civil rights

Caitlin Jenner

Transgender and the Transformation of Civil Rights

Although it seems as though the transgender tsunami has been howling forever, in fact it hit the shore of national fixation only four months ago, in March, when the North Carolina legislature passed, and Gov. Pat McCrory signed, House Bill 2, which restricted access to the state’s public sex-segregated restrooms by, well, sex, as defined […]

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man reading book at beach

Summer Reading for Freshmen: Unchallenging, Mediocre

“Beach Books 2014-2016,” released yesterday by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), is a study of mostly summer reading assigned by colleges and universities to their incoming freshman. NAS reports: Our study of common readings during the academic years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 covers 377 assignments at 366 colleges and universities for the first year and […]

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More About what Candidates Can Do…

By Roger Clegg Kudos to Peter Wood for encouraging the presidential candidates to opine – and opine wisely – on higher education issues in his article, “What Candidates Can Do for Higher Education Now.” With regard to his Item #3 (“End higher education’s destructive focus on race”), I’d like to point out two specific proposals […]

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Two Lawmakers Vote No to Safe Campus Act

A good rule of thumb when considering campus due process matters: If the Senate’s two most ardent foes of campus civil liberties, Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill oppose something, the measure is probably worth a good look. The Safe Campus Act, which recently received criticism from the two senators, deserves more than a look. It […]

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Education Department Rewards False Complaints of Abuse

The Education Department, where I used to work, is becoming more and more extreme in how it misinterprets and misapplies federal law. For example, the Education Department has thumbed its nose at federal court rulings by wrongly creating entitlements for people who make false discrimination and harassment complaints—even though such baseless complaints can make life […]

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Wendy Murphy Comes to the University of Virginia

The Office of Civil Rights’ mandated procedures for investigating sexual assault are tilted heavily against the accused party. The institution can hire “neutral fact-finders” who produce the equivalent of a grand jury presentment, deny the accused an advisor of his choice, add witnesses that the accused student does not request, forbid the students from cross-examining […]

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Yale’s New Low and the Sad Saga of Wendy Murphy

Few figures involved in the Duke lacrosse case behaved more disgracefully than Wendy Murphy, an adjunct professor at the New England School of Law. A  frequent TV commentator on the case, she  earned a reputation for defending Mike Nifong’s prosecution through myriad errors of fact, misstatements of the law, and deeply offensive statements such as […]

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Campus Due Process, Obama-Style

In this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education, Joseph Cohn, director of policy at FIRE, summarizes the due process implications of a letter sent to colleges and universities last April by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. As was widely reported at the time, the letter instructs schools to adopt the lowest standard of […]

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Can We or Can’t We ‘Target’ Women and Minorities?

Why is it admirable to “target” women and minorities for some educational programs but a violation of federal civil right laws to “target” them in others?           That’s the question that must be asked about a federal lawsuit filed by seven Mississippi women, five of them African-American, against for-profit Virginia College, […]

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The OCR’s Newest Target: Xavier University

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has entered into its latest Title IX-related agreement with Xavier University. Unlike the OCR’s agreement with Yale, which used a manufactured controversy to weaken the due process rights of the university’s students, at least at Xavier the OCR involved itself only in response […]

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Here Come the Advocacy ‘Studies’

UCLA’s Proyecto Derechos Civiles — also known as the Civil Rights Project — has just published a useful new study suggesting the extent of racial discrimination in graduate school admissions. It examined minority graduate enrollments in four states with bans on racial preferences — California, Florida, Washington, and Texas (where the ban is no longer […]

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Student Editor Details the Corruption at Brown

As university after university follows the OCR’s mandate to lower the threshold for evaluating campus sexual assault claims–and thereby to increase the likelihood of convictions from false accusations–it’s worth keeping in mind cases in which even the pre-“Dear Colleague” procedure broke down. Caleb Warner’s is one such case; William McCormick’s is another.

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The Notorious “Dear Colleague” Letter in Action

Inside Higher Ed brings interesting news today about how the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter from the Obama education department–which requires all sexual assault and harassment cases to be judged by the lowest possible burden of proof, a preponderance of the evidence–has affected one university campus. In response to the letter’s mandate, the University of North […]

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R.I.P. John Payton–But He Was Part of the Problem

“Top civil rights lawyer John Payton dies at 65; Obama calls him ‘champion of equality,’” the Washington Post reported a few days ago. Although Payton, 65, had been a prominent Washington lawyer and, after 2008, director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, he is probably best known for arguing a case […]

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Justice Kennedy Should Read Richard Brodhead

The Supreme Court’s decision in Grutter operated on the basis of some unspoken assumptions. One was that regardless of how other applicants were affected, students admitted because of preferences benefited from the decision. Another was that universities could be trusted to handle issues of race fairly and efficiently, or at least more so than could […]

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Confusion over Anti-Asian Discrimination

At the request of the unidentified Asian-American student who filed discrimination complaints against Harvard and Princeton, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has ended its investigation. The civil rights office had folded the complaint against Princeton … into a compliance review begun in 2008 of whether that university discriminates against Asian-Americans. The allegations […]

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Let’s Be Frank about Anti-Asian Admission Policies

On February 2 Daniel Golden, former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of a highly regarded book on college admissions, reported in Bloomberg’s Business Week that Harvard and Princeton are being investigated by the Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for discrimination against Asians. It’s not the first time. In fact, for the past […]

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Ex-Justice: Civil Rights Act ‘Poorly Considered’

When Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the Supreme Court in 2010 ABC News noted that over the course of his 34 years on the Court he “became a hero to liberals[,]  voting to … uphold affirmative action” and other liberal causes. Now he has written an autobiography, Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir, ruminating […]

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The Times Vilifies Another Athlete, Presenting No Evidence

Over the past year, FIRE has led a campaign of civil liberties organizations against the Obama administration’s infamous “Dear Colleague” letter, which ordered colleges and universities to lower the burden of proof in their on-campus judicial proceedings. The letter demanded that all universities receiving federal funds employ a “preponderance of the evidence” standard (in other […]

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No Research, Please, Unless It Helps Our Cause

A news story here has garnered some attention; it’s about how “Black students at Duke University are angry over a university research paper that found African-American undergraduates at the school are disproportionally more likely to switch from tough majors to easier ones.” There’s not much in it that denies the truth of the paper’s conclusion, […]

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Elizabeth Warren–Well-Paid Populist Professor

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for a Massachusetts senate seat may be most known outside the state for this statement she made a few months back: “You built a factory out there?  Good for you.  But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you […]

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A Black Eye for Brown In a Controversial Rape Case

I’ve written before of the peculiar case of Brown and Marcella Dresdale. In 2006, Dresdale accused another Brown freshman, William McCormick, of sexual assault. But she didn’t go the local police, and she never filed charges. Instead, she went to the Brown administration–over which, it turned out, her father Richard, a major Brown donor, exercised […]

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Here Comes the Anti-Bullying Bureaucracy

The overwrought anti-bullying crusade has come in for heavy and very specific criticism from Hans Bader, the lawyer and writer who played a key role in keeping out a dangerous provision of a proposed federal law on how colleges must deal with campus sexual assault. Though Washington officials call bullying a “pandemic,” in reality, Bader […]

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Star Chamber Provision on Campus Dropped

In April, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights outlined a policy shift that represented perhaps the gravest threat to civil liberties on campus in a generation. Worse, Sen. Patrick Leahy inserted a provision in a draft of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 that would have made the dubious new policy part […]

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Sorry, Charlotte, I Only Wish I Were Wrong About Columbia

In her thoughtful and intelligent critique of my case against Columbia University, Charlotte Allen agrees with my basic concern when she writes that what’s wrong at Columbia is “the university’s continued support of professors who have turned their classrooms into bully pulpits for preaching religious and ethnic hatred.”  She disagrees, however, with whether OCR should […]

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You’re Wrong about Columbia’s ‘Steering,’ Ken

I disagree with Kenneth L. Marcus’s post here approving the Education Department’s pending investigation of Columbia University for allegedly “steering” a Jewish student at Barnard College away from a course taught by Joseph Massad. While I’m in sympathy with Marcus’s efforts to show up Massad for the unreconstructed ideologue and tiresome non-scholar that he is, […]

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“Steering” Orthodox Jews Away from Massad at Columbia

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has just opened a new investigation into anti-Semitism at Columbia University.  At this author’s urging, OCR is looking into whether a Jewish Barnard student was unlawfully “steered” away from a course taught by controversial Columbia Professor Joseph Massad.  Massad has been accused of anti-Semitism before.  This […]

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Stanford: Guilty Even If Innocent

At Stanford, according to the “alternative misconduct review process” guidelines offered on the university’s website, a student accused of sexual misconduct doesn’t have the right to cross-examine his accuser–or any other witnesses in his case. He cannot offer exculpatory evidence on his behalf, but can only “request” that the university’s assigned “Investigator contact individuals who […]

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The Star Chamber Comes to a Campus Near You

As Harvey Silverglate and Kyle Smeallie pointed out in Minding The Campus, the recent letter from the Obama Administration’s Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights outlines a policy shift that represents perhaps the gravest threat to civil liberties on campus in a generation. The letter’s provisions would be gravely damaging even in its narrowest possible scope, […]

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The Coming War on Fraternities

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 […]

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