The Education Department, under orders from the Obama Administration, is pushing for an unconstitutional speech restriction for college students, both on and off campus. What ever happened to the First Amendment, I wonder?
The Education Department is “pressuring colleges to adopt unconstitutional speech codes in the name of fighting sexual harassment. It has disregarded many court rulings in doing so,” according to a recent story published in The Wall Street Journal.
The Obama Administration cites federal anti-discrimination laws like Title IX as the reason for the restrictions, saying that under these laws colleges are expected to look into instances of sexual misconduct by students, even when off-campus.
But they are ignoring the fact that many federal appellate court decisions regarding Title IX maintain that colleges have no such responsibility.
This wrongful advice – or should I say command – from the Education Department has resulted in unfair prosecutions, such as in the case of Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis.
Kipnis was slapped with a harassment charge after the publication of her “politically incorrect” essay “” because a few overly sensitive students felt offended and thus accused her of sexual harassment.
Professor Kipnis defended herself on Twitter without mentioning the names of any students. Those same students considered her actions to be “retaliation” that violated Title IX. An investigation commenced and she was ultimately found not guilty.
Meanwhile, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sector of the Education Department continues to issue mandates that violate the Administrative Procedure Act’s “notice and comment” provisions. According to most rulings, state colleges and public schools have little to no power to restrict speech off-campus. But OCR likes to ignore this fact.
Simply put, OCR’s mandates are wrongly extending Title IX to what students do and say when they are off-campus. OCR intrusively continues to pressure colleges into investigations even in cases where the “misconduct” is not severe and pervasive.