Ethics Heroes: 28 Harvard Law Professors

Campus sex is returning to the '50's....the 1850s.

Campus sex is returning to the ’50’s….the 1850s.

In 2011, the Obama Administration threatened universities with a loss of funding if they did not adopt a new “preponderance of the evidence” standard in evaluating alleged student sexual assault and sexual harassment. This was, few doubt, a sop thrown to the combative feminists among the Democratic base, those who detect a culture-wide “war on women” and who seek to cast co-eds as imperiled naifs even as the proclaim themselves the equals of men. Within three years this really bad idea has metastasized into the Campus Sexual Assault Witch Hunt Ethics Train Wreck, which would be getting more media attention but for the fact that the world is falling apart in chunks. Among its weirder effects is the proliferation of new “yes means yes” regulations, effectively taking all spontaneity, romance and fun out of sex, all in the service of dubious and cynically employed campus rape statistics. Take this, for example:

“Consider the sexual consent policy of California’s Claremont McKenna College, shared almost verbatim with other schools such as Occidental College in Los Angeles. Paragraphs long, consisting of multiple sections and subsections, and embedded within an even wordier 44-page document on harassment and sexual misconduct, Claremont’s sexual consent rules resemble nothing so much as a multilawyer-drafted contract for the sale and delivery of widgets, complete with definitions, the obligations of “all” (as opposed to “both”) parties, and the preconditions for default. “Effective consent consists of an affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed upon (and the conditions of) sexual activity,” the authorities declare awkwardly. The policy goes on to elaborate at great length upon each of the “essential elements of Consent”—“Informed and reciprocal,” “Freely and actively given,” “Mutually understandable,” “Not indefinite,” “Not unlimited.” “All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting”—think: signing a mortgage—“and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way,” declare Claremont’s sex bureaucrats.”

Cheers, then, are due to 28 Harvard Law professors, who authored and signed a letter protesting Harvard University’s capitulation to the Obama Administration’s blackmail and urging the University to reject the new standards:

Some highlights:

  • “Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation. Here our concerns include but are not limited to the following….The absence of any adequate opportunity to discover the facts charged and to confront witnesses and present a defense at an adversary hearing…The failure to ensure adequate representation for the accused, particularly for students unable to afford representation.”
  • “As teachers responsible for educating our students about due process of law, the substantive law governing discrimination and violence, appropriate administrative decision-making, and the rule of law generally, we find the new sexual harassment policy inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach. We also find the process by which this policy was decided and imposed on all parts of the university inconsistent with the finest traditions of Harvard University, of faculty governance, and of academic freedom.”
  • “Harvard has inappropriately expanded the scope of forbidden conduct…by adopting a definition of sexual harassment that goes significantly beyond Title IX and Title VII law….adopting rules governing sexual conduct between students both of whom are impaired or incapacitated, rules which are starkly one-sided as between complainants and respondents, and entirely inadequate to address the complex issues in these unfortunate situations involving extreme use and abuse of alcohol and drugs by our students…”
  • “Harvard has pursued a process in arriving at its new sexual harassment policy which violates its own finest traditions of academic freedom and faculty governance…”
  • “Harvard apparently decided simply to defer to the demands of certain federal administrative officials, rather than exercise independent judgment about the kind of sexual harassment policy that would be consistent with law and with the needs of our students and the larger university community…”
  • “Harvard failed to engage a broad group of faculty from its different schools, including the law school, in the development of the new sexual harassment policy. And Harvard imposed its new sexual harassment policy on all the schools by fiat without any adequate opportunity for consultation by the relevant faculties….
  • “We call on the university to withdraw this sexual harassment policy and begin the challenging project of carefully thinking through what substantive and procedural rules would best balance the complex issues involved in addressing sexual conduct and misconduct in our community.The goal must not be simply to go as far as possible in the direction of preventing anything that some might characterize as sexual harassment. The goal must instead be to fully address sexual harassment while at the same time protecting students against unfair and inappropriate discipline, honoring individual relationship autonomy, and maintaining the values of academic freedom. …The university’s sexual harassment policy departs dramatically from these legal principles, jettisoning balance and fairness in the rush to appease certain federal administrative officials.”
  • “We recognize that large amounts of federal funding may ultimately be at stake. But Harvard University is positioned as well as any academic institution in the country to stand up for principle in the face of funding threats. The issues at stake are vitally important to our students, faculties, and entire community.”

Summary: a liberal administration in Washington whistled, a campus already dictated to by political correctness heeled, Harvard administrator backbones dissolved out and sacrificed the University’s and the Constitution’s basic principles as eagerly as less-richly endowed schools that really need the Federal money being used to bribe them to make all male students potential rapists, and some of the best legal minds in  the country, conservative and liberal, have shamed Harvard and told it to shape up and be the leader of academia it keeps claiming to be.



Source: Boston Globe, Chronicle of Higher Education,

Graphic: Slate

24 thoughts on “Ethics Heroes: 28 Harvard Law Professors

  1. Hmmm. Who could have predicted this?
    Pity the young man who offends a girl on campus. One false accusation and his life is over.
    This could prevent more sexual encounters than moral puritanism ever did. Also college attendance numbers will fall again and a college education will cost a whole lot more than money. Although the monetary cost of attending college will inevitably go up as well.

      • No one is truly behind it. It’s the result of the thousand and one unforeseen consequences of letting bureaucracies dictate the terms of our lives.
        The college adopts an unfair policy, because they do not want negative publicity. The politicians who foisted it on them are appeasing a special interests group that doesn’t think too deeply about the consequences of the policies they demand. The special interest group is fueled by misleading information delivered in 20-second sound bites by media that is chasing viewers or page views, and is only designed to titillate and outrage, not to inform. Which in turn is driven by many of us, the citizens, who have the attention span of goldfish and little in the way of critical thinking, probably because we went to a college that was more concerned with socially progressive policies than with education.

  2. An excellent argument for legalization of prostitution, where placing the money in the envelope, and acceptance thereof is clear evidence of consent. After all, if every poor sap has to have witnesses and a legal opinion before ATTEMPTING to engage a potentially willing/not willing/who-knows-what-she-means member of the opposite sex, one might as well take out the knife and cut-em off right now, and join the castrati choir. (Might be great for growth of choral music, though)

    But I’m sure the Femi-Nazis won’t see it that way.

  3. Finally someone at a university somewhere got a backbone! That it’s 28 someones is encouraging! I really really hope Harvard rethinks its rules and that this will encourage others at other schools to speak out. Universities should not be substituting for the justice system.

  4. Instructive here might be the cautionary tale of one Dr. Judith Grossman, who helped craft a world that deems the Y-Chromosomal as a lower form of life.

    “I am a feminist. I have marched at the barricades, subscribed to Ms. magazine, and knocked on many a door in support of progressive candidates committed to women’s rights. Until a month ago, I would have expressed unqualified support for Title IX and for the Violence Against Women Act.”

    The talented Dr. Grossman, her life’s work consumed with making this a better world for at least half of us (myself, as an evil male, part of the “other half”) received an epiphany that would be politely described as “poetic justice.

    Her own little bundle of joy was ensnared by the world she helped to craft.

    “But that was before my son, a senior at a small liberal-arts college in New England, was charged—by an ex-girlfriend—with alleged acts of “nonconsensual sex” that supposedly occurred during the course of their relationship A FEW YEARS EARLIER. (bolds mine).

    “What followed was a nightmare—a fall through Alice’s looking-glass into a world that I could not possibly have believed existed, least of all behind the ivy-covered walls thought to protect an ostensible dedication to enlightenment and intellectual betterment.”

    She was positively aghast that Sonny would not be afforded the presumption of innocence.

    The humanity!

    I’m reminded of what Major G. F. Devin (Peter Jason) presciently tells Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood) in “Heartbreak Ridge.”

    “Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.”

  5. Thank you Jack, I’ve been railing about that Dear Colleague letter for more than a year. That women have issues that need to be addressed is clear, and although we may not always agree on what those issues are and how to best go about addressing those issues, I think… I hope… that we can agree that expanding the definition of rape to include sex acts performed after a beer or in absence of a positive verbal response every 15 seconds isn’t the answer. It’s insane.

    What genuinely surprises me is that men and boys at college aren’t more wary of sex on campus than they are after these changes, if I had a chance, no matter how small that my education might be hijacked by a woman put-off because she didn’t approve of the act post-coitus I’d just avoid the act entirely. Although it bears saying that there have been recent articles outlining how those boys are (and I’m paraphrasing) wusses and need to sack up and start having sex with the campus girls that want sex, because those girls are put off by the relative scarcity of willing men. And good for them.

    That said… I’ve said it all before. I would just love some self proclaimed feminist to try to defend this practise. You never win arguments with feminists, you educate your audience.

      • Klein referenced a 2007 survey that I want to draw a little bit of attention to.

        Click to access 221153.pdf

        He used that survey to back up the 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime statistic, which was in turn used as justification for yes means yes.

        The survey took an insanely small sample group (two universities) and aimed for a relatively small actual sample size (4000 women and 1000 men, which shows the inherent bias before even getting started). They blew that target out of the water with 16000 female respondents and 14000 male respondents. (Although it might be worth noting that the surveys only received a participation rate of 42% for women and 33% for men, which creates an innate selection bias.) They also removed from the study full time students, students over the age of 25 and students under the age of 18. Read: Students who are less likely to engage in risky behavior, further weighing the stats. If an 86 year old woman goes to school, is she less likely to be raped? Is she less of a woman?

        But those aren’t the disqualifying problems. No. Page 3-3 brings up that they used “Gender Specific Programming” and goes on to outline how they asked women about their “Experiences” while asking men about their “Behaviors” removing the possibility that men are victims of rape, or that women can be perpetrators of rape (if being drunk while performing a sex act removes consent, is it less a rape when he’s drunk and she isn’t? And if that’s rape, wouldn’t those stats be relevant?) Further, on page 3-5 it outlines how the female respondents were asked about their experiences, and whether they thought it was rape or not, then disregarded the respondents feelings to change the label of things that the respondents didn’t feel was rape to rape (most prevalent in the presence of alcohol.).

        So to recap: We’re only going to survey people we think are most likely to be sexually active, we’re going to decide that women can only be victims, and men can only be perpetrators, we think that women are too stupid to know when they have actually given consent, and we’re going to reflect all of that in our methodology. Then we’re going to spin like a top when our 1 in five statistic flies in the face of reality, where fewer than 10% of American Universities have do deal with even a reported rape.

  6. Sometimes I think we might be better off to return to single-sex higher education, where college was about learning, not getting drunk or stoned and screwing. I went to single-sex high school, and, although it had its share of problems, it had none of this crap. I know that’s unlikely, BUT, there’s got to be a better way to handle hundreds of 18-year-old adults-in-name-only away from home for the first time and with very little supervision than to either shrug, say “you were both probably drunk” and look the other way, when something happens, as a lot of colleges used to do, and impose draconian rules like this where there is a presumption of guilt and a charge is as good as a conviction.

    I count myself lucky to already be long done with college, because the consequences of these draconian rules aren’t going to fall on the big popular jocks, rich kids, or frat presidents, who will always have someone to go to bat for them and make sure they get a slap on the wrist, nothing more. They are going to fall on folks like me, who never quite fit in or were socially awkward, who just might have the temerity to try to strike up a not-so-skilled conversation or ask a girl out on a date who thought we were playing out of our league. It’s very easy to take an awkward conversation, a date request that falls flat or, God forbid, a harmless but not absolutely wanted touch, and manufacture sexual harassment or predatory behavior. The socially awkward student who has no coach or rich parent or national fraternity to defend him is going to be faced with either spending 4 years keeping his head down and his mouth closed and hiding out in the library or the very real possibility of being thrown out in disgrace for a benign but clumsy interaction that the woman decides “makes her uncomfortable.”

    • It’s very easy to take an awkward conversation, a date request that falls flat or, God forbid, a harmless but not absolutely wanted touch, and manufacture sexual harassment or predatory behavior.

      Is there any real-world examples or data to confirm this?

  7. “Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party’s sexual puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. The way she put it was: “When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?”

    That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account. They had played a similar trick with the instinct of parenthood. The family could not actually be abolished, and, indeed, people were encouraged to be fond of their children, in almost the old-fashioned way. The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately.” – 1984

    You’ll need permission from the party in order to have sex – a chit, applied for and signed off on. Happy people can’t be controlled (and controlled people can’t be happy.) This rule makes intelligent men tremble at the threat that interacting with a woman can become – and fools will find themselves collared by it. Women must bear the consequences of a) having fewer willing partners, and b) living amongst a cowed and timid male population. Everyone is made miserable.

    Although it does no good to assume nefarious sources to every shift in the law books, it does pay to remember: there are people – eloquent people – who believe humanity is a blight upon the face of the earth, and should be exterminated. Those who believe that the kindest thing that can be done to a man is to bind him hand and foot with the shackles of tyranny. Those who believe that the male gender is a threat and should be abolished. Currently, their star is ascendant. No, it does no good to wonder which of them set a law like this in motion, or if, indeed, it was not sheer human stupidity. But it is perhaps helpful to remember that they exist, and a rule like this only helps them.

    The law should be a sturdy board in a well-made and maintained fence. Rules like this are only good for links in a chain.

  8. Well, this is the law now in California. The law is referred to as “yes means yes”, but that isn’t true. It should be called “No means no, and yes can also mean no, and no, you can’t tell when anything is a yes anymore”. Now, this is being based on Title IX, which states , in part, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” But these ‘rape’ policies are based completely on discrimination based on sex. If you look at the Occidental College case, the university decided that the woman was drunk, so she couldn’t consent to sex. The man was also just as drunk, but instead of deciding that he couldn’t consent to sex either and they both raped each other, it was decided that the male should have been able to determine the woman’s state and that her consent was meaningless despite being inebriated (wow, men should be exempt from DUI laws).

    The big problem is that these policies’ definition of ‘rape’ is really an affront to rape victims and an affront to the idea that women are capable of rational thought and making adult decisions. Under this definition, no one forces the woman to have sex, she can even initiate it. It is actually impossible for a man to know if he is raping a woman or not under these policies. She can consent before having sex, during sex, and even after sex, but if she later decides she shouldn’t have done that, at that point it is rape. This requires men to be able to read minds IN THE FUTURE. The reason for this is that the women are not being treated as adults who can make their own decisions. Being able to make your own decisions means dealing with the consequences. The male student in the Occidental case could easily have sobered up, realized what he had done, and really regretted his actions. He however, is required to be responsible and just get over it. This is considered beyond the capabilities of women. The obvious solution is that women under a certain age, say 50, should be required to have a male guardian legally assigned to them. Before a woman can decide if she has sex, her guardian would be required to assess the situation, decide if the the specific situation warrants the woman having sex, decide if she truly wishes to have sex, and decide if she will regret having this sexual encounter at some later time. He then can certify to the man that the woman actually wants to have sex or not. Any man who has sex with a woman (even if he is married to her) without the guardian’s written analysis and permission is guilty of rape. The guardian’s analysis and guidance could also be used in women voting, driving, spending money, etc. There, that should fix it. That should make the feminists happy?!? Am I the only one confused about what ‘equal rights’ means or what feminists want anymore?

    • We’re a long way from the time 35 years ago that a distinguished professor (undergrad) told us, in my all-male college Poli Sci class, that “…if she says no, she means maybe; if she says maybe, she means yes, and if she says yes, she’s not the kind of girl you want to be going around with.” Yes, an inappropriate attitude, but, has the pendulum swung too far? and is there any hope of “centering” it?

      • Did he complete the example and point out that: “If a politician says yes, they mean maybe; if they say maybe, they mean no; if they say no, they aren’t really a politician.”?

        • Superb corollary to the above. He was a Con Law professor, so he might have been able to say how the rule applies to SCOTUS decisions, too.

  9. ” the woman was drunk, so she couldn’t consent to sex. The man was also just as drunk, but instead of deciding that he couldn’t consent to sex either and they both raped each other, it was decided that the male should have been able to determine the woman’s state and that her consent was meaningless despite being inebriated ”

    Yes! and it has been this way for years and no one (usually) sees anything wrong with it. For some reason I haven’t been able to understand for the life of me, these same women who want to be “equal” try and pin more responsibility on drunk men than they are willing to shoulder themselves. They expect to be completely excused for all bad choices they make while drunk while holding men to standards reasonable only while sober. Worse, they are allowed for exact revenge on others for their own bad choices while inebriated. Are they such children that they can’t say ‘Wow, I screwed up last night’ and move on? Are women actually inferior to men and need special protection and absolution, and if so why should I take them seriously at all? Are they one day going to finally stand up and be the equal adults they claim they are? “Equal until the sh*t hits the fan” or “Equal until I say I’m not for convenience’s sake” doesn’t cut it.

    • Memories—the first and most gorgeous woman I dated in college got totally smashed on our initial outing, a cast party of a show I had directed. We were both drunk, she considerably more than I, and she was also, let’s say, flirtatious and physical to an extreme, but also barely conscious. I took her back to her dorm, put her to bed, and left. She didn’t remember much later, but was grateful to the point of embarrassing me over the fact that I didn’t take advantage of her amorous disability. (James Stewart in “The Philadelphia Story”: “You were the somewhat worse for wear and there are rules about such things.”) She also, I believe, decided that I was a weenie and quite possibly gay as a result of the incident, and shortly after began dating a 6’4″ alpha male who in similar circumstances would have been all over her like the Alien at her first come-hither look, no matter how drunk she was.

      Damn. I had almost forgotten all that.

      • Thank your stars that was THEN, and not NOW, Jack. Today, she’d be a lesbo, and, in any case, if not, alpha boy would be in jail, and you’d be going on to law school to prosecute him, because it’s just the law, (of course). Now, THAT’s a fair turnaround, don’t you think?

  10. I wonder if this could lead to enough guys getting together to create their own new, guys-only virtual colleges and universities, so the guys can pursue their education without exposure to such risks of presumed guilt. Nah. It’ll never happen. As soon as they try anything like that, they’ll be prosecuted one way or another, per one excuse or another, for waging a war on women.

Leave a Reply to Michael Ejercito Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.