Title IX

Betsy DeVos is not backing down on proposal to rein in ‘kangaroo courts’

‘If everything is harassment, then nothing is’


A year after the Department of Education proposed changes to regulations on campus sexual misconduct investigations – and nine months after the public comment period closed – the final regulations have yet to be released.

Opponents of due process in Title IX proceedings are still trying to weaken the proposal, scheduling meetings with the Office of Management and Budget until the week before Christmas.

If anyone was concerned that Secretary Betsy DeVos* was buckling under the pressure from the “Believe Survivors” lobby and its allies across the mainstream media, she dispelled those concerns in a speech to the Independent Women’s Forum, which gave her its “Woman of Valor” award Wednesday.

Brooklyn College Prof. KC Johnson, who chronicles Title IX litigation, pointed out that DeVos’s remarks “don’t suggest an intent to weaken” the proposed changes despite the long-delayed release of the final rules.

DeVos connected her department’s work to rein in “kangaroo courts” with her guiding principle that “government is generally not the solution to any problem,” especially in education:

So, we are working to dismantle the government social engineering in education, including the previous administration’s staggering overreach on Title IX. …

Justice demands humility, prudence, and truth. And the truth is: the so-called “guidance” by the prior administration [the “Dear Colleague” letters] failed too many students.

Here is what we know happens: a student says he or she was sexually assaulted on campus. If he or she isn’t urged to keep quiet or discouraged from reporting it to local law enforcement, the case goes to a school administrator. The accused may or may not be told of the allegations. If there is a hearing, both the accuser and the accused may or may not be allowed legal representation.

Whatever evidence is presented may or may not be shown to all parties. Whatever witnesses—if even allowed to be called—may or may not be cross-examined. And government dictated that schools must use the lowest standard of proof.

And now this campus official—who may or may not have any training in adjudicating sexual misconduct—is expected to render a judgement. A judgement that changes lives.

The department’s proposed regulation will “simply balance” the scales of justice, not tilt them, as opponents characterize it, she continued. It requires “basic due process protections” while offering schools “a menu of things schools … to help survivors heal from trauma and continue their education.”

DeVos connected Title IX overreach to the speech police on campus, which seek to “enforce ambiguous and incredibly broad definitions of assault and harassment”:

Too many cases involve students and faculty who faced investigation and punishment for only speaking their minds or teaching their classes.

Any perceived offense can become a full-blown Title IX investigation.

But if everything is harassment, then nothing is.

Punishing speech protected by the First Amendment trivializes actual harassment. Harassment codes which trample freedom of speech derail the primary mission of a school—of learning… [sic] that is, to pursue truth.

DeVos noted the University of Michigan has permanently shuttered its bias response team to settle a First Amendment lawsuit, but she expressed incredulity that the taxpayer-funded university “still employs 76 diversity-related administrators who cost taxpayers and students more than 10 million dollars in compensation every year. They focus on every kind of diversity except a diversity of ideas.”

The Trump administration stands against the “teams of speech bullies with the power to punish perpetrators of hurt feelings” at more than 200 colleges across the country, she said.

“Feelings are important, but learning isn’t about feelings. It’s about thinking. … This Administration won’t let students be silenced. We stand with their right to speak and with their right to learn truth.”

Read her full remarks.


Title IX Equity Project

Public university quietly removes ‘women only’ from workout event following Title IX warning

‘After-the-fact, superficial adjustments pretending to suddenly be all inclusive’


Mark Perry’s side hustle of bugging universities that don’t employ him has borne fruit again.

The University of Michigan-Flint economist likes to send warning letters to Title IX and equity officials when he sees their schools offering events or programs that exclude participants based on gender. Sometimes he files federal complaints.

His most recent target, California State University-Long Beach, retroactively revised an ongoing event sponsored by its Student Recreation and Wellness Center that was advertised as “women only.”

Both Perry and The College Fix learned about the Oct. 16 “Women’s Night on the Strength Floor” from a self-identified student at CSULB last week. It was organized by the student government, the unnamed student wrote in an email:

I was unaware of this event and when I went to workout [sic] at the gym in the main area, I was denied access because I was a male. I was told that this is a time for only woman [sic] to work out and that it ends at 6PM.

He didn’t want to speak out publicly against the event, fearing “I will be targeted on campus.”

MOREStanford adds male-focused gym hours after women-only complaint

Perry took the ball from there. The same day he notified Larisa Hamada, assistant vice president of equity and diversity, that the center was advertising a women-only event. The original listing said “this program will continue at the same time for the rest of the semester. The floor will be closed for women only.”

In an email to Hamada copied to The Fix, Perry said the gender restriction in a university space was banned by Title IX:

I am aware of a specific male individual at your university, who wants to remain anonymous, who was preventing from using this public space during the most recent “Women’s Night on the Strength Floor,” which is a clear act of sex discrimination that violates Title IX.

He noted Stanford University offered “women-only” workout hours last year until Fix coverage prompted it to add men-only hours. That was the correct response to its “obvious and flagrant violation of Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination,” Perry told Hamada.

CSULB has only one option if it wants to legally continue offering a “Women’s Night,” and that is offering a “Men’s Night” for the same amount of time on the floor, he wrote. Perry warned that he would file a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights if he did not hear back.

Perry told The Fix and the unidentified CSULB student Wednesday night that CSULB was playing the “Cover Your Ass” game, deleting an Oct. 15 tweet advertising the event. Unfortunately for the university, it was archived. Perry also took a screenshot of the original Facebook post (both below).

MORESchools offering women-only scholarships may violate Title IX

MORE: Scholarship and award opened to men after Title IX complaint

The Facebook post for the Oct. 16 event has been revised with no notice. It now advertises a “Womxn & Ally Night” that is “open to all genders” – but was not four weeks ago when it happened.

The banner on the rec center homepage for ongoing events also reflects the new purportedly inclusive wording (first image below).

A cached version of the page from early Wednesday morning (second image below) shows that this particular image from the slider did not exist, suggesting the university did not advertise the ongoing event for an indeterminate period following Perry’s complaint. Every other image in the current slider is available in the cached version.

MOREStanford bans men from workout space to protect women

But Perry said even these after-the-fact revisions still appear to violate Title IX:

Notice how the strength floor is NOT really open to all genders now, it’s only open to those who participate in the all-women (most likely) program. So it’s still not really open to men, because it will be unwelcoming and hostile to men, and I think CSULB knows this and they’ll be able to continue with “business as usual” (women only program) while pretending to comply with Title IX.

Regardless, CSULB’s quiet revisions show “how universities openly and brazenly engage in gender discrimination assuming nobody will call them on it,” he continued. “They just blatantly violate Title IX until they get caught and then make some after-the-fact, superficial adjustments pretending to suddenly be all inclusive of all genders so they don’t jeopardize their federal funding.”

The Fix has asked CSULB to explain what prompted it to change both ongoing and past promos for the event, and to respond to Perry’s criticism that the revised events still promote an “unwelcoming and hostile” environment for men.

MOREMost colleges ‘facially violate’ Title IX with women-only scholarships

Campus Due Process False Allegations Violence Against Women Act

Violence Against Women Act: Eating Its Own Tail?

On April 4 the House of Representatives passed its version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization – H.R. 1585 – and forwarded the bill to the Senate for consideration. Seven months later, no Senate bill has been introduced, much less voted upon.

It’s not for a lack of trying. So what’s going on here?

Three top-tier issues are consuming much of negotiators’ time and energy:

  1. Definitions of Domestic Violence — The House bill dramatically expands the definition of domestic violence to include emotional abuse, verbal abuse, technological abuse, and financial abuse. Just imagine what would happen if every time a woman gives her husband the “silent treatment,” he calls the police?
  2. Over-Criminalization – Following passage of the First Step Act in December 2018, many, but not all Senators believe we need to rein in mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies. And instead, pay more attention to the proven causes of partner abuse: mental health problems, alcohol abuse, and marital conflict.
  3. LGBT Issues – Following passage of the Equality Act in the House of Representatives – H.R. 5 – Senate Democrats are being pressured to include similar provisions in VAWA. But Republicans are unlikely to agree to this.

As if these top-tier concerns didn’t constitute enough of a Gordian Knot, the Senate is also wrestling with a host of second-tier issues:

  1. Lack of evidence of the effectiveness of VAWA programs in reducing abuse rates
  2. Due process for the accused
  3. Harmful effects on families
  4. Immigration fraud
  5. Problem of campus “Kangaroo Courts” (VAWA Title III)
  6. Neglect of male victims – According to the CDC, men are more likely to be victims in the previous 12 months than women
  7. False allegations
  8. Waste, fraud, and abuse
  9. Onerous budgetary demands on federal and state governments
  10. Ideological biases – The dubious notion that domestic violence is “all about power and control”

At this point, the most likely scenario is a straight-line reauthorization of VAWA through the 2020 elections.

That will give lawmakers an opportunity to re-think the issues and fashion a “Fresh Start” bill that eschews “power and control” ideology, respects the Constitution, and addresses the proven causes of domestic violence.

Campus Press Release

PR: 25 Worst Colleges for Campus Due Process

Contact: Rebecca Stewart

Telephone: 513-479-3335


25 Worst Colleges for Campus Due Process

WASHINGTON / November 7, 2019 – Today SAVE, a leading campus due process organization, is releasing a list of the 25 worst colleges and university for campus fairness and due process. The colleges were selected based on a detailed review of dozens of lawsuits by students accused of sexual assault, and subsequently expelled or suspended by their university, in which the judge later issued a ruling at least partly favorable to the student (1).

The lawsuits feature a jarring range of due process violations such as a 7-hour hearing; judge-jury-executioner style investigations; exclusion of exculpatory evidence; public defamations; a made-up confession; failure to consider previous false allegations by the accuser; reliance on a flawed ‘affirmative consent’ standard; a fabricated tape recording; a victim treated as a perpetrator; and a case in which the supposed “victim” repeatedly insisted she was not a victim.

The lawsuits call to mind the guilt-presuming methods featured in Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial,  the corrupt show trials exposed in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, and recent satires in which campus disciplinary committees are derided as “Kangaroo Courts.”

Following are the 25 colleges identified with deficient campus procedures:

  • California: University of California-Santa Barbara and University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Colorado: Colorado State University, Pueblo
  • Connecticut: Quinnipiac University, Hamden and Yale University, New Haven
  • District of Columbia: George Washington University, Washington, DC
  • Florida: University of Miami
  • Georgia: Georgia Tech University, Atlanta
  • Indiana: Purdue University, West Lafayette
  • Massachusetts: Brandeis University, Waltham; Amherst College; and Boston College, Newton
  • Michigan: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Mississippi: University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg
  • New York: Columbia University, New York
  • Ohio: University of Cincinnati
  • Oregon: University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University, Centre County
  • Rhode Island: Brown University, Providence
  • South Dakota: Augustana University, Sioux Falls
  • Tennessee: Rhodes College, Memphis; University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Texas: University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas
  • Virginia: James Madison University, Harrisonburg
  • Vermont: Middlebury College

Descriptions of each of the lawsuits, including links to the judicial opinions, are available online (2).  SAVE urges students considering attendance at these colleges to identify other institutions with a record of respect for constitutionally rooted due process measures.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is expected to issue new Title IX regulations that will strengthen due process protections on college campuses (3).



Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault:

Campus Investigations Title IX

PR: To Minimize Liability Threat, SAVE Urges Immediate Discontinuation of Trauma-Informed Investigations

Contact: Rebecca Stewart

Telephone: 513-479-3335


To Minimize Liability Threat, SAVE Urges Immediate Discontinuation of Trauma-Informed Investigations

WASHINGTON / November 4, 2019 – A scientific article published last week has strongly criticized the use of “trauma-informed’ investigations on college campuses. Trauma-informed methods attribute inconsistencies and contradictions in a complainant’s statements to the trauma she allegedly experienced (1). Titled “Title IX Investigations: The Importance of Training Investigators in Evidence-Based Approaches to Interviewing” (2), the article provides a detailed analysis of the research basis for the use of trauma-informed methods by Title IX investigators.

Written by Iowa State University professors Christian Meissner and Adrienne Lyles, the article concludes:

— “We know of no scientific studies that support this contention of neurobiological response differences between perpetrators and victims.”

— “A search of the available research literature yielded no published, peer-reviewed studies on the efficacy or effectiveness of FETI.” Forensic Experiential Trauma Interviews, known as “FETI,” are a trauma-informed method widely used on college campuses.

The Meissner and Lyles analysis was the third article published in recent months that analyzed and refuted trauma-informed precepts. In September, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity issued a report on trauma-informed concepts that concluded, “The impacts of trauma on memories and recall are widely variable. The stress accompanying and resulting from trauma may produce strong memories, impair memories, have no effect on memories, or increase the possibility of false memories.” (3)

A third article specifically warned of the liability risk of Title IX administrators attending such guilt-presuming training courses: “You will need to assess whether you can afford to have a non-empirical, biased training on your resume in this age of litigation,” according to the Association of Title IX Administrators (4).

The use of trauma-informed and other unproven investigative methods places universities at liability risk. A 2017 analysis of 130 lawsuits against universities found investigative failures were the most commonly listed allegation (5). A 2019 analysis of lawsuits in which the judge ruled against the university identified dozens of cases in which biased investigations were listed as significant allegations of fact (6).

Investigative journalist Emily Yoffee has written about trauma-informed philosophy, “The spread of an inaccurate science of trauma is an object lesson in how good intentions can overtake critical thinking, to potentially harmful effect….University professors and administrators should understand this. And they, of all people, should identify and call out junk science.” (7)


  2. Christian A. Meissner, Adrienne M. Lyles. Title IX Investigations: The Importance of Training Investigators in Evidence-Based Approaches to Interviewing. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2019.

7. The Bad Science Behind Campus Response to Sexual Assault.