Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Greg Lukianoff unpacks the latest Big Fed maneuver to control speech on campus through some pretty broad guidelines as to what now constitutes sexual harassment. Addressing a Title Iv and Title IX case at the University of Montana, a letter came to UM from the Justice Department and the Education Department:
But the joint letter, which announced a “resolution agreement” with the university, didn’t stop there. It then proceeded to rewrite the federal government’s rules about sexual harassment and free speech on campus.
Lukianoff is President of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). He writes:
The implications for professors and students are enormous. An unsuccessful request for a date, or even assigning a potentially offensive book like “Lolita,” could now be construed as harassment. As attorney and civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer commented on The Atlantic’s website this week: “The stated goal of this policy is stemming discrimination, but the inevitable result will be advancing it, in the form of content-based prohibitions on speech.”
It seems there is a growing “right not to be offended.” Also, students in some cases may be punished before guilt or innocence is even determined!
Lukianoff is also the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. And an atheist. His book is the subject of an article by Les Sillars, Professor of Journalism at Patrick Henry College in Virginia. The article is “Lukianoff’s Ashes: What a Candid Postmodernist Might Do to an Atheist’s Book Exposing Campus Censorship.” Sillars takes us to a campus book burning where Lukianoff is denounced by the Vice President of the Office of Intellectual Diversity. (Should Lukianoff now watch out for the IRS?)