Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Bloomberg News took the campus sexual assault backlash to a new low last week with a piece describing how “hook-up culture” is on the decline at elite colleges now that there’s a heightened awareness of sexual assault on campuses. The focus of the article is the “burden” male students carry as a result of new interest in the campus rape epidemic. So what is the burden that is so heavy it warrants an entire article?
- Having to be more cautious about gauging the interest of a romantic pursuit
- Having to avoid making romantic pursuits “feel uncomfortable”
- Having to learn what constitutes consent
- Having to be more cautious about making decisions while drunk
- Having to be more cognizant of how social media comments may appear to others
In other words, the new campus anti-rape movement has made male students more thoughtful and less predatory, but journalist John Lauerman and former Bloomberg intern Jennifer Suraneframe this in negative terms.
Men punished for sexual misconduct in the wave of cases sweeping college campuses are fighting back against what they call unfair student disciplinary systems and publicity that threatens to shatter their reputations.
The current and former college students describe themselves as victims of false accusations amid a national campaign — led by the White House — to stamp out sexual violence on campuses. While the federal push to increase awareness of sexual assault is aimed at keeping students safe and holding the nation’s colleges and universities accountable, some of the accused say the pressure on their schools has led to an unfair tipping of the scales against them.
They fiercely dispute the validity of internal investigations that rely on a lower standard of proof for determining misconduct than what is required for a conviction of a sex crime. They also contest accounts circulating on campuses and the Internet that label them as sexual assailants or rapists.
Joshua Strange, 23, of Spartanburg, S.C., said he was stunned that Auburn University expelled him in 2012 for sexual misconduct even though an Alabama grand jury found insufficient evidence to prosecute him for a sex crime. The internal disciplinary proceeding began, he said, after an ex-girlfriend falsely accused him of sex assault.
Now here's an excellent example of scientific innovation.
USA Today, Nail Polish May Prevent Date Rape
Undergraduates at North Carolina State University are being credited with creating a new kind of nail polish.
The polish doubles as a way to prevent sexual assault, according to the Triangle Business Journal, The nail polish changes color when the person wearing it is exposed to date rape drugs.
So, how does it work?
The person wearing the nail polish has to use their finger to stir their drink. If the drink has a date rape drug in it, the nail polish changes color.
The Washington Post reports that 55% of about 1,570 colleges and universities with more than 1,000 students received at least one report of forcible sex offense on campus in 2012. From 2010 to 2012 there were 14 forcible sex offenses reported on N.C. State's campus.
Undercover Colors, which was started by four males students, is raising money to refine the prototype and to pay executives.
The company won the Lulu eGames this spring, which is sponsored by N.C. State's Entrepreneurship initiative. The contest challenges students to design working solutions to real-world problems.
[h/t Stefan Padfield]
Sunday, August 31, 2014
I received a request from Prof. Charlotte Garden at Seattle to post about the upcoming Lat Crit-SALT conference, which I am happy to do.
Twelfth Annual LatCrit-SALT Call for Participation Junior Faculty Development Workshop October 9, 2014 University of Nevada-Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
LatCrit, Inc. and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) are pleased to invite interested participants to the Twelfth Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop (FDW), immediately preceding the SALT Teaching Conference. This annual workshop is designed for critical, progressive, and social justice oriented pre-tenure professors, including clinicians and legal writing professors, as well as those who may be contemplating a teaching career. However, we also encourage more senior members of the profession to attend, share their experience, and serve as resources and mentors.
The FDW is designed to familiarize critical, progressive, and social justice oriented junior faculty with LatCrit and SALT principles and values and support them in the scholarship, teaching, and service aspects of professional success. In addition, the FDW seeks to foster scholarship in progressive, social justice, and critical outsider jurisprudence, including LatCrit theory, among new and junior faculty, students, and practitioners. Finally, the FDW aims to cultivate a community of scholars interested in the continuation of this and similar projects over the years.
To facilitate community building through shared experiences and the exchange of ideas, we strongly encourage all participants to attend the entire workshop.
If you have questions about the workshop or would like to attend, please email SALTLatCritFDW@gmail.com. Although we will make efforts to accommodate all interested participants, RSVPs are strongly suggested by September 30, 2014.
Registration for the SALT Biennial Teaching Conference is available at http://www.saltlaw.org/conference_registration/
City Council today (Thursday, Aug. 28) could make Austin the first city in Texas to pass a resolution (Item 84) requiring single-stall public restrooms to be gender-neutral. Sponsored by Council Member Chris Rileyand co-sponsored by Bill Spelman and Sheryl Cole, the draft resolution directs the city manager to "process any necessary code amendments to require gender-neutral signage for single-occupancy restrooms, to create an implementation plan, and to report back to Council by September 25."
The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT civil rights organization, has led the call for gender-neutral restroom requirements across the country. Members of the transgender community may face harassment and even violence when using gender-segregated restrooms, when suspicious onlookers decide they've entered the "wrong" restroom. According to a statement from Riley's office, "Austin has demonstrated leadership on LGBTQ issues, and gender-free restrooms are one more way that we can lead. This change will make our city safer and more inclusive, which is better for all Austinites."
A federal judge in Austin, Tex., blocked a stringent new rule on Friday that would have forced more than half of the state’s remaining abortion clinics to close, the latest in a string of court decisions that have at least temporarily kept abortion clinics across the South from being shuttered.
The Texas rule, requiring all abortion clinics to meet the building, equipment and staffing standards of hospital-style surgery centers, had been set to take effect on Monday. But in his opinion, Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court in Austin said the mandate placed unjustified obstacles on women’s access to abortion without providing significant medical benefits.
The rule “is unconstitutional because it imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a pre-viability abortion,” he wrote.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced new guidelines for how the league will handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. The change in policy, explained an open letter to team owners, come a month after the NFL was criticized for how it handled player Ray Rice's arrest on domestic violence charges.
Goodell says that the new policies were developed after conversations with outside experts, team owners and the NFL Players Association. The open letter describes several ways in which the NFL plans to provide training, support and resources to personnel, players and their families. It also sets down guidelines for how sexual assault and domestic abuse will be punished in the future.
I have posted my recent book chapter, The Struggle for Gender Equality in the Northern District of Ohio included in Justice and Legal Change on the Shores of Lake Erie: A History of the District Court of the Northern District of Ohio (Paul Finkelman & Roberta Alexander, eds. 2012).
From the abstract:
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, like many of its sister courts, was reluctantly drawn into the national debate over sex equality in the 1970s. The court’s response mirrored the greater social response, initially showing a hostility to claims of gender discrimination that was slowly displaced by recognition and endorsement of sex equality rights. Three of the district’s cases on women’s rights ended in the U.S. Supreme Court and helped navigate this shift toward gender equality. These cases are the focus of this book chapter written for a book collecting the "greatest hits" of Northern District court. The chapter provides the backstory, including oral narratives and original archival research, for the cases on mandatory maternity leave, LaFleur v. Cleveland School Board; informed consent abortion restrictions, Akron Center for Reproductive Health v. City of Akron; and abortion laws for minors, Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health.
These three cases from Ohio together offer a snapshot of the larger societal change for women’s rights. The nascent women’s movement in the courts proceeded initially along dual fronts of employment and abortion. The Northern District cases show the tensions and commonalities between these approaches and exemplify the development of broad-scale gender litigation across the nation.
The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States.
The decision on Tuesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of a battered wife from Guatemala resolved nearly two decades of hard-fought legal battles over whether such women could be considered victims of persecution. The ruling could slow the pace of deportations from the Southwest border, because it creates new legal grounds for women from Central America caught entering the country illegally in the surge this summer in their fight to remain here.
From the review:
In The Woman Suffrage Movement in America: A Reassessment, Corrine M. McConnaughy sets out to “develop a general framework for understanding why politicians act to widen the democratic circle, and use that framework to explain the politics of woman suffrage” (p. 4). She argues that previous studies of the woman suffrage movement focused too closely on the suffragists and not enough on the lawmakers who actually gave women the right to vote. To fill this void, she examines the legislative process in several states to discover how and why a majority of their legislators were convinced to support woman suffrage.
McConnaughy’s study begins with a general discussion of suffrage in America and analyzes how the electorate expanded over the decades. In connection with this, she offers what she describes as two models of enfranchisement: strategic enfranchisement and programmatic enfranchisement. She defines strategic enfranchisement as when “a single political party acts to enfranchise new voters expecting to reap electoral rewards” (p. 34). As an example, she describes how the Republican Party fought for suffrage for African Americans in the years following the Civil War and was rewarded with the votes of these new members of the electorate. Programmatic enfranchisement, on the other hand, is when pressure for change comes from the voters. A third party appears that holds so much leverage with voters that the major parties are forced to address the key issues presented in that new party’s platform or face the defection of a large number of voters.
After rejecting strategic enfranchisement as a framework to explain how women gained the vote, McConnaughy turns to individual states to build a case for programmatic enfranchisement.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The story from The Nation:
Once upon a time, when a working woman became pregnant, she’d typically be expected to leave her job and retreat into full-time domestic duties. These days, white-collar career women sport proud baby bumps under power suits, and across the workforce, women now regularly serve as the main breadwinners, and must work before, during, and after pregnancy. Yet many workplaces are still stuck in a Victorian mindset about what pregnant women can and can’t do on the job. Now a new law in Illinois is set to modernize the way bosses deal with pregnant employees.
The so-called Pregnancy Fairness law, which Governor Pat Quinn signed into law yesterday, establishes distinct civil rights protections for pregnant workers who require a modest adjustment to their duties to do their jobs. The employer still has the right to refuse but only if it could prove that the accommodation “would impose an undue hardship” on the business.
Officials with three Louisiana abortion clinics head into a Baton Rouge federal court Thursday morning seeking to delay new state abortion restrictions slated to go into affect Sept. 1.
The new restrictions could shut down most -- if not all -- of Louisiana's abortion clinics next week due to an absence of physicians legally able to provide abortions.
Under the new state law, signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal in June, physicians who perform abortions must have permission to admit patients at a local hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic where they work. Abortion clinic officials said their doctors are still waiting to hear back from local hospitals about whether they will be granted admitting privileges, which is why the law should be put on hold for now.
There's more--including the 4 interesting facts in NOLA.COM.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor who rose to national fame last year by spearheading a fight against a draconian abortion bill,held a press conference Wednesday to highlight her ideas on how to fight sexual assault. Talking about her legislative efforts to process the estimated backlog of 16,000 untested rape kits in the state, Davis said she wanted to take the solution a step further. She proposed lifting the statute of limitations for sexual assault entirely, in no small part to make sure that rapists don't escape justice just because a rape kit lingered untested for so long that the window for prosecution closed.
As we begin this new academic year, a reminder of the power and beauty of the law from a past address of Professor Cheryl Hanna. (Re)Committing to a Life of the Law
But more importantly, I don’t just love the law, I love lawyers. I have the greatest admiration and respect for what you do. Now, that is not to say that we don’t have problems in the profession . . . . But it is my humble opinion the law and those who practice it are among the most important people in our democracy.
But I have been very disturbed lately by what I see as unjustified attacks on the profession. . . .
To that end, Todd asked me to give an inspirational talk. I am not sure that I can do that, but as a professor, I can give you homework. In the medical field, there is something that is called the model of the reflective practitioner. The premise is simple: professionals who intentionally reflect upon what they do and why they do it learn in more profound ways and express greater satisfaction with their profession. Doctors are being trained to actively engage in professional reflection as part of their medical education. However, law schools have not done a good job of implementing similar training for lawyers, and thus, lawyers often don’t have the tools or guidance to become a reflective practitioner, and, as a result I think, often experience greater ambivalence about the legal profession and their role in it.
So, I’d like to introduce some concept about intentional reflection to you and give you some tools to use to try to become a reflective practitioner with the hope that you will do yourselves justice and find more meaning in your professional lives.
[h/t Jackie Gardina]
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
.....you--a college student--complete an education program intended to prevent sexual assault. The story:
Bill Arnold, graduate assistant for bystander intervention and prevention education with the OU Survivor Advocacy Program (OUSAP), said Thursday the Not Anymore program is akin to the mandatory Alcohol EDU course all freshmen must take. The online course takes about two hours to complete, and features video lessons on topics including consent, alcohol, sexual assault, bystander intervention and rape culture.
Arnold said the mandatory program is a required part of the Violence Against Women Act's grant funding for the OU Women's Center, which supports OUSAP. He said the average cost per student to the university for the Not Anymore program, depending on final enrollment totals at OU, is around $3 to $4.
From the Catholic Online:
In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into objects of use and degrades the dignity of human sexuality.
Sadly, the same spirit of the age fails to recognize the integral unity of the human person, body, soul and spirit, and has turned the human body into a machine with parts which the revolutionaries think can simply be interchanged. Removal of genitals and attachment of artificially constructed ones which are absolutely incapable of ovulation or conception, does not change the structure of reality. The removal constitutes mutilation and the construction of artificial organs with no reproductive function does not alter the gender or sex of the person.
Families and Communities Interdisciplinary Seminar
The Social and Legal Implications of Same Sex Relationships
September 11, 2014 – 7 hours CLE and CEU
Registration & Continental Breakfast
|8:25 a.m.||Introductory Remarks – Gary Rosen, Partner, Goldman & Rosen|
How Did We Get Here? Historical Context and Contemporary Implications of the Spread of Same-Sex Marriage
State of the Law Today
|10:30 a.m.||Break – Sponsored by Akron Family Institute|
Religious & Social Issues
Lunch – Sponsored by Summit County Probate Court
Domestic Relations – Divorce, Parentage, Domestic Violence
|2:15 p.m.||Break – Sponsored by CANAPI|
Juvenile Issues: A Child’s Perspective
|3:15 p.m.||Q&A – Written questions collected from audience|
Closing Panel – Where do we go from here?
This course has been approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio Commission on Continuing Legal Education for 7.00 total CLE hours instruction.
The concept of alimony, also referred to as “maintenance” in some countries, dates back thousands of years and was first referenced in texts in ancient Babylon. Though gender roles and traditional marriage definitions have evolved greatly since then, the traditional meaning of alimony has remained largely the same. A marriage ends and one party pays the less financially solvent party some sort of means of support. In ancient times when it was not feasible for women to obtain meaningful work or to remarry easily due to cultural norms, alimony served as an important form of security. But today, in an age in which women serve in the cabinet and are now obtaining college degrees at higher rates than men, the idea that women (who receive alimony at much higher rates than men) should be awarded a post-divorce allowance from a spouse strikes many as outdated and an embarrassment to feminist principles.
As we start back to school, lots of thinking about what faculty do.
- What goes through a professor's mind. TaxProfBlog, Shadow Syllabus
- Professors should stop assigning textbooks. ATL, Professors, The Cause Of and the Solution To the Great Textbook Scam
- Elite education has become only about achievement, not expanding minds. NYT Book Review, The Enclosure of the American Mind
- Online education rush requires faculty to give away their intellectual property rights. Chronicle, The Erosion of Faculty Rights
Slate, Why It Felt So Amazing When Beyonce Stood in Front of that Glowing "Feminist" Sign at the Video Music Awards.