This year, the freshman class at many universities could have been called the fresh woman class. Among those enrolling at my university this year, the percentage of females jumped to 70. Since we don’t yet have an “undecided” category for gender that means the percentage of males fell to 30. While many are asking why so many women are going to college it might make more sense to ask why so few men are going to college.
There are some fairly obvious reasons for the demographic shift. While claiming to be combatting a hostile environment for women, the feminist movement has actually been creating a hostile campus environment for men for years. In fact, most of their policy initiatives are now hurting men rather than helping women. Title IX provides the most obvious example.
I have no doubt that most of the initial supporters of Title IX envisioned that it would do nothing more than bring female athletes to campus. However, it is now serving as a death sentence for many men’s athletic programs. Furthermore, as anyone following the news in the last couple of years knows, Title IX has been used to do a lot more than shift the balance of power in the arena of sports and recreation.
Unfortunately, Title IX is now used as a weapon to undermine due process for men accused of rape and sexual harassment. Over the last several years, under the expanding requirements of Title IX, universities have been pressured to use a preponderance of evidence standard rather than a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in campus rape tribunals.
Universities have also been strong-armed into abandoning the prohibition against double jeopardy, which attaches in normal criminal trials. Hence, women are able to file multiple unfounded accusations of sexual assault against the same man – and to do so with impunity.
The Department of Education is responsible for pressuring state universities into turning these rape hearings into kangaroo courts under the threat of stripping them of federal funding. This underscores the need for the GOP to take up the cause of eliminating the federal Department of Education just as they once tried to do in the 1980s. Note that those efforts were initiated just a few years after the federal department was created during the Carter administration.
If Republicans ever manage to get rid of the Department of Education it will not be enough. There is no guarantee that similar assaults on campus due process will not start coming from the Department of Justice. Put simply, the only way to ensure that these Title IX injustices will cease is to do the obvious: Repeal Title IX.
Of course, many would see a repeal of Title IX as an attack on women. That is only because people erroneously believe that it is now protecting women from a rape epidemic on our nation’s campuses. In reality, Title IX is forcing state universities to help the federal government inflate rape statistics under the threat of stripping them of federal funding if they refuse to play along.
These inflated statistics cause an exaggerated fear of criminal victimization, which is certainly harmful to women. Now Title IX is beginning to hurt college women in other ways. It all has to do with continuing redefinitions of sexual harassment, which increasingly encroach on constitutionally protected free speech.
In one recent case, a female student of mine was prosecuted after an argument with her roommate. Her crime was calling her roommate a “bitch.” This now constitutes the third case in which the Division of Student Affairs (for the mere utterance of a single profanity) has prosecuted a student of mine. It is also the first case I have encountered in which the accused was a female and the mechanism of prosecution was “harassment.”
We all knew this was coming. At first, harassment was said to have occurred when a woman was pressured into acts of sex in exchange for continued employment, a pay raise, or a better grade from her professor. But now the old definition of harassment has been replaced by increasingly vague hostile environment harassment policies that are focused on speech, not behavior. This has created a new woman’s right: To feel comfortable and unoffended at all times.
For years, campus feminists enjoyed the power they were given under these expanding definitions of harassment. They could chant lewd descriptions of their genitals in an evening rendition of the vagina monologues and then wake up the next morning and search the campus for words and ideas that offended their sensibilities.
But now things are changing. Since the rape tribunals are causing men to avoid college there are fewer “potential rapists” to prosecute. The universities are now short of “offenders” needed to satisfy the Department of Education that exists to satisfy their addiction to federal funding. The inevitable result is that we are now seeing prosecutions of women for harassing other women.
The future is not bright for women in higher education. Before long the two largest groups on campus will be 1) Female students, and, 2) College administrators – with the latter group monitoring the speech of the former in search of federal funding opportunities.
This is what happens when we shred the constitution in search of fictitious victims. Everyone ends up being a perpetrator and no one is safe from bureaucratic harassment.