Just when you thought things could not get worse, the government…instructs universities to criminalize bad jokes, clumsy flirtation, and unpopular social science. – An anonymous Harvard professor
I often reflect that I got my undergraduate degree just in time, because soon after I graduated in 1987 American universities began a sharp decline in academic freedom and personal rights (all in the name of “feminism”) which continues to this day and shows no signs of stopping. To be sure, there were loudmouthed neofeminists at UNO while I was there, but they were A) a small minority, and B) had no political power. They were no more able to impose their bizarre beliefs on the university than the Marxists, the religious fundamentalists or any other pro-oppression fringe group, and faculty and students alike were free to express any opinion, however “offensive” to the dewicate widdle feewings of some sheltered nitwit, without fear of censure or worse. Nobody thought it was weird if an undergrad dated a grad student, or had a sudden attack of the vapors if an English professor talked about Lady Macbeth’s tits, or reported a rather opinionated young lady to the Thought Police for expressing (in no uncertain terms) her highly unorthodox views on Kate Chopin’s writing ability. And though there was an awful lot of sex going on, I can’t recall ever hearing in my four years there of a single student being raped by another student.
Unfortunately, the neofeminists were already hard at work to change all this in order to promote the politically-useful myth of “rape culture”. A bogus study by Mary Koss of Kent State (which declared many women “rape victims” even when they reported otherwise) was published in Ms. magazine in 1985, and politicians were quick to jump on the bandwagon to divert millions in funds for “rape prevention” to campuses whose average sexual assault rate was 1/30 the rate in poor urban neighborhoods. By the early ‘90s repressive speech and “sexual harassment” codes were being imposed on every American university, and by the turn of the century a stifling blanket of political correctness, woven from fear of lawsuits and increasingly-expansive interpretations of “Title IX”, had descended upon American academia. But that still wasn’t enough for the neofeminists; despite a generation of brainwashing, most young women were still unwilling to make the number of rape accusations they needed to satisfy their bloodlust. So in 2007 the Department of Justice conducted a new survey, and like Koss multiplied the results by four via the simple expedient of ignoring what the supposed “victims” thought about their experiences. Using this as “evidence” of “a terrible, alarming trend of campus sexual violence”, in 2011 the Department of Education imposed a terrible, alarming new policy:
…even [if a man has] no way of telling…[how much a woman has been drinking it is] his responsibility to determine if she [is] “incapacitated” [because]…if she [is], any fondling they [do], no matter how great her zeal, [is] sexual assault. She doesn’t even have to lodge a complaint; the college has to investigate if…[a witness] sees her…and suspects she’s drunk…and then there’s the new…requirement that has raised the most alarm among civil libertarians: the lowering of the evidentiary standard to that used in civil-rights litigation…a “preponderance of the evidence” is now all that’s required…not the more familiar “beyond a reasonable doubt” of criminal cases or the intermediary “clear and convincing evidence” standard many schools used to employ…
In other words legal adults are defined as incompetent children if they happen to be female, and guilty until proven innocent if they’re male. The result of this has been, as any fool could have predicted, a witch-hunt against heterosexual male students. Of course, they could avoid that danger by simply refusing to date anyone at the same university, so obviously the list of potential “crimes” had to be expanded:
…both the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have mandated the effective abolition of free speech on college campuses, as well as the almost certain conviction of large numbers of students…The ED/DOJ’s disturbing and unconstitutional May 9th letter, mandating changes in sexual assault and harassment procedures and standards, arose out of a joint…investigation…at the University of Montana, Missoula…but…described [the letter] as “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country to protect students from sexual harassment and assault.” In other words, any college or university receiving federal funding (which includes nearly all of them) risks losing that funding, if it does not comply…Henceforth, “sexual harassment,” for which a student must be investigated according to federal regulations, will be defined on campuses throughout the nation as engaging in “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature”…including “verbal conduct” (more commonly known as “speech”), from the vantage point of the “victim.” It doesn’t matter if the victim happens to be exceptionally brittle, or subjectively feels “sexually harassed” in situations that other students would deem nothing more than the normal interactions of daily life in a college community.
The inevitable result…is that all students would arguably be guilty of harassment several times a day…playing uncensored rap music…posting something controversial on Facebook, or defending former U.S. Representative Todd Akin in class could now constitute “harassment”…in a hypothetical 500-person lecture…the one person who takes offense to slide five has the power to silence the professor, and to keep the 499 other students from hearing the speech in question. The Supreme Court some time ago referred to this tactic as “burning the house to roast the pig,” and has consistently ruled it unconstitutional…But by the time a challenge makes its way up to the Supreme Court…the bureaucrats will have already succeeded in establishing a permanent cultural change such that students won’t even be tempted to say something of a sexual or even, very likely, a gender-related nature, nor engage in dating activity, that might possibly disturb an overly sensitive fellow student…
Technically, a male student could just as easily use this awful policy against a female one as vice-versa, but I think we all recognize that this is both relatively unlikely and liable to face a much higher – perhaps even normal – burden of proof. Unless something is done to overturn this (and I have little faith that it will be), the neofeminists now have a tool with which they can drive out as many of the remaining minority of male university students as they wish, and dumb down what passes for discourse until it challenges, stimulates and educates exactly nobody.
Well, that whole “higher education” thing was nice while it lasted.