even if they stand a great chance of winning.
Robert explains just how disproportionately powerful this single federal regulation has become:
Title IX and its interpretations have become the main cudgel with which federal bureaucrats beat colleges and universities into submission to their policy objectives. Compared to that threat, the once-substantial influence that the First Amendment and other constitutional principles had on private university policies has been vastly reduced.
On the positive side, Robert also explains what we at FIRE have done to “hit the alarm bell” and bring this serious issue to the attention of the media and Congress—and how we, as a society, can stand up to governmental overreach on our college campuses.
To schedule an interview with Robert or request a review copy of the book, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.