Monday, September 25, 2017

Laura Kipnis's second "Title IX Inquisition"

In May 2015, Laura Kipnis was famously the subject of a Title IX investigation by Northwestern University for an essay she wrote suggesting there are too many Title IX investigations.

Today, Jeannie Suk Gersen reports for The New Yorker that Kipnis was the subject of yet another Northwestern Title IX investigation earlier this year — this time for writing “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus,” a book about being investigated for saying there are too many Title IX investigations.

The month-long investigation was sparked by complaints about “Unwanted Advances” from four Northwestern faculty members and six graduate students. As with her first investigation, Kipnis was ultimately found not responsible for violating university policy.

However, reviewing Gersen’s report, it’s easy to see how the investigations themselves function as punishment, to say nothing of the threat they pose to academic freedom: in the most recent investigation, Kipnis was asked to respond to at least 80 written questions about her book and to provide her source material. She was also urged to keep the investigation confidential.

News of Kipnis’ second investigation comes just weeks after Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ announcement that the department will launch a public “notice-and-comment” process to reform the government’s approach to enforcing Title IX, the 1972 federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs.

That approach has been criticized extensively by civil liberties groups (including FIRE) in recent years for imperiling due process rights and “twisting” the definition of sex discrimination to essentially bar any expression or commentary on sexual themes that someone might find subjectively offensive.

The amount of protected expression that is now being cast as unlawful under Title IX is staggering: law school test questions about Brazilian waxes, an anti-Donald Trump art exhibit, teaching art theory in art school, teaching rape law in law school — or even writing an essay or book critical of Title IX itself.



Anonymous said...

Liberal nonsense carried to the extreme.

Bird of Paradise said...