Title IX

Education Dept. Finds ‘Shocking’ Failures in Sexual-Abuse Investigation at USC

The campus of the U. of Southern California

As part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, the University of Southern California says it will overhaul its Title IX reporting procedures, following the federal government’s investigation into how the institution handled sexual-abuse allegations against a former gynecologist.

The department found that the university had, since at least 2000, “systemically failed” in its response to sexual-harassment complaints against George Tyndall, a former gynecologist at USC’s student-health center, according to a February 27 letter from the department’s Office for Civil Rights to the university.

“This case has risen to the level of the most shocking cases that we have seen,” said Kenneth L. Marcus, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, during a call with reporters on Thursday.

Department officials described their investigation into the university as among the most extensive in the agency’s history. The department entered into a resolution agreement with USC that forces it to take a number of steps, including systematic changes in its Title IX procedures — providing additional training, tracking and monitoring complaints, and granting independent authority to the university’s Title IX office.

The agreement also requires USC to review whether current and former employees took appropriate action after learning about the sexual-misconduct complaints against Tyndall, and to offer remedies to Tyndall’s victims, such as academic accommodations and counseling. Marcus said the university should consider taking action against several university supervisors, including possible suspension or termination.

“We want to make sure not only that Dr. Tyndall is addressed appropriately, but also all of the other individuals who failed to act, and that the university is taking steps to make sure that no other student will have to suffer in the way that these victims suffered,” Marcus added.

USC is trying “to reinforce a culture of care, responsibility, and accountability across all university programs and activities.”

The civil-rights office, known as OCR, noted that during its inquiry the university’s personnel records were kept in several different places and not centralized, which impeded its ability to recognize patterns of misconduct.

Marcus added that USC officials had withheld documents from investigators during a previous Title IX investigation of the university, although it is not clear whether that was intentional. The assistant secretary added that he was “disappointed” by the level of cooperation that the department had received.

The department began its investigation following a 2018 Los Angeles Times report about the gynecologist, who was accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students before he resigned, in 2016. Fallout from the scandal prompted USC’s then president, C.L. Max Nikias, to step down.

In October a judge signed off on a $215-million settlement between the university and former patients of Tyndall, who has pleaded not guilty to committing more than two dozen felonies related to sexual abuse at the campus clinic, according to the Times.

In a written statement, President Carol L. Folt of USC agreed with OCR’s findings and said that the university is taking steps to carry out changes. She added that the university is trying “to reinforce a culture of care, responsibility, and accountability across all university programs and activities.”

The university also acknowledged that it needed to improve internal communication, enhance record-keeping to better track complaints, and “deepen the collaboration” between its health care system and its Title IX program.

Danielle McLean writes about federal education policy, among other subjects. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleBMcLean, or email her at

Title IX

DeVos Moves to Strengthen K-12 Title IX Enforcement

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 20: Anchor Maria Bartiromo interviews Education Secretary Betsy Devos during "Mornings With Maria" at Fox Business Network Studios on February 20, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Education Secretary Betsy Devos during an interview on “Mornings With Maria” at Fox Business Network Studios, Feb. 20, 2020, in New York City. (JOHN LAMPARSKI/GETTY IMAGES)

OFFICIALS FROM THE Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights are launching a Title IX compliance review in schools across the country – a response to an alarming increase in reports of sexual assault in elementary, middle and high schools and what Secretary Betsy DeVos is calling “the tragic rise of sexual misconduct complaints in our nation’s K-12 campuses.”

“We hear all too often about innocent children being sexually assaulted by an adult at school,” DeVos said in a statement. “That should never happen. No parent should have to think twice about their child’s safety while on school grounds.”

Authorities reported approximately 9,700 incidents of sexual assault, rape or attempted rape in public elementary and secondary schools during the 2015-2016 school year, according to the most recent available data from the Education Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection.

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“The number of K-12 sexual harassment and violence complaints filed with OCR is nearly fifteen times greater than it was a decade ago,” Kenneth Marcus, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, said in a statement. “This disturbing change is a matter of serious concern and requires immediate attention.”

Going forward, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights will conduct compliance reviews in schools and districts to examine how sexual assault cases are handled – including sexual incidents involving teachers and school staff – and work with school districts to identify and correct compliance concerns.

The office will also focus on increasing awareness of the issue of sexual assault in K-12 schools as well as conduct reviews on the quality of data submitted by school districts into the department’s Civil Rights Data Collection. In addition, it’s proposing to collect more detailed data on sexual assault to include things like whether incidents were perpetrated by school staff or school personnel.

“Through compliance reviews and raising public awareness about what’s actually happening in too many of our nation’s schools, we can build on the good work we’re already doing to enforce Title IX and protect students,” DeVos said. “We cannot rest until every student can learn in a safe, nurturing environment where their civil rights are protected.”

The announcement comes in the wake of a sweeping investigation by the Office for Civil Rights that uncovered 2,800 student-on-student sexual harassment complaints and 280 adult-on-student complaints at more than 400 schools in Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district.

The decision also follows a recent announcement by the Education Department that it’s conducting a study on the most effective ways states and school districts are combating what’s known as “pass the trash” – a process in which school districts, schools and school employees help an individual who has engaged in or been accused of sexual misconduct with a student or minor find a new job in a different state or school district. The practice is prohibited under the federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, but is known to occur anyway.

“Outlawing the despicable act of ‘passing the trash’ was a major step toward keeping our children safe from predators while they’re at school,” Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican who has been vocal on the issue, said in a statement. “But it will only work if each state and school district is in compliance with the law.”


OCR Is About to Rock Our Worlds

ATIXA, the association of Title IX administrators I serve as president, anticipates publication of the final Title IX regulations in the Federal Register within the coming weeks. The federal government last issued Title IX regulations in 1975, so this is somewhat unprecedented. The proposed changes are far more sweeping than the 2011 Dear Colleague letter promulgated by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The changes coincide with a due process revolution occurring in some federal courts, as well, with respect to college and university disciplinary processes.

What Will These Changes Mean for Higher Education?

Perhaps 75 to 80 percent of the proposed regulations mandate neutral or beneficial changes or clarifications. Many of the more controversial changes will probably be addressed by a future Congress or through litigation. Some of the proposed changes included in the draft that OCR shared publicly last November may not make it into the final rule.

Most of the changes revolve around due process, which protects all of us, regardless of our campus role or status. They include provisions requiring more substantive written notice to the respondent of the nature of sexual misconduct allegations, the right of the parties to review investigation materials prior to a final determination and the right to a written rationale for the outcome and any sanctions assigned. For the most part, these are rights you would want to protect you if you were accused — rightfully or wrongfully — of sexual misconduct.

What Do We Do Now?

We at ATIXA suggest that colleges and universities continue to honor “best practices” commonly adopted by the higher education field, while moving gradually toward implementing the changes that the regulations will require. Some changes, like equitable interim resources and supports for responding parties, can be implemented now without radical alteration of programs. In its 2011 guidance, OCR was explicit about the need for institutions to provide broad-based supports and resources to victims of sex discrimination, such as counseling services, academic accommodation and housing changes. Now, OCR is making clear its expectation that those supports and resources also be offered to respondents. Many colleges already do so, but OCR wants to ensure uniform provision of services by all funding recipients.

Similarly, colleges can act now to extend all VAWA Section 304 rights to parties in sexual harassment cases. In 2014, Congress enacted amendments to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which now are incorporated into the federal Clery Act. These changes codified as law some provisions of Title IX that were previously only proffered as regulatory agency guidance and added many provisions requiring training and prevention by colleges. Oddly, the protections of VAWA Section 304 only extended to what have become known as the “big four” offenses of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. That created an asymmetry because Title IX protections include not only these four offenses but also conduct like sexual harassment and disparate-treatment sex discrimination that VAWA does not. Institutions were left with two competing laws that did not fully parallel each other. OCR’s proposed regulation logically aligns VAWA and Title IX so that rights do not vary by the type of sex offense alleged.

Thus, institutions can take steps such as providing written notice of the outcome of an allegation to all parties, not just in the big four offenses, but for sexual harassment, too. Additionally, institutions can ensure equitable provision of advisers across all cases impacted by Title IX, not just for those involving the big four.

These kinds of changes will give administrators a head start on compliance before the regulations are even released. Once released, there will be an implementation grace period of perhaps 90 days to as much as 12 months from publication of the final rule to allow colleges and universities time to move toward compliance. So we’re still some months from an enforcement deadline, even if we are unsure what that deadline will be.

What Do We Do When the Regulations Are Published?

Higher education needs to move toward compliance or to decide to litigate the validity of the regulations against the U.S. Department of Education — or both. OCR is obligated to address, in aggregate, the nearly 130,000 comments it received during the public notice-and-comment period. The pressure is on for OCR to make it clear in its responses that its rules are rationally related to the statute, especially with a U.S. Supreme Court that appears increasingly hostile philosophically to agency rules.

Once OCR publishes the final rule, it will expect good-faith efforts to comply. With respect to litigation, it’s unlikely that a federal judge will enjoin the regulations fully, and if there is a partial injunction, colleges and universities will still need to comply with those elements of the regulations that are not enjoined. Unless and until a judge says that they don’t have to comply, colleges and universities will need to become compliant.

It took the higher education field three to four years to fully implement the 2011 guidance, but that kind of lethargy won’t be an option with these new regulations. They will have the force of law behind them rather than simply serving as guidance. Drag your feet on implementation and responding parties will sue the minute you are not according them the full panoply of rights OCR has promised them. Fail to provide the responding party with a copy of the investigation report or sufficient time to prepare for a hearing and you should expect a motion for a temporary restraining order from their lawyer.

The catch-22 is that when you move to compliance, activists will sue to argue that the regulations are ultra vires and anti-victim expansions of agency authority. They will surely challenge provisions that require disclosure to responding parties all evidence provided by reporting parties, even when that evidence is not admissible or used to support a decision. This rule will create a chilling effect on reporting parties and, it will be argued, is beyond the scope of OCR’s authority to enact under the statute. Similar arguments could be made to collaterally attack OCR’s proposed requirements for live hearings and cross-examination facilitated by the parties’ advisers. In fact, activists aren’t the only cohort likely to attack such provisions, as some private colleges are also planning to litigate any attempt to impose a live hearing requirement on them, and have already funded a significant war chest to do so.

Within this highly politicized crucible where any action or inaction will catalyze litigation, institutions need to form committees, task forces and Title IX teams now, so that administrators can study the regulations and commentary when they are published and change what needs to be changed. Faculty grievance processes will be an issue that administrators will have to face and resolve now, if they didn’t back in 2011. OCR is forcing the issue, and Title IX offices are probably going to be between a rock and a hard place — with faculty members who advocate for additional protections, such as clear and convincing evidence as a standard of proof for those accused of sexual assault, while others strongly advocate for preponderance of the evidence.

What Do We Do If We Don’t Agree With Some Provisions Within the Regulations?

About 20 to 25 percent of the regulations are potentially very detrimental to the cause of sex and gender equity in education, and we will need as a field to find ways to work within those requirements, challenge them in court or find clever work-arounds. Proposed provisions on notice, mediation, mandated reporting, live hearings and cross-examination could create significant chilling effects on the willingness of those who experience discrimination, harassment and sexual violence to report it to administrators and pursue formal resolution pathways.

Let’s drill down on each of these proposed provisions a bit. OCR seeks to limit the ways in which recipients are legally put on notice of sex discrimination. Institutions might see this as a welcome safe harbor, but why would colleges and universities want to make it harder to report and respond to incidents? The opening of access and “no wrong doors” approach to intake has been one of the most valuable and enduring legacies of the 2011 guidance, and it has resulted in substantial increases in reporting of incidents for most colleges.

OCR also now plans to remove the “soft ban” on mediation of sexual violence it implemented in 2011. The vast majority of sexual harassment claims can and should be resolved informally, but we need to be sure that the parties are participating voluntarily and not being pressured to minimize the severity of what has happened to them. And many in the field are rightfully concerned about whether colleges and universities have access to mediators skilled enough to resolve allegations of violence. Lower-level sexual harassment is very amenable to resolution via mediation, but the data on whether the same is true for violent incidents is much less conclusive.

Live hearings and cross-examination are the most controversial provisions of the proposed regulations. Of the nearly 130,000 comments submitted to OCR on the draft regulation, most were negative, with a particular targeting of OCR’s desire to turn educational resolution processes into mini-courtrooms that mirror criminal trials. Part of the reason many victims/survivors don’t choose to report campus sexual violence to law enforcement is because they prefer the less formal and less adversarial resolution processes in place at schools and colleges. It will take a strong person to be willing to go through a process where they will be subject to cross-examination by the other party’s lawyer. And, importantly, no research indicates that cross-examination creates more accurate results than other ways of allowing the parties in a sexual misconduct allegation a full and fair opportunity to review and contest all evidence prior to a final determination.

In light of all of this tumult, perhaps the healthiest mind-set is to view the regulations mostly as setting a floor for compliance and to institutionally commit to aim for the ceiling of best practices. Many organizations, including ATIXA, will continue to offer the field extensive guidance on how to evolve exemplary programs within the framework OCR is establishing, and outside it, where we can.

What is clear is that the pendulum is about to swing too far, again. The regulations have the potential to create significant public backlash, especially if colleges are seen as institutionally deprioritizing Title IX compliance in the coming months and years. Potential victims need to see you strengthening your program, not backing down. They are likely to perceive barriers to coming forward in the new rules, and administrators need to do everything possible to reassure potential victims that the Title IX office is still here for them, and that you’ll do everything not prohibited by the regulations to make reporting easier, offer services and resources, establish a process that is transparent and user-friendly, and avoid revictimization.

Regardless, some activists may turn some of their frustration with OCR on you, and we encourage you to be sympathetic, to encourage their voices and to be thoughtful about the ways that remedies-only and informal resolutions may be used to ameliorate or exacerbate the effects of the changes that OCR is catalyzing.

One thing is for sure — defining and maintaining sex and gender equity programmatic excellence in an environment of regulatory change, politicization of Title IX and fervent litigation will be among the most pressing challenges facing colleges and universities in 2020 and for some time to come.


Brett A. Sokolow is the president of ATIXA, the 3,500-member Association of Title IX Administrators.

Title IX

My statement on my contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion at UM-Flint

I recently received the following email from a faculty colleague at the University of Michigan-Flint’s School of Management:

Dear School of Management (SOM) Faculty and Staff,

I am the school’s representative on the Chancellor’s recently established Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. We are gathering data on what we do regarding diversity, equity and inclusion activities. Are there activities such as speakers, classroom activities, seminars, community engagement activities, etc. related to diversity, equity or inclusion that you are doing or participating in? Please email me a brief description of any activities you are doing or participating in related to DEI by February 28.

I responded to all SOM faculty and staff members in detail as follows:

I wanted to share with you some of my personal activities related to the issue of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that might be relevant to the Chancellor’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.

Background: The federal civil rights law known as Title IX was passed in 1972 to prohibit sex discrimination in higher education. Subsequently, women advanced so rapidly that they outnumbered men in higher education for college enrollment by 1979 and outnumbered men for earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees by 1982. For the last 40 years, men have been an underrepresented minority in higher education and the gender disparity favoring women has increased steadily over time. Since 1982, the growing “gender degree gap” has resulted in women earning nearly 14 million more college degrees than men (see chart above). Yet women in higher education today including at UM, in violation of Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination, continue to receive a hugely disproportionate share of campus resources, funding, fellowships, centers, commissions, awards, and scholarships.

Universities across the country, including the University of Michigan on all three campuses, have routinely and illegally offered single-sex, female-only programs that discriminate against non-female students, staff and faculty in violation of Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination. Until recently, universities including the University of Michigan have engaged in illegal sex discrimination with impunity because they have not been challenged and held accountable for violating Title IX. Starting in 2016, I have been on a mission to challenge universities across the country, including the University of Michigan, that violate Title IX, and I have filed more than 100 Title IX complaints with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. About a dozen of those complaints have been successfully resolved in my favor (including some at UM-Flint) and more than 40 other complaints have resulted in federal investigations of civil rights violations that are ongoing (including a federal investigation of UM), and another 40 complaints or so are currently being reviewed by the Office for Civil Rights. I expect that those cases currently under review will eventually result in federal investigations, and I expect further outcomes in my favor for the cases that are eventually resolved.

One example of a successful outcome from my civil rights advocacy is the following: In 2017, UM-Flint’s College of Arts and Sciences, along with the Provost’s Office and K-12 Partnerships, attempted to launch an illegal, discriminatory, single-sex, girl-only, no boys allowed program called “Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS)” for middle school girls only. In violation of Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination, the GEMS program illegally discriminated against middle school boys, it illegally excluded boys from participating based on their sex, and it illegally denied boys from the educational benefits of this program based on their sex. In addition to violating federal civil rights laws (Title IX), UM-Flint’s GEMS program also violated: a) Michigan civil rights laws, b) the Michigan Constitution as amended by Proposal 2 in 2006, and c) the University of Michigan’s own Nondiscrimination Policy. After I filed civil rights complaints with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the Title IX Office in Ann Arbor forced CAS and UM-Flint to convert the GEMS program from an illegal, discriminatory single-sex, girl-only program to a legal co-ed, gender-neutral program open to students of all gender identities. (I also successfully challenged three illegal single-sex, female-only faculty awards at UM-Flint and two illegal minority-only faculty awards, and those five faculty awards are now open to faculty of all genders and all races/colors.) I’m sure that if I hadn’t filed a civil rights complaint, the GEMS program would be operating today as an illegal, discriminatory, single-sex, girl-only, no boys allowed program.

The fact that the illegal, discriminatory UM-Flint GEMS program was initially approved by CAS faculty, CAS department chairs, the CAS Dean’s Office, the Provost’s Office and the Chancellor’s Office demonstrates a lack of awareness on our campus of federal civil rights laws and Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination. Any efforts to advance “diversity, equity and inclusion” on our campus should be aware of the history on our campus of non-compliance with federal civil rights laws. Even though we hear about our commitment to “diversity, equity and inclusion,” universities including UM frequently practice the exact opposite: “uniformity, inequity and exclusion” when it comes to illegal single-sex, female-only programs, scholarships, awards, initiatives, camps, clubs, events, etc. like the GEMS program that illegally exclude (or attempted to exclude) non-female students, faculty and/or staff.

Subsequently, based on a Title IX complaint I filed with the Office for Civil Rights, the Department of Education has opened a federal investigation of civil rights violations at the University of Michigan for more than 50 discriminatory programs on all three campuses that potentially violate Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination, and that investigation is ongoing. By exposing Title IX violations at more than 100 other universities (including UM), it is my mission to advance civil rights for all persons in higher education and end the hypocritical, double standard for enforcement of sex discrimination that has prevailed for so many decades at colleges and universities in the US.

One way that universities like UM can demonstrate their commitment to “diversity, equity and inclusion” is by demonstrating their commitment to enforcing Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination. Too often, universities including UM have not vigorously enforced Title IX as they are legally required to do, or at least they have only selectively enforced Title IX, despite large staffs of diversity officers and staffs (now approaching 100 employees at UM). And since UM has frequently violated its own Nondiscrimination Policy by offering single-sex, female only programs, a renewed commitment to nondiscrimination based on sex might be warranted as part of the DEI Committee.

In addition, if a concern of the DEI Committee is to address the challenges that underrepresented minorities face in higher education, I would suggest that the challenges of men – a significantly underrepresented minority at UM-Flint — be acknowledged and addressed. For example, based on Fall 2019 enrollment at UM-Flint, there are currently 175 female students for every 100 male students. A question for the DEI Committee: What if anything should be done to address the fact that men are a significantly underrepresented minority at UM-Flint?

Thanks for considering some the efforts I am making to advance “civil rights for all” and “Title IX for all” at both UM-Flint and in higher education in general, as we advance our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at UM-Flint for all constituencies, hopefully including constituencies that are significantly underrepresented.

MP: I don’t think those are exactly the types of contributions to diversity that UM is looking for… Buy hey, they asked me and I responded!!

Title IX

VIDEO: Heather Mac Donald defends due process, debunks 1-in-5 rape stat as hostile crowd shrieks in protest

Heather Mac Donald stood at a Colgate University podium last Thursday night in front of a hostile, emotional audience who barraged her during a Q&A with highly charged questions after she gave a speech there at the behest of the school’s Open Discussion Club.Mac Donald, author of “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture,” drew a protest of students who filled the auditorium making it so those open to the Manhattan Institute scholar’s views could not get in.


The plan among student activists was to listen to music with headphones or read a book by a “radical” during Mac Donald’s speech — then bombard her with hard-hitting questions during the Q&A, according to emails activist sent around before the event.

Perhaps the most tense moment of the evening took place when a woman took the mic to ask about campus rape culture, according to exclusive video obtained by The College Fix.

“In 2008 you wrote an article called ‘The Campus Rape Myth’ where you decided to claim that rape could be attributed to ‘sluttish behavior’ and that it’s women’s fault for getting drunk,” the question began amid applause, cheers and moans of shock from the surrounding audience, mostly students dressed head to toe in black to protest the scholar’s visit and views.

“You also said in a 2019 interview with the Hoover Institution that ‘all college-aged women can avoid 100 percent of so-called campus rape,’” Mac Donald’s questioner continued in an impassioned tone before dropping her bombshell:

“As someone who has been assaulted on this campus, do you believe that I am at fault?!”

The question drew a boisterous and prolonged round of cheers and applause that went on for roughly 30 seconds as Mac Donald stood at the podium and collected her thoughts.

Her reply showed that Mac Donald would not be cowered by the emotion and frenzy of the moment.

“Thank you for your question. And I do not know the facts of your incident and I am very sorry for what …,” but whatever she said next was once again met with loud gasps and groans from many in the crowd.

Mac Donald continued: “I have no idea what each party was involved with but I am sure it was traumatic.”

“Does it matter? Does it matter?” came cries from the audience regarding the need for the facts of the case before weighing in.

“Yes, it does,” Mac Donald responded, and affirmed it again amid more cries of shock. “I am not going to presume what constitutes an assault unless I know the facts.”

“Have you been raped? Have you ever been assaulted?” some called out.

The back and forth was one of many tense moments during a lengthy Q&A Mac Donald gave after her speech at the private, New York-based institution last week at the behest of the school’s Open Discussion Club. While she answered their questions dispassionately, the protesters often acted noisy, boisterous and incensed.

The activists had planned what they called a “nonviolent” protest in which participants first held a sit-in in the lobby leading to the lecture hall. For those who ventured into the talk, they “can be fully engaged in the speaker (though you probably won’t want to) or take out headphones, read their book, do homework, to disengage as the speaker is talking,” according to a copy of the protest email obtained by The College Fix.

During Mac Donald’s speech, a few students came to the front of the room and unfurled large banners, including one written entirely in Spanish and another that read “We won’t be silenced.”

A “debriefing and self-care session” was held after the talk, and the activists plan to “continue the conversation among students, faculty, and administrators at Colgate University about allowing speakers like Mac Donald to take up space on our campus unopposed.”

Mac Donald, in a statement to The College Fix, said her experience at Colgate was nothing new.

“My Colgate experience presented a more extreme version of something I have encountered in all the campus protests against me: the questions from the protesters in the hall invariably have nothing to do with my talk,” she said.

Mac Donald described the protesters’ suggestion to effectively cover their eyes or ears during her talk as “a stunningly apt emblem of the campus left’s rejection of dialogue.” She said many questions she fielded were from a cheat sheet of her writings prepared by protest organizers.

“Not surprisingly, then, the Colgate protesters’ questions were even more out of left field than usual: a large number focused on the post 9/11 war on terror, a subject I have not written about for nearly twenty years and that I certainly did not address at Colgate.”

“… This is campus rage manufactured in order to preserve the claims of victimhood.”

But the heated questions did not prompt Mac Donald to recant any of her previous statements. In fact, she also took on the ubiquitous 1-in-5 campus rape stat during parries with protesters.

“Let’s put that number in perspective,” she said. “… Our most violent city, Detroit, when you look at all four of the FBI’s violent index felonies — that includes murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery — all four of those combined gets you a violent felony rate of 2 percent. So 20 to 25 percent [of campus rape victims] is a catastrophe.”

She continued that such a “sexual holocaust,” if it were really going on, would prompt a stampede of women away from college campuses, yet the opposite is true, females are now the majority on them.

Later, as she was questioned about the role of binge drinking in campus rape, she said “I actually believe women have power,” prompting another cacophony of cries from the audience.

Mac Donald appeared surprised students disagreed with her, the video shows.

“You don’t? You don’t think women have power to control the amount that they drink short of having someone pour it down their mouth?”

More cries, more groans, more jeers and angry chatter from the audience, prompting Mac Donald to say “I thought we were all strong women together. I thought the purpose was to recognize the autonomy of women over their fate and I would say that if you think that drunken parties are a high-risk rape environment, just avoid them.”

Again this prompted shrieks of outrage from the audience and accusations of victim blaming.

“I put female safety ahead of the principle of male fault,” she told the crowd.

Later a male student told her “if someone says they’ve been raped — they’ve been raped,” prompting yet another round of cheers from the audience. Mac Donald wasn’t having it.

“I don’t accept the proposition that every accusation of a crime is proof that that crime happened. I think, especially in this country, we should be very worried about false accusations of rape. … Something as serious as rape deserves proof. I think the presumption of innocence is one of the glories of anglo-American jurisprudence …”

In a second video of the Q&A obtained by The College Fix, Mac Donald again defended due process after she was asked how it feels for a woman to know she is not going to be believed.

“That’s not what I am saying, what I am saying is she should prove her case,” Mac Donald said. Again, more cries of anger.

“There are procedures that have been developed over the centuries,” Mac Donald continued as she was once again interrupted by a wave of angry chatter.

“Good luck if any of you are accused of a crime and you are not given the right of cross-examination, or you are not given the right of a lawyer,” she told the students. “You may right now trust the administration but you may be in situations where you are going to be very grateful for due process protections, because not all accusations in any area of the law are always correct.”

The tempest at Colgate represents the latest in a string of protests that have met Mac Donald on college campuses recently.

VIDEO: Shouting protestors restrict access to Mac Donald speech at Holy Cross

MORE: Black, Latino groups at Emory host ‘safe space’ in response to Mac Donald

MORE: Blacklisting, picket line: Outrage erupts at Bucknell ahead of Mac Donald talk

Abuse Shelter Domestic Violence

PR: Florida Lawmakers Need to Address Deep-Seated Problems Confronting Abuse Shelters

Contact: Rebecca Stewart

Telephone: 513-479-3335


 Florida Lawmakers Need to Address Deep-Seated Problems Confronting Abuse Shelters

WASHINGTON / February 24, 2020 – Recent media accounts revealed exorbitant salaries among executives at the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (1), triggering the issuance of subpoenas to 13 current and former members of the FCADV (2). As a result, Representatives Ted Deutch and Kathy Castor have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate (3).

But the concerns go much deeper than executive compensation packages. A recent review of Florida abuse shelters reveals widespread problems with lack of public accountability, a lack of focus on their core mission, and a failure to assist male abuse victims (4).

An analysis of the websites of the 42 shelters that receive assistance from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence revealed only 11 provided even basic information about the number of abuse victims housed, counseled, or otherwise assisted in recent years.

All abuse shelters are required to provide a number of Core Services, such as a 24-hour hotline, crisis counseling, and legal advocacy. But some shelters, some as small as 20 beds, attempt to provide services with little relevance to curbing domestic violence such as dental services, wellness counseling, and peacemaker prevention. This raises the question whether abuse shelters have lost sight of their core mission.

Some shelters, such as the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Collier County, openly reveal their reluctance to help male victims of abuse, even though the Centers for Disease Control has found that annually, the number of male victims outnumbers female victims (5).

An earlier report revealed numerous examples of egregious mistreatment of residents by shelter staff. In one case, a woman was forced to remain inside a shelter against her will, leading to the conclusion that “domestic violence shelters are turning into abuse penitentiaries.” (6)

SAVE urges Florida lawmakers to appoint a commission to undertake an in-depth examination of the multiple problems that beset the Florida abuse industry, make appropriate policy recommendations, and institute long-overdue changes.


  5. , Tables 9 and 11

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is leading the national movement to restore due process, end false allegations, and protect all victims of sexual assault and domestic violence:

Title IX

College due process issues addressed by legislation

College students facing potential expulsion would be guaranteed due-process rights comparable to those provided in a court proceeding under legislation approved by a state Senate committee.

Senate Bill 1466, by Sen. Julie Daniels, creates the “Student and Administration Equality Act.” Under the legislation, any college student accused of a violation of the school’s disciplinary or conduct rules that carries a potential penalty of 10 or more days suspension or expulsion “shall have the right to be represented at the student’s expense by a licensed attorney or, if the student prefers, a nonattorney advocate.” Under the proposed law, the student’s attorney “may fully participate during the disciplinary proceeding” and would be allowed “the opportunity to make opening and closing statements, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to provide the accuser or accused with support, guidance, and advice.”

“It’s very important that you make sure that anyone accused in these instances has full due process, even though they are not appearing in a court of law but they are essentially appearing before a tribunal,” said Daniels, R-Bartlesville.

Students who bring a complaint against another student would have the same right to attorney representation and participation during a hearing, and colleges would be required to provide advance notice of hearings.

Universities that fail to comply with the proposed law could be sued for compensatory damages, reasonable court costs and attorney fees, monetary damages “of not less than the cost of tuition paid by the student,” plus monetary damages of “not less than the amount of any scholarship funding lost as a result of the institution discipline.”

Some lawmakers appeared skeptical of the need for the legislation.

“Can you cite an example where the problem is here?” asked Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso. “So if a student gets treated unfairly by the institution, can they not do this already? Is there no way for them to push back right now?”

Daniels noted that although the University of Oklahoma makes public the rules for its disciplinary proceedings, and that “the student can have an advocate or attorney present, that person may not participate in the proceeding. So this is a very big change in my bill.”

“Is this overreaching and making the institutions of higher education comply with the state mandating instead of empowering the Regents to set forth this policy?” asked Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City.

Daniels said the bill does not force colleges to change their policies regarding what actions can result in expulsion, but “simply makes sure that we have a full due process, orderly process, for the accused, the accuser, and the student organization.”

She noted the causes for expulsion range from accusations of infringing on another’s free-speech rights to sexual assault. Daniels said the officials sitting on the tribunal are “going in with some advantage over the student who may have an advisor that doesn’t get to participate in their defense.”

Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, said the lack of due process in many college hearings can create legal problems for students under investigation that increase the importance of addressing the issue.

“Is it not true that anything that is said in that tribunal, as you called it, anything that is said there—witnesses, testimony—may be used in a court of law in the future?” Stanislawski asked.

“That’s all open record,” Daniels said.

When the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rated the top 53 universities in the country “based on 10 fundamental elements of due process,” the civil rights organization found “the vast majority of institutions lacked most of the procedural safeguards we looked for in written policies.”

FIRE reported that just 28.3 percent of the universities reviewed “guarantee a meaningful hearing, where each party may see and hear the evidence being presented to fact-finders by the opposing party, before a finding of responsibility.” Only a distinct minority of schools allowed students to have the active participation of an advisor or provided the opportunity for “meaningful” cross-examination.

Oklahoma colleges were not among those reviewed in that report.

Nationally, a growing number of students have successfully sued colleges and universities for violations of due-process rights in disciplinary hearings. In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sided with a student and ruled against the University of Michigan, declaring that “if a public university has to choose between competing narratives to resolve a case, the university must give the accused student or his agent an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser and adverse witnesses in the presence of a neutral fact-finder.”

SB 1466 passed the Senate Education Committee on a 13-1 vote. Hicks was the only lawmaker to vote in opposition.

Abuse Shelter Domestic Violence

Florida Abuse Shelters Are Abusing the System and the Clients They Serve

Unless you have been in seclusion without access to news or people, you are well aware, and likely aghast, of the recent media accounts revealing the exorbitant compensation payouts to executives at the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

But the concerns of executive compensation packages of up to $7.5 million are just the tip of the iceberg.   Of a deeper human rights’ concern, is whether  the people who are brave enough to reach out and seek services, are actually getting the immediate help they need?

The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence states on its website that it serves as the “professional association for the state’s 42 certified domestic violence centers, and is the primary representative of battered women and their children in the public policy arena.”  Upon analysis of these domestic violence center websites, it becomes clear it is a mostly secret society of shelters that does not publish even basic information.  Only 11 shelters listed outcomes and impacts for those helped, and fewer provided a 2018-2019 annual report.

What is advertised, however, is a laundry list of services having little to do with curbing domestic violence.   If you are a victim needing immediate shelter and dental help, you would have to find transportation to Broward County, where Women in Distress would apparently give your teeth a good cleaning.  But we don’t know how many women got their dental care while seeking domestic violence support.  Hope Family Services and Sunrise Domestic and Sexual Violence Center are listed by the FCADV as having a farmworker outreach program.  Yet, a review of their individual websites says nothing of the sort.  Neither shelter catalogs its annual report, victim impact report, or outcomes report.

Each of the 42 shelters receiving assistance from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is required to provide a number of Core Services, such as emergency shelter, 24-hour hotline, and a children’s program.   Mind you, these shelters are well-funded by FCADV, which passes through about $50 million in state and federal government funds. But taxpayers are not privy to how many people are served or how well these services are being provided.

Another concern is the FCADV states on its website that these shelters serve “women and children.”   There is no mention of men. Likewise, the majority of the 42 center websites do not mention men as victims in need of services. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control has found 1 in 7 men report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. By virtue of their sex-specific names, shelters for Abused Women and Children in Collier County and Women in Distress in Broward County will likely discourage men from calling their 24-hour hotline.

It is time for Florida Abuse Shelters to stop abusing the system and start becoming transparent with how well they are performing the services they promote.   It is time for them to focus on the core programs that help all victims, male and female, to move beyond their situation, and to ultimately curb domestic violence. With federal Department of Justice involvement looming, and the Florida lawmakers taking this situation seriously, abuse victims in Florida may soon be receiving the services needed.

Title IX

Title IX Complicates Hill Negotiations on Higher Ed

Student activists at Pace University

Any deal to update the law governing federal student aid would have to overcome concerns about the highly charged new rule U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is about to release on what colleges are required do about allegations of sexual assault or harassment on campuses.

That was the message from an aide to Senator Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, who said the Title IX rule would be a stumbling block toward reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.

“Senator Murray is a vocal opponent of Secretary DeVos’ efforts to roll back Title IX protections for students and has made clear from the start of negotiations that any reauthorization of our country’s higher education laws must address the four key challenges of affordability, accountability, accessibility and campus safety,” the aide to the Washington Democrat said Friday in a statement. “So the question is how much Senate Republicans will be willing to work with her in a serious way to protect students.”

In recent days, the two top members of Congress involved in negotiating HEA’s reauthorization — Murray and Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate education committee — have expressed optimism about being able to cut at least a limited deal by the end of year, before Alexander retires.

Speaking Tuesday at a meeting of community college trustees​, Alexander said, “That doesn’t mean we’re going to take that whole big act and reauthorize everything.” But he added, “I think we can make some progress.”

Murray agreed on Monday. “We have been making progress in the negotiations, and I think we can get that done,” she told Inside Higher Ed Monday.

However, the statement from Murray’s aide illustrates a concern of many higher education lobbyists that the release of the final Title IX rule will be one of several key stumbling blocks that will make it harder to reach a deal on a broader reauthorization bill that would address a range of issues on student aid.

The Title IX issue has posed a challenge since DeVos proposed a number of changes in November 2018. Perhaps most controversially, the proposed rule would force complainants who say they’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed to submit to cross-examination in a live hearing, despite fears that doing so would further traumatize victims.

The debate will come to a head when DeVos issues a final rule that’s not expected to differ much from what she proposed. The administration is expected to release the final version of the rule in coming days.

Lobbying and Legal Challenges

Even as Alexander and Murray were expressing optimism on being able to reach a deal on the broader reauthorization bill, women’s and civil rights groups were gearing up to fight the rule in the courts, in state legislatures, at colleges and universities, and by getting Congress to include a provision in the reauthorization bill that would block the rule.

“Any controversial issue undermines the chances we will see a comprehensive reauthorization act,” said Terry Hartle, the American Council on Education’s senior vice president for government and public affairs.

In interviews, opponents of the rule like Elizabeth Tang, the National Women’s Law Center’s counsel for education and workplace justice, said a first battle in Congress could be over passing a resolution of disapproval blocking the rule — similar to the one the Democratic House approved in January opposing DeVos’s borrower-defense rule, which makes it significantly harder for student borrowers to receive debt forgiveness after being defrauded by colleges.

But as with the borrower-defense measure, chances are slim that a resolution on Title IX would pass the Republican Senate. And even if it were to pass both chambers, President Trump probably would veto it anyway, pushing the debate over Title IX to the higher education bill.

The Democratic House’s version of the reauthorization bill, passed by the education committee last October, would block the rule. In interviews, Tang and Liz King, education program director at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, were adamant that the Senate version would also block the rule.

“We encourage Congress to use every tool it has to make sure this dangerous rule never goes into effect,” Tang said.

However, higher education lobbyists said adding a provision to block the rule proposed by Trump’s administration would make it difficult for the Senate’s Republican majority to support the reauthorization bid.

A spokesman for Alexander didn’t return a request for comment.

“You never say never, but it’s hard to see a path forward,” Hartle said.

Illustrating the partisan nature of the debate, all Democrats on the House oversight committee criticized the rule in a letter to DeVos on Friday, saying, “your proposal would limit the circumstances under which schools are required to investigate sexual misconduct and make it more difficult for student survivors to resolve their claims.”

In addition to subjecting accusers to cross-examination, the DeVos proposal is expected to require or allow colleges to dismiss complaints that happened outside campus programs, like rapes at off-campus apartments. Also troubling, Tang said, are provisions that would raise the bar on what’s considered sexual harassment.

Instead of it being defined as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” as it has been since 2001, the proposed rule would make the definition more stringent, limiting it to conduct that is “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” that it “effectively denies” a student equal access to a school’s “program or activity.”

According to Tang, “this rule essentially means many students would be forced to endure repeated and escalating levels of abuse before they can receive help. Some schools might not help sexual assault survivors until after they have already dropped out of a class or out of school altogether.”

However, to some, like Teresa Manning, director of the National Association of Scholars’ Title IX project, DeVos’s proposals, including the right to cross-examine accusers, would give much-needed due process protections to men who increasingly have been unfairly accused of sexual misconduct, “causing terrible if not ruinous damage.”

If anything, Manning is hoping the final rule will be stronger than DeVos’s original proposal. Even if the proposal is changed, Manning said she’s done research showing Title IX staff have no practical legal experience, are predominantly female and have feminist beliefs. Believing staff members are likely to be biased against the accused, she wants the final rule to require institutions to provide them an attorney or an expert in due process who is independent of the college.

“If they are not fair in hiring, how will they be fair in hearings?” she said. “The system is only going to be as good as the people in them.”

In addition to the fight in Congress over the HEA, Sage Carson, executive director of Know Your IX, said the advocacy group is preparing to campaign to prod colleges and universities to take steps like continuing to investigate off-campus sexual assault and harassment, even if they are no longer required under the new rule. Carson said her group also is planning to lobby state legislatures to pass laws requiring institutions to go beyond requirements of the rule.

Title IX is expected to be fought in the courts as well. The National Women’s Law Center is waiting to see the final rule. If it has the same problems the group had with the proposal, as is assumed, the center will sue. Mark Shade, a spokesman for Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro, said his office plans to sue if the final rule has the same legal questions a coalition of 19 state attorneys general raised last year in a letter to the Education Department.

Among other concerns, the attorneys general said the proposal violated administrative procedures by not making public studies and reports it used to come up with its proposals.

In its own letter to the department, which could be the basis of legal challenges, the National Women’s Law Center raised a number of other issues. The group, for instance, said Title IX requires institutions to provide “equitable” resolution of complaints, but “a presumption in favor of one party against the other is not equitable.”

Campus Sexual Assault

SAVE Testimony in Opposition to Connecticut Bill SB 19

Good afternoon, my name is Susan Stewart and I am the Director, State Legislative Initiative for SAVE: Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. SAVE is a national organization working at both the federal and state level for fairness and due process on college campuses. I am testifying in opposition to SB 19.

Since the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter was issued by the federal Department of Education, SAVE has found there has been an explosion of both complaints by identified victims and lawsuits by accused students. For example, one University of Alabama student named Shannon said, “The assault was bad, but the way my school has treated me has created more trauma than the original assault did.” In the past nine years, over 550 lawsuits have been filed against universities for their alleged mishandling of these cases.

SAVE created a list of the Top 25 Worst Colleges in the Nation for Campus Due Process. Shockingly, two universities in Connecticut made our list: Quinnipiac University and Yale University.

In Doe v Quinnipiac, Doe claimed Quinnipiac opened a complaint against him “on behalf” of a student who herself did not file a complaint, destroyed evidence and subjected him to a 7-hour hearing where they banned exculpatory witnesses.

In Montague v Yale: Jack Montague claimed Yale violated its own procedures, committed fraud when administrators tried to convince the woman to file a formal complaint, and allowed the administrator who had tried to convince the woman, to chair the hearing board.

In fact, Connecticut may be the worst state in the nation for campus fairness. There are also these other compelling cases: the Nikki Yovino Sacred Heart University case, the case against Yale by Saif Kahn who is now suing Yale for $110 million and most recently two damning judicial decisions against UConn for violating students’ constitutional rights. District Judge Michael Shea wrote, “UConn’s procedures for investigating alleged misconduct and imposing discipline are so one-sided that the accused was denied an opportunity to present a meaningful defense.”

I oppose SB 19 for the following reasons: First, SB 19 includes an immunity clause for drinking and drug use which states “a student …who reports or discloses the alleged assault…shall not be subject to disciplinary actions for violation of a policy of the institution… if the report or disclosure was made in good faith..” This wording encourages false allegations. What happens when the institution determines that the report was not made in good faith?

Second, SB 19 establishes a Council on Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey, which includes 16 members and not one member represents students who have been accused of sexual misconduct. It calls for three representatives of victims of sexual assault, and not one representative of accused students. Why not?

Third, SB 19 requires the development of a sexual misconduct climate survey. Climate surveys are known to be expensive, difficult to administer, yield unreliable statistics and have fundamental problems. They do not lead to safer campuses. For example, in 2017 the results of one climate survey showed a shocking 41% of undergraduate women reported experiencing sexual assault since enrolling at the university. If that were true, what parents in their right minds would send their daughter to that school? Climate surveys are used to argue for policy change that potentially impedes on students’ due process rights.

For these reasons, I oppose SB 19. Connecticut lawmakers continue to propose or pass legislation that encourages false allegations or ultimately impedes students’ due process rights. Universities follow these laws resulting in mistreatment of both alleged victims and accused students with the ultimate outcome of more lawsuits against the universities!

SB 19 would trample on fairness, and perpetuate campus Kangaroo Courts. It is not the answer to a serious issue plaguing Connecticut’s higher educational system.

Thank you for your time and attention.