Pressure has been building for President Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression by federal contractors, a move that might make the recent controversy over requiring religious institutions to offer contraception services look mild by comparison.
Metro Weekly recently reported on a strategy session in retiring Rep. Barney Frank’s office attended by representatives of the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and other gay and transgender equity advocacy organizations to organize a campaign for such an executive order. Shortly thereafter on Feb. 6 the San Francisco Chronicle’s web site published a press release from the Williams Institute at the UCLA law school calling for a gay rights executive order, and the New York Times published an OpEd, “What Obama Should Do About Workplace Discrimination,” by M.V. Lee Badgett, the Williams Institute’s research director.
Continue reading Is Another Furor Over Religious Liberty Coming?
Males are keenly aware that when they go to college they are entering a hostile environment. Freshman orientation alone has had a distinctively anti-male cast for years: heavy emphasis on date rape, stalking, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual harassment amount to an unmistakable message that males are patriarchal oppressors and potential sex criminals. The lesson is quickly taught: only women are vulnerable, and men are the cause of their vulnerability. At one elite university, at least, the first thing a female freshman gets from the administration is a whistle to blow in the event that a rape-minded male accosts her. The freshman male is likely to acquire a new feeling about himself: he is the designated potential perpetrator until proven innocent.
Continue reading The Chilly World of the Campus Male
Let the wars over “rape culture” begin! Since the 1970s the annual “Take Back the Night” anti-rape march, organized by campus feminists and featuring phalanxes of females carrying signs saying things like “Claim Our Bodies, Claim Ourselves,” was as solid a college tradition as Homecoming Week, even though the ranks of protesters have lately gotten a bit thin (a “Night” rally at Dartmouth last May attracted only 70 students). But now there’s a challenger to Take Back the Night’s decades-long monopoly on indignation at a male-controlled society that supposedly condones the sexual abuse of women: “SlutWalk.” SlutWalk is very much like Take Back the Night–except that the SlutWalk marchers wear hardly any clothes.
Only six months old, SlutWalk seems to be already outstripping (as it were) Take Back the Night in popularity; a SlutWalk protest in New York City on October 1st drew about a thousand marchers flaunting midriffs, lacy brassieres, and strategically placed tattoos. So there’s now some tension between the two groups. The Take Back the Night people accuse the SlutWalkers of turning a demonstration against sexual violence into a demonstration for the right to walk around in public in your underwear, while the SlutWalk people see the Take Back the Night crowd as fuddy-duddies.
Continue reading ‘SlutWalks’ Take Over from ‘Take Back the Night’
How easy do some college professors have it? Here is a paragraph from an Aug. 28 story in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the effect of recession-hit Nevada’s higher-education budget cuts at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas:
One person who hasn’t spent much time on the campus since May is [Lynn] Comella. Sitting behind a desk piled with files and loose papers from spring semester, the women’s-studies professor was too discouraged by this year’s session of the Legislature to return to her small fourth-floor office all summer. “For some of us, we needed the summer to regroup,” she says.
How fascinating! A professor doesn’t feel like going to work because she’s “discouraged,” so she takes a three-month vacation, paid for by the taxpayers of a state whose unemployment rate has hovered between 13 percent and 15 percent over the past year.
Continue reading Women’s Studies Professor Takes a Vacation
Sandy Hingston has captured, in an article of extraordinary importance, the fruits of political correctness in the Dept of Education (the insistence that colleges make it almost impossible for men to be found innocent of charges of sexual misbehavior), the infantilization of women; the grotesque joining of careerism, cynicism, and ideological blinders to actual justice in what is now the sexual assault racket; the painful vulnerability of every male on our campuses; the contempt for due process and fairness in emerging campus judicial systems; and the certain human tragedies that will follow in the wake of this.
We have criminal courts, of course, but they sometimes actually find innocent males innocent, so that will not do. And there, on the Main Line, sits the huckster Brett Sokolow, getting rich by trivializing actual rape and conflating it with voluntary sex or even touching on a few drinks, often initiated by the women themselves. I once asked the long-ago Vice-Provost for University Life at Penn, Jim Bishop, when this stuff—now mandated by the federal government—was first coming in at the University.
Continue reading A Great Article on a Disastrous Act of Federal Meddling
Just exactly how far will the left go to interfere with religious liberty and common sense? Right after John Garvey, president of Catholic University, announced that the university would return to single sex dorms, GW Law professor John Banzaf, a highly credentialed member of the hard left legal establishment, sent a notice of intent to sue under the D.C. Human Rights Act. Apparently he is serious.
On his own website Banzaf boasts of a number of honorifics including, “the Ralph Nader of Junk Food” and the “Osama bin Laden of Torts,” as well as the “Father of Potty Parity” (for his lawsuits over restroom access). He explains why he is so upset by Catholic University’s plan:
“This takes us back to the 1950s and 1960s when dorms were segregated. But we’ve come a long way now, and we shouldn’t go back. They’re going back to the ‘good old days’ when boys were in one dorm and girls in the other. That was fine in ‘Leave It To Beaver,’ but it’s not appropriate now.”
A coed dorm is a basic human right? What’s next, video games and beer pong?
Catholic University is a big institution that can afford lawyers. But these kinds of threats of litigation show the need for stronger, and more explicit, religious liberty protections attached to “human rights” legislation, especially for the little guy for whom the threat of a lawsuit is chilling indeed.
Let’s face it, our noble efforts to detoxify today’s PC-infected university have largely failed and the future looks bleak. This is not to say that the problem is incurable–though it is–but it calls for a solution different from the current approach. Here’s how.
Begin by recognizing that all our proposed cures impose heavy burdens on foes. For example, demanding an ideologically balanced faculty means fewer positions for PC zealots to fill. Asking them to abandon anti-Americanism requires revising lectures and reading assignment, no small task for those working 24/7 for social justice. And the assignment may be beyond their intellectual abilities. Why should tenured radicals surrender life-time employment to prevent professorial abuses? In a nutshell, our side insists on painful reform from within, all of which have zero benefits to the PC crowd. Victory requires measures that appear as net benefits, not bitter medicine.
My solution arrived one day in a casual conversation with a fellow political scientist. He recounted that when his university initially proposed a separate Department of Women’s Studies, the faculty objected. Resistance was futile, however, and the separate department came to pass. There was, however, a silver lining in the defeat–with all the department’s strident feminists exported to an autonomous homeland, intellectual life suddenly improved dramatically. No more silly quarrels about inserting gender into international relations, no more struggles over subtly-hidden, invisible sexism and so on. Civility and reason reigned.
Continue reading Quarantining the PC Pathology
Delta Kappa Epsilon–the “Dekes”–whose pledges’ allegedly sexist chant during a hazing ritual at Yale last October so offended campus feminists that the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office is now conducting a full-blown investigation of Yale for sexual harassment under Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act.
They were marched blindfolded through the Old Campus–“No means yes, and yes means anal!” One of the other allegations in the 30-page complaint that triggered
the investigation filed by 16 Yale alumni (12 of them women): a “Preseason Scouting Report” e-mail that some Yalies had circulated rating 53 incoming freshman women according to how many beers it would take to have sex with them. The complaint charged that Yale, by failing to respond sufficiently to such outrages, and by failing to respond sufficiently to a 2007 petition by 150 students in Yale’s medical school accusing professors and fellow students of groping, intimidating, verbally abusing them, and raping them failed to “eliminate a hostile sexual environment.” Should Yale be found in violation of Title IX, which forbids sex discrimination by educational institutions, it stands to lose some $500 million annually in federal funds.
The whole idea of Yale, these days one of the most politically correct institutions of higher learning in America, maintaining a “hostile sexual environment” seems in itself ludicrous. Indeed, although as of Monday Yale administrators said they had not read the alumni complaint, Yale Dean Mary Miller promptly issued a statement and said, “Yale has a deep commitment to gender equity.” Yet there are two very serious and disturbing issues that the Education Department raises. The first is a free-speech issue. Whether or not the Deke pledges’ chant was funny or, boorish and in poor taste it is not surprising that Yale, whose 1975 Woodward Report codifies broad guarantees of freedom of expression on campus, chose not to discipline the fraternity or any of its members merely for saying things that offended other students. Should the Education Department deem Yale’s failure to punish the pledge chants or the “Preseason Scouting” e-mails a violation of civil rights laws, it will effectively impose a draconian federal speech code upon not only Yale, but all college campuses. Students will have to watch what they say and fear what they write lest some protected group seek severe disciplinary reprisals.
Continue reading The Coming War on Fraternities
Has something finally changed in the sexual politics of academia? For more than a generation the verities of feminist theory and female interests have dominated administration policy, including who gets accepted to college and who graduates.
Anyone who has taken part in academic life for the last thirty years is well aware of the organizational power of women’s studies departments. That power has yielded a tacit veto on initiatives they feel are neither philosophically nor practically in sync with their views. Efforts to study the behavior of men have tended to be smoothly integrated into “men’s studies” which can be harshly but fairly described as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the established women’s industry. For a common example, a review of the current course offerings of the University of Toronto reveals some 40 courses explicitly focused on women and their activities. There are two concerned with men specializing in homosexual and transgendered men.
This is clearly a reason for the growing disenchantment and ineffectiveness of male students which has led to a disproportionate ratio of female to male graduates is at least 40% male to 60% female. From their first day of school, males are less successful than females. Even in nursery school, four of five students expelled are boys (how does anyone get expelled from nursery school?) and the overwhelming number of victims of Ritalin are boys.
Continue reading Male Market Share and the Distortions of Women’s Studies
If the Obama administration’s argument that Congress has the authority to require every individual to purchase health insurance is upheld by the Supreme Court, many students may be in for a big surprise.
Yes, students. The administration argument, briefly, is that access to affordable health care is so essential to both personal and national security that individual choice of when or even whether to purchase insurance must be subordinated to the government’s authority to regulate the health care market. Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce is so pervasive, the administration argues, that it necessarily includes the power to require individuals to participate in that market, and to fine them if they refuse.
Here’s how Judge Henry Hudson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia summarized the government’s argument, on his way to rejecting it:
Continue reading Could the Feds Tell College Students What to Do?
It’s a well-known fact that there’s a severe gender imbalance in undergraduate college populations: about 57 percent of undergrads these days are female and only 43 percent male, the culmination of a trend over the past few decades in which significantly fewer young men than young women either graduate from high school or enroll in college. It’s also a well-known fact—at least among college admissions officers—that many private institutions have tried to close the gender gap by quietly relaxing admissions standards for male applicants, essentially practicing affirmative action for young men. What they’re doing is perfectly legal, even under Title IX, the 1972 federal law that bans sex discrimination by institutions of higher learning receiving federal funds. Title IX contains an exemption that specifically allows private colleges that aren’t professional or technical institutions to prefer one sex over the other in undergraduate admissions. Militant feminists and principled opponents of affirmative action might complain about the discrimination against women that Title IX permits, but for many second- and third-tier liberal arts colleges lacking male educational magnets such as engineering and business programs, the exemption may be a lifesaver, preventing those smaller and less prestigious schools from turning into de facto women’s colleges that few young people of either sex might want to attend.
Now, however, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has decided to turn over this rock carefully set in place by admissions committees. The commission launched an investigation last fall into the extent of male preferences in admissions decisions at 19 various institutions of higher learning. These include public universities (where such preferences are illegal under Title IX); elite private institutions such as Georgetown and Johns Hopkins; smaller liberal arts schools (Gettysburg College, with 2,600 undergraduates, is on the list); religious schools (the Jesuit-run University of Richmond and Messiah College in Grantham, Pa.); and historically black Virginia Union University, also in Richmond. On May 14 the commission’s general counsel, David P. Blackwood, announced that four of the 19 schools–Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Gettysburg, and Messiah—had raised legal issues concerning compliance with the commission’s subpoenas, and that Virginia Union, while responding politely, had not complied in any way. Blackwood said that the commission might have to ask the Justice Department for help in obtaining admissions data from Virginia Union.
Continue reading The Quiet Preference for Men in Admissions
Joanne Creighton, President of Mt. Holyoke College, makes several worthy points on the behalf of women’s colleges in The Boston Globe today, but her case for the knowledge they convey is rather bizarrely ordered.
Consider the admirable facts that she could cite first:
1. Mt. Holyoke has produced, in the last forty years, more graduates that went on to earn doctorates in the life and physical sciences than any other liberal arts college in the country.
2. Women’s colleges enroll larger numbers of low-income students than peer gender-mixed institutions.
3. Graduates of women’s colleges include such estimable figures as Nancy Pelosi, Elaine Chao, and Madeline Albright.
Yet, before all of this, her first argument on these colleges’ behalf is:
Graduates are more able to see gender-repression when they encounter it and to distinguish between personal and systemic barriers to success.
A sophisticated grasp of gender repression? So that’s how Mt. Holyoke grads get into Physics PhD programs? And I had always imagined that they key was a sophisticated grasp of thermodynamics. Where does that factor in, President Creighton. Lower?