Joe Biden has hired some incompetent losers to staff the executive department. Only the most partisan Biden supporter would recognize Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra or Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as competent public servants.
But even those two don’t hold a candle to Catherine Lhamon, whom Biden tapped to head the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Lhamon has developed a reputation as a “believe all women” radical who will make sure that men guilty of harassing or raping a college woman — and some who are entirely innocent — will spend time in prison.
K.C. Johnson, who exposed the Duke Lacrosse fiasco, says of Lhamon, “Perhaps no public figure in the past decade has done more to decimate the rights of accused students than Lhamon.”
But she has all the woke credentials to upend Title IX protections for the accused put in place during the Trump administration.
Her selection is appalling but unsurprising. Lhamon previously served in the same post, assistant secretary for civil rights, from 2013-2017 during the Obama administration, where she used her office to bully colleges and universities into contravening the due process and speech rights of both students and professors.
Using a series of extra-legal “guidance documents,” Barack Obama’s OCR under Lhamon and her predecessor, Russlynn Ali, unilaterally reinterpreted a 40-year-old law and gave the federal government unprecedented authority to dictate what standards and procedures schools must use when handling allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Relying on junk science and bunk statistics from activists (which Biden championed aggressively), they used this newfound authority to push colleges into finding accused students guilty. And in the process, they forced the creation of what has been called a nationwide “college sex bureaucracy,” as schools hired on-campus Title IX coordinators and outside consultants, which has turned into a self-perpetuating morass of feckless campus bureaucrats who continue to threaten the rights of students and professors.
So, thanks for that, Catherine. The radical feminists couldn’t have done it without you.
Lhamon took the reins of OCR in 2013, and things only got worse. She produced a second, 53-page guidance document that further warned colleges against allowing students to cross-examine their accuser (having a lawyer cross-examine on their behalf was already prohibited by most schools) and against prioritizing accused students’ rights to due process. And in a self-proclaimed “blueprint” for Title IX compliance issued in 2013, the Education and Justice departments instructed colleges to adopt a shockingly expansive and unconstitutional definition of sexual harassment, and made clear that conduct needn’t even be considered “objectively offensive” by a “reasonable person” to constitute harassment. Gone was any semblance of an objective standard by which to judge the truth of an accusation that would ruin lives.
Needless to say, men were walking on eggshells around women, never knowing if their date could be a crusader for Title IX justice.
But it was more than accusing men who may or may not have attacked or harassed a woman. It was as much about suppressing free speech.
Lhamon’s coercion campaign worked, and the resulting effects on campus life were as malevolent as expected. Sexual assault investigations were decided via kangaroo courts and star chambers. The boundaries of prohibited speech were expanded so dramatically that even law professors were being called up on Title IX charges for simply discussing sexual jurisprudence. Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education back in 2017, Harvard Law professors Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk Gersen explained, “The concept of sexual misconduct has grown to include most voluntary and willing sexual conduct. … The federal government has created a sex bureaucracy that has in turn conscripted officials at colleges as bureaucrats of desire, responsible for defining healthy, permissible sex and disciplining deviations from those supposed norms. The results are not only cringeworthy but also unfair, potentially racially discriminatory, and detrimental to the crucial fight against sexual violence.”
No one argues that sexual violence should be permissible under any circumstances. But defining “sexual misconduct” or “harassment” in the context of sexual violence is ludicrous. That’s what this radical nutcase wants to do.
Needless to say, she will be in court a lot defending her rules. But while she is, most of those rules will take effect, making normal byplay between men and women a nightmare of wokeness.