Report: Joe Biden’s Vow to Expand Title IX Seeks to ‘Shape Sexual Norms of Future Generations’

college students
Getty Images/ Vasyl Dolmatov

A new report at the Institute for Family Studies warns Joe Biden’s promise to expand Title IX campus sex assault protections will attempt to empower his radical administration’s bureaucrats to “shape the sexual norms of future generations.”

Manhattan Institute Fellow Kay S. Hymowitz observed that, in 2011, the Obama administration launched its “Dear Colleague” letter to college and university deans to express its horror at what it claimed were “statistics on sexual violence” that “are both deeply troubling and a call to action for the nation.”

“A report prepared for the National Institute of Justice found that about 1 in 5 women are victims of completed or attempted sexual assault while in college,” the letter stated.

Biden himself later repeated the already debunked “1 in 5” statistic to support his condemnation of the Trump education department’s plan to revoke the Obama Dear Colleague letter:

“Betsy DeVos’ new Title IX rules will discourage sexual assault reporting and investigations,” Biden tweeted. “When 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault while in college, we can’t afford to go backwards.”

However, the statistics published by the Obama-era Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are “wildly at odds with the official crime statistics,” asserted American Enterprise Institute (AEI) resident scholar and former philosophy professor Christina Hoff Sommers, in a fact-check video:

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the actual rate of sexual assault on college campuses is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or .03 in 5. The rate of rape and sexual assault for non-students is actually 1.2 times higher than for students – 7.6 per 1,000.

“Where did the CDC find more than a million and nearly 14 million victims of sexual violence that professional criminologists somehow overlooked?” Sommers posed the question in the video. “It found them by using a poorly constructed telephone survey with a low response rate and a non-representative sample of respondents. No one interviewed was asked if they had been raped or sexually assaulted.”

Armed with the false “1 in 5” statistic, however, the Obama administration threatened to cut funding to colleges and universities who did not implement its policy.

The Obama administration also instructed colleges and universities to use the lesser “preponderance of evidence” standard to resolve allegations of sexual misconduct, rather than the higher “clear and convincing evidence” standard.

To promote its policy, the Obama-era education department engaged the media with the CDC report’s statistic, and even the former president himself repeated it in his speeches.

The Obama prescribed “guidance,” however, relegated due process for mostly young men accused of sexual assault to the bottom file drawer.

In 2017, the Trump administration revoked that “guidance,” giving significant attention not only to the concerns of students who were alleged victims of sexual attacks, but also those accused of sexual assault, and then denied their due process rights, in what former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called campus “kangaroo courts.”

“We need to remember that we’re not just talking about faceless ‘cases,’” DeVos said. “We are talking about people’s lives. Everything we do must recognize this before anything else.”

DeVos said the system put into place by the Obama administration had failed both alleged sexual assault victims and the accused. The secretary addressed the trend the intimidating Obama-era guidance had promoted in which “any perceived offense can become a full-blown Title IX investigation.”

Feminists and LGBT activists condemned the Trump administration for inviting students, who had been falsely accused and disciplined for sexual assault under the Obama-era Title IX guidance, to be heard in “listening sessions.”

In his campaign’s plan to end violence against women, Biden vowed to “expand survivors’ reporting rights and options on college campuses.”

“Any backstepping on Title IX is unacceptable,” Biden’s campaign stated about the Trump administration’s emphasis on the due process rights of the accused. “The Biden Administration will restore the Title IX guidance for colleges, including the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, which outlined for schools how to fairly conduct Title IX proceedings.”

The campaign added:

Through regulatory guidance, Biden will require all administrators and staff who participate in a Title IX investigative process or may interact with a survivor at any point in the reporting process to participate in training on victim-centered, trauma-informed interview techniques. He will also require staff who develop prevention education programs or may interact with a survivor at any point in the reporting process to undergo training on the role of technology in sexual violence, dating violence, stalking, and harassment, an emerging challenge that is too often insufficiently understood.

Hymowitz noted that Biden’s plan to further expand involvement of his education department’s Office for Civil Rights in campus sex assault accusations will broaden the already existing “byzantine web of federal agencies, laws, regulations, guidance letters, state laws, and Title IX offices” that claim to be protecting students from sexual assault, harassment, and sexual discrimination.

Additionally, however, citing a 2016 California Law Review article by Jacob Gerson and Jeannie Suk, titled “The Sex Bureaucracy,” Hymowitz warned the Biden administration will now be “in the business … of regulating ‘ordinary desire.’”

She explained the irony of further engaging a distant federal government in the sexual behavior of college-age students:

Today’s authority is remote, arbitrary and out of touch with human, especially late adolescent, realties. The OCR defines sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” (my italics) including “verbal conduct.” Students used to rapping along with Megan Thee Stallion risk the ire of administrators who risk an investigation by the federal government for “making sexual comments, jokes, or gestures,” and “displaying or distributing sexually explicit drawings, pictures or written materials.”

“The Biden administration promises to “empower and protect young people” by broadening Title IX powers,” Hymowitz observed. “What it will really be doing is empowering an overweening and remote bureaucracy to try—and undoubtedly fail—to shape the sexual norms of future generations.”


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