Facing National Criticism, Feds Attempt to Defend Controversial Campus ‘Blueprint’

 

 

 

 

 

” Following two weeks of blistering criticism from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and commentators nationwide, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is attempting to defend a controversial speech code “blueprint” that requires colleges and universities to expand their definition of sexual harassment to include speech protected by the First Amendment. 

The “blueprint” requires colleges and universities receiving federal funding to define sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (speech). OCR and DOJ explicitly state that an institution’s definition of sexual harassment may not include a “reasonable person” standard, effectively granting the most unreasonably sensitive students the power to determine what sexual or gender-based expression is permissible on campus. OCR even suggests that those accused of sexual harassment must in some instances be punished before an investigation has been completed. Institutions that do not adopt this breathtakingly broad definition, which contradicts decades of legal precedent and OCR’s past guidance, risk being found in violation of Title IX and losing federal funding.”