Friday, May 29, 2015

"Feminism Devouring Itself": Laura Kipnis' Bizarre Title IX Case

File under "When You've Lost Jezebel" Dep't, Laura Kipnis describes her Title IX persecution for a piece she wrote in February about instructors being forbidden to date students, borne of a "feminism hijacked by melodrama". The subsequent reaction ended up in the hands of the Title IX coordinator; after much back-and-forth, and no indication whatsoever of what the "charges" were she faced:
Apparently the idea was that they’d tell me the charges, and then, while I was collecting my wits, interrogate me about them. The term "kangaroo court" came to mind. I wrote to ask for the charges in writing. The coordinator wrote back thanking me for my thoughtful questions.

What I very much wanted to know, though there was apparently no way of finding it out, was whether this was the first instance of Title IX charges filed over a publication. Was this a test case? From my vantage point, it seemed to pit a federally mandated program against my constitutional rights, though I admit my understanding of those rights was vague.
Kipnis notes that, "a Title IX charge can now be brought against a professor over a tweet. Also that my tweets were apparently being monitored." It's hard to look at this and think it is anything other than an administrative structure engineered to pursue witch hunts, i.e. it has no value other than as a sort of jobs program for a certain class of otherwise unemployables.

Oh, it gets better; during her examination by the telephone sanitizers:
My Midwestern Torquemadas were perfectly pleasant at our on-campus meeting — they’d indeed flown to town to meet in person — so pleasant that I relaxed and became overvoluble, stupidly gratified by their interest and attentions. There I was, expounding on my views about power and feminism; soon I was delivering a mini-seminar on the work of Michel Foucault. Later, replaying the two-and-a-half-hour session in my mind, I thought, "You chump," realizing that I’d probably dug a hundred new holes for myself.
Well, yes. You expected otherwise?

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