Title IX And Campus Equality

Under Title IX, a woman is entitled to equal access to everything on a college campus. That includes being safe. The most devastating thing is a young girl who reports something and ends up three days later in biology class with the young man still sitting next to her. So we are trying to work on three things: Make it clear that colleges have an obligation to publicly report [cases of violence against women] and to take action against a perpetrator.

Says Joe Biden, veep, in an interview with Glamour—the name means the state of being to which men and women aspire, in, of course, equal numbers.

And this may be true, given Mr Biden’s predilection for hair plugs and teeth whitening. But never mind. What is of real importance is that Biden, and through him our overseers at the Department of Education, are expanding Title IX to areas other than access to sports.

According to Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Russlynn H. Ali—did you know we had one of these?—the Department “will use all of the tools at our disposal including … withholding federal funds … to ensure that women are free from sexual violence” on campuses (this and all other quotes, except noted otherwise, are from a Chronicle of Higher Education article by “Christina Hoff Sommers“.)

Colleges “that fail to pursue offenders aggressively can be found in violation of Title IX and lose federal government funds.” And by “offenders,” Ali means men accused, but not necessarily convicted of, sexual harassment, etc. Ali would have colleges adjudicate claims against men using “college disciplinary committees.”

Many colleges employ a “beyond a reasonable doubt” or a “clear and convincing” standard. (Roughly speaking, “beyond a reasonable doubt” requires a 98-percent certainty of guilt; clear and convincing, an 80-percent certainty.) Ali, however, orders all colleges to adopt the far-less-demanding standard of “preponderance of the evidence.” Using that standard, a defendant can be found guilty if members of a disciplinary committee believe there is slightly more than a 50/50 chance that he committed the crime.

This is Sommers speaking. I would hate to think that we ever adopt an actual numerical value for the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt criterion, in court or in colleges. If we did, then we would look forward to the farce of lawyers bringing as expert witnesses statisticians who claim to “prove” that the the probability of guilt is only 97.5%, thus the defendant should go free. Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s statistician would argue that the real probability is 98.2%. It would be the sorry spectacle of p-values all over again.

But Sommers is at least right that the (thankfully undefined) probability associated with the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard is higher than that associated with the clear-and-convincing standard. And that itself is higher than the probability associated with the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard. Finally, the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard really does imply that the probability of guilt, given whatever evidence exists, must be greater than 50% for a judgment of guilt to be handed out.

Mathematically speaking, this is nearly equivalent to the coin-flip standard. Bring a young man before his inquisitors and flip a coin: if heads, he is booted off campus and handed over to the press; if tails, he is put on probation and a watch list, and made to enroll in Gender Theory 101.

Ali wants these new stringent standards because she claims that “19 percent, or almost one in five women, will be a victim of assault or attempted assault during their college years.” That “19 percent” is a marketing number, the kind that appear in miracle diet pill advertisements. It seems wonderful (to Assistant Secretaries for Civil Rights contemplating job security), but it falls apart under close examination.

Take another look at what constitutes the “19 percent.” It includes not just women assaulted (the rate Sommer’s quotes is 1 in 40), but those who “suffered” an “attempted assault”, which in English means “no assault.” Now, some of these attempted assaults were violent and the women just escaped from actual assaults, but many of these events are wholly subjective and may be nothing more than being the recipient of “elevator eyes.”

Now, you might ask what business does the Department of Education have to do with matters criminal? After all, he folk who populate this beneficent bureaucracy are not hired because of their experience in criminal justice, and whose members wouldn’t know a habeas from a corpus. The answer would seem to be that the DOE has no business whatsoever—which is to say, none—in matters of criminality.

But this is the federal government, that ever-expanding behemoth. It is a place where Assistant Secretaries for Civil Rights can, at will, re-write the entire criminal code to suit her prejudices.


  1. Speed

    So we are trying to work on three things: Make it clear that colleges have an obligation to publicly report [cases of violence against women] and to take action against a perpetrator [and something else I can’t remember].

  2. DAV

    “a woman is entitled to equal access to everything on a college campus”

    Including the men’s room?

    “girl who reports something and ends up three days later in biology class with the young man still sitting next to her”

    So, according to Biden, men aren’t entitled to presumption of innocence? Much as I have issues with Obama we can only hope he survives his term. Biden is far more dangerous.

    “some of these attempted assaults were violent and the women just escaped from actual assaults”

    I think you may be confusing “assault” with “battery”. Assault would be imminent threats or actions. How one might “attempt” this in a manner which is obvious without succeeding is an interesting conundrum.

  3. Doug M

    Title IX doesn’t actually say a thing about athletics. However, there is a specific exemption for beauty pagents have a clause.

    Sexual harrassment — The EEOC enforces sexual harrassment law in the workplace. But, there is no law that applies to schools. If a professor wants to trade sex for grades, that is an ethics issue within the school. Is it necessisary for the federal government to get involved, or is that governmental over-reach?

    Sexual assault is a crime pure and simple.

    DAV, we had unisex bathrooms in college.

  4. Ray

    The educrats also have their knickers in a knot because women are not equally represented in physics, math and engineering. They want to establish quotas like in sports. So, if only three women sign up for an engineering course only three men will be allowed to take the course.

    When I was an undergrad we joked that the education majors were the dumbest kids on campus. I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary in 50 years since I was an undergrad.

  5. andy

    Of course speaking of ‘elevator eyes’ there is a brouhaha in the atheist web as some bird got chatted up badly by a drunk at an atheist conference in a lift and she was OUTRAGED!

    Worth a laugh at least ……..these people are rational you know!

  6. andy

    Chatted up in the lift at the conference, the conference was not in the lift…sorry.

  7. JH

    Yes, one might say that an attempted assault, in English, means no assault. Just as an attempted murder, in English, means no murder. I personally think “no assault” and “an attempted assault” carry different meanings.

    To me, the real message is that ANY attempt to assault our daughters and sons should be condemned! The more people speak out against violence against women on campus, the better it is for our young adults of both gender.

    No, equal access doesn’t mean equal numbers. Note that Title IX requires that male and female students be provided with equal opportunities.

  8. Adam H

    JH: In my experience, girls can join any male sports team (I could be wrong). So aren’t girl’s and boy’s opportunities equal, before the addition of girl’s only squads?

    And when opportunities = number of roster slots… then yes, equal access means equal numbers.

  9. JH

    Adam H,

    My male colleges and I have equal access to the university library… hmmm… does equal access mean equal opportunity? Maybe not in all cases.

    If, to you, equal opportunity means that any girls can join any male sports team (or vice versa), then it sure is logical for you to conclude that they have equal opportunities.

    I can tell you that it’s not my definition of equal opportunity. And I do know that Title IX can be applied to both genders.

    I’d love to know a case in which “opportunity = number of roster slots and therefore equal access means equal numbers.” Mind sharing?

  10. GoneWithTheWind

    I do not understand why or how a college is any different then anywhere else in the city. If someone is raped or mugged why would they be treated differentlyu on a campus.

    One of the problems with the guilty until proven innocent result of treating any group as a protected class is that the statistics contradict the objective. Some years back the stats showed that 59% of rape claims are false claims. Why not give equal justice. Don’t we already have enough innocent people in jail?

  11. Title IX assumes that men and women want to participate in extracurricular activities in equal numbers. This “ain’t necessarily so”, so you have ludicrous occurrences such as teams with nobody on them, or men’s teams (and in practice, it’s always the men’s teams, you are being disingenuous when you refer to the sex-neutral language in the code) getting shut down or having their funding cut. Participation is up to the individual, and if you don’t like the choices large numbers of women are making to ignore the flyers for the girls’ boxing or Greco-Roman wrestling teams, then you should take it up with them.

    You’re also being disingenuous when you demand examples of equal numbers of roster slots. How do you propose to measure “equality”? As the entire edifice of Title IX is built on the shaky axiom that desire to participate is equal between men and women (and thereby, of course, that any imbalance in favour of men is ipso facto sexism), then quotas follow logically from that.

    I think that you, and those who think like you, define “equality” in a very self serving way, and any attempt to find exactly what you mean by it is like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Equality of opportunity and equality of outcome are very different things, and there are a myriad of ways of measuring outcome.

    Will you be happy once roster quotas state there must be an exactly equal number of men and women engaged in extracurricular activities? Of course not, due to the massive draw of varsity football there may be funding imbalances. And what if one girl wants to leave her team? Should she be forced to stay, on penalty of fines and expulsion for violating Title IX?

    Will you be happy once spending is equal on the men’s and women’s teams of each sport? Of course not, the recruiting drives for women to get involved in boxing will be the chief activity of the women’s boxing team, and you of course will feel “harrassed” every time some dude with a cauliflower ear and a cabbage nose tries to get you to join the team.

    Will you be happy once pay and incentives are equal for men’s and women’s sport? Of course not, men’s football is a vastly greater turnstile draw than the female equivalent, so either the women’s team would be a funding blackhole, or men’s football will be unable to hire so much as a ballboy. And what if women still thought better of ruining their spines by running into one another full pelt? Would there be enough in the budget to hire a line of NKVD behind your goal line to shoot deserters?

    The fact you seem to feel your library is a hotbed of incipient sexism is perhaps a warning of how far we’d have to merrily waltz down the road of leftist authoritarianism before you’d stop hectoring us.

  12. JH

    Mr. Tony Montana,

    I sincerely don’t recognize myself in the motives or imagine you attribute (to me) in your comments. I don’t remember having defined “equal opportunity” here. I don’t feel my library is a hotbed of incipient sexism…

    So I assume that your comments are not directed at me. If they are, you have quite an imagination.

    But I hear you.

    BTW, do you ever wonder why some people like to put words in other people’s mouth?

  13. JH

    “in the motives or image”

  14. Of course I’m outraged by the substance reported here, but if the claim that 98% represents ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is true, that’s even more reason to be outraged!

    One in fifty convictions is of an innocent? In a place where capital punishment is practised?

    Of course, assigning probabilities such as this is ridiculous. But it is surprising that Sommers would not realise the implications of what she is writing.

    Or, since it has to do with numbers, perhaps it is not so surprising.

  15. Adam H


    First, I don’t know anything about title IX. I’m not trying to argue with you, I’m trying to learn. Don’t lump me in with Tony 🙂

    What does “equal opportunity” mean? Is it different from “equal opportunities”? I was assuming that “equal access” meant equal opportunity. I would love definitions for all of these phrases that we keep throwing around haphazardly.

    I don’t understand your point about the library. Are you saying that males and females do NOT have equal opportunities regarding libraries? Why?

    I’m almost positive that male and female sports must have the same number of scholarships available at a publicly funded institution. Or they must have the same expenses, or at least, something is quantitative. The feds look at some NUMBERS to determine if a school is complying with Title IX. Therefore, it seems obvious to me that “equal opportunity”/”equal access” (in the eyes of the Government) means equal numbers.

  16. Doug M

    Adam H,

    A breif history of Title IX — Title IX says federally funded schools will not descriminate nor deny opportunities based on gender. It then goes on to provide a list of exemptions for the military academies, schools that are run by the chruch, fraternities, etc.

    It is quite vague and only a page or two long, leaving interpretation up to the bureaucrats. It never actually mentions athletics, but the DoE decided that was a clear place of denied opportunity. More athletic scolarships are given to men than are given to women. It put the gun to the head of many schools to either drop men’s teams or find the money to add more womens teams until some sort of ballance was achieved.

    At this point there is very much a quota in place. When the university of California faced budget cuts, in order to save the baseball team, boosters had to raise the money to save the womens softball team, and the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams as well.

  17. Since we are focused on institutions of higher LEARNING here, it would be interesting to know if title IX guarantees an equal number of academic scholarships alongside an equal number of athletic scholarships.

    “Attempted assault” … Gotta love it!!! An English-challenged [logic challenged?] bureaucrat influencing policy at American universities.

    TANSTAAFL, you get what you pay for. I’d say we have the best politicians we could buy.

  18. JH

    Adam H,

    Access to the library: I was wondering whether access = opportunity. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word “equal” in the example.

    If title IX requires the same number or amount of athletic scholarships for male and female athletics, it must have created a great deal of controversy. Is it good or bad? What’s the right thing to do? Things could change. Just as many colleges are now giving slight preference to male applicants in admission. Since getting rid of affirmative action, Berkeley is predominantly Asian. Is this good or bad? I should say it’s good, but I really don’t know.

    I am just trying to learn about different views and thinking. ^_^

  19. Tom S


    A recipient of federal funds can demonstrate compliance with Title IX by meeting any one of the three prongs.

    1. Prong one – Providing athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment, OR

    2. Prong two – Demonstrate a continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex, OR

    3. Prong three – Full and effective accommodation of the interest and ability of underrepresented sex.

  20. Like most politicians, Joe knows very little about anything else but politics.
    And he’s a very shrewd politician.

    He knows women vote.
    He knows they eat drivel like this up in women’s magazines and TV shows like “The View”. The democratic party depends on the female vote and is compelled to satiate their yearning for victimhood, while positioning government as the solution to their fear.

    They don’t care if they have to make up statistics to scare women, as long as women are scared and they’re viewed as the “white knight”. Vote democrat, the party of women, because they understand your needs.

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