Phi Beta Cons

Federal Regs Give Colleges Incentives to Stifle Free Speech

Title IX regulations, which came about in 1972 in the form of a Higher Education Act amendment, were aimed at eliminating sex-based discrimination at educational institutions receiving federal funds. Unfortunately, they are worded so vaguely as to give bureaucrats broad, overreaching authority. The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Title IX and controls higher education’s purse strings, uses its power to control a range of campus policies, including those related to sexual harassment. In some instances, such policies have suppressed students’ First Amendment rights. 

In today’s Pope Center Clarion Call, George Leef calls attention to an important case involving a University of Kansas student who in 2013 was ordered by university officials to have no contact with a former girlfriend (she had alleged that he had committed battery against her). Later, while off campus, the male student tweeted insults and called the girl names such as “bitch” and “psycho,” although he never referenced her name or sent her the tweets directly. Students who read the tweets told the girlfriend, who then informed university administrators. Shockingly, the university chose to expel the male student. It claims that its decision is “in accordance with its obligations under Title IX.” The case is now before the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Jesse Saffron — Jesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...

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