Last week, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Biden Education Department began its “comprehensive review” of Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funds but is now used mostly to address sexual misconduct on campus.
This is widely seen as the first step to roll back due process gains made under President Trump, embodied in a new regulation, which took effect last August. That rule requires supportive measures for those claiming sexual misconduct but also mandates basic due process protections for those accused, such as the presumption of innocence and the right to see all evidence.
To the disgust of many, this basic fairness was often lacking on America’s college campuses before the rule because of pressure on schools to “get tough on sexual assault” — said to be an epidemic — which too often meant railroading accused male students or staff.
Horror stories now abound of Title IX respondents not even knowing what they were accused of, being escorted off school grounds based on a mere allegation, or having their photo appear across campus “like a mug shot” as if they were criminal fugitives, and all before the accused could even answer charges. “I was immediately deemed guilty. Done,” remembers Joseph Roberts, a Title IX victim at Savannah State University and former Navy man, now a law student.
The claims of an epidemic were always false, as they were derived from altered definitions of rape and are further belied by the higher number of female students at college when compared to their male counterparts, a trend that started as early as the 1970s and which would hardly happen if campuses were such an anti-woman crime zone.
The manufacturing of this contrived crisis started in the Obama years, led by none other than then-Vice President Joe Biden and Catherine Lhamon, a feminist ideologue lawyer who was then the OCR’s assistant secretary (a.k.a. “Title IX czar”). Luckily for Biden, he stands credibly accused of sexual misconduct, but not under Title IX.
Lhamon became the chief enforcer of the now-infamous “Dear Colleague Letter” of 2011, which simply announced that sexual violence was a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX, an act of administrative overreach so extreme that even many Democrats now denounce it. The Lhamon reign of terror told schools to find sex offenders on campus or risk being denied federal funds — often a death knell for most institutions. As one government attorney now admits, the result was, “The college was going to find against … the male, no matter what.”
Last month, Lhamon was nominated again to serve in this very same position, now for the Biden administration. The message is lost on no one. Many within the Biden camp see Obama’s time in office as “the good old days” and not as the due process nightmare it was for so many families.
But those victimized by Title IX feminists like Lhamon are no longer sitting ducks. Since 2011, more than 600 lawsuits have been filed by those wrongly accused, with courts finding against schools for due process violations in more than half these cases. Those opinions are now controlling law in several federal circuits. Biden’s OCR cannot ignore this appellate authority lest they become truly and overtly lawless.
Numerous advocacy groups have also been founded: Among the most prominent are FACE (Families Advocating for Campus Equality), SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments), and SOS (Save Our Sons). Interestingly enough, they’re often led not by man-hating feminists, but by strong women and mothers outraged their sons are being branded sex predators by campus kangaroo courts.
Still, Title IX in practice remains a huge problem. Last year’s report by the National Association of Scholars found that Title IX staff are overwhelmingly female, disproportionately from ideological disciplines such as women’s and gender studies, and only 1 of 56 college Title IX officials surveyed had any real legal experience with due process in a real court of law.
As long as Title IX is run by ideologues like these, epitomized by the likes of Lhamon, the campus Title IX office remains a threat to basic fairness and men. It’s the opposite of progress, and a sad, if not tragic, development for our young people, who need guidance from grown-ups on relationship building, not Title IX sex police turning every minor dating mishap into a quasi-criminal investigation. Still, it remains far better to know about Title IX dangers than to be ambushed by them.