Professor Cleared of Wrongdoing in Title IX Investigation Prompted Criticism of Title IX

Laura Kipnis, the Northwestern University professor who had two Title IX complaints filed against her, has been cleared of wrongdoing by the law firm hired to investigate the claims.

Kipnis was informed Friday evening that the law firm investigating her claims had found the “preponderance of evidence does not support the complaint allegations.” She described the letters during a radio interview on Sunday but reportedly refused to go into detail about the firm’s findings.

The Title IX complaints were filed after Kipnis wrote an essay critical of the “sexual paranoia” on campus. Two grad students claimed the essay (and a subsequent tweet) had a chilling effect on rape reporting on campus and, in addition to the formal complaints, demanded the school’s president condemn the article.

In a follow-up essay published Friday (before the letters clearing her arrived) Kipnis described a confusing Title IX investigation process which allowed, “anyone with a grudge, a political agenda, or a desire for attention,” to leverage the system. Although she did not know the outcome of the case at the time, she wrote the piece in the belief that her rights to academic freedom and free speech would protect her from the complaints.

According to Kipnis, the problem in not just the arcane process, but a progressive culture which encourages students to declare themselves vulnerable and demand trigger-warnings and safe spaces to maintain their emotional stability. That burden, and the penalty for failing to meet it, are being placed on the shoulders of university professors who now live in fear of saying the wrong thing.

“Most academics I know — this includes feminists, progressives, minorities, and those who identify as gay or queer — now live in fear of some classroom incident spiraling into professional disaster,” Kipnis wrote.

The students who filed the complaints against Professor Kipnis have 10 days to appeal the decision.


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