Monday, March 2, 2015
Wesleyan University has created a special dorm that is meant to house the LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM crowd. From the school website:
Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.
I must say that I am ambivalent about this. Is this a good thing for the students in the dorm? To segregate themselves so completely like this from the rest of the school? So too I find disturbing the notion that all these quite different groups would naturally share a desire to live together, simply because they are sexually marginalized in society.....
Saturday, February 28, 2015
A bipartisan group of 12 U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday that is aimed at curbing sexual violence on campuses in ways that protect both victims and accused students. The changes reflect heightened attention over the past six months to the due-process rights of accused students.
The Campus Safety and Accountability Act, sponsored by six Democrats and six Republicans, builds on legislation that was introduced over the summer but never came to a vote. The new version was strengthened with additional input from sexual-assault survivors, students, colleges, law enforcement, and advocacy groups, according to one of its main sponsors, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. A companion bill is expected to be introduced soon in the House of Representatives.
The revised proposal comes at a time when the Department of Education is investigating nearly 100 colleges and universities for possible violations of the federal civil-rights law known as Title IX. Colleges have increasingly been held responsible under that law to investigate and resolve alleged assaults promptly and fairly, whether or not the police are involved.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Almost five months after fraternities at Wesleyan University in Connecticut wereordered to admit women as both members and residents, one organization announced on Thursday that it was suing the university, saying the policy put in place in the name of equality was, in fact, discriminatory.
The fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, along with its alumni organization, Kent Literary Club, filed the lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction in Superior Court in Middletown.
While there are only two fraternities on campus, with about 50 members, the order by the university — which has long had a reputation as one of the nation’s most liberal institutions of higher learning — came as many schools were struggling with issues related to heavy drinking, dangerous behavior and sexual assault at fraternities and sororities.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
COLUMBIA, Mo. —The University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia is testing out a new gender-neutral housing option starting this fall.
The 16-bed space in College Avenue Hall will be open to students of any gender, The Columbia Daily Tribune reports. The goal is to create a safe, secure housing option for those students who are transgender or gender nonconforming.
Frankie Minor, director of Residential Life at MU, and his team heard from students that there is interest and need for such a space. He said creating it was made easier when the Board of Curators added gender expression and gender identity to the UM System's nondiscrimination policy last year.
"When we say that this is important to our institutions, it's great, but it makes it clear when we're following through with programs and resources that promote inclusiveness and a welcoming environment," Minor said.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
In The Underrepresentation of Women of Color in Law Review Leadership Positions, Berkeley La Raza Law Journal (2015), A recent law grad analyzes that lack of opportunities available to women law students of color and proposes some affirmative solutions.
In the history of the UCLA Law Review, there has been only one black woman to serve as EIC (there have been no black men). This fact, combined with what I witnessed at the selection meeting, made me very concerned that the opportunities available to women of color law students were being unduly and unfairly limited. The unfortunate fact remains that in competing for law review leadership positions, women of color are significantly disadvantaged.
This Article explores the potential causes, challenges, and remedies surrounding this inequitable playing field. As Clare Dalton put it in describing the importance of investigating women’s issues in law school, “Exposing the sites of legal education and practice as important creators and sustainers of the culture of gender, as well as the culture of law, we can assert the importance of studying the treatment of women, women’s realities and women’s concerns in legal education and the legal profession.”5 The pipeline for women of color making the law review and into law review leadership positions, such as EIC, is one such site of legal education worth exposing.
Part I introduces the problem by examining the limited research that shows a significant underrepresentation of women and people of color in law review leadership positions, and explains the significance of such research. Part II explores the possible causes of this unfortunate phenomenon by uncovering the challenges that women of color face in obtaining law review leadership positions. Finally, Part III offers potential solutions for increasing opportunities for women of color in obtaining law review leadership positions.
Her proposed solutions include: creating a welcoming environment; structural remedies of diversity outreach committees, board quotas, mentorship programs, and transcripts and transparency of the board decisionmaking process.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
While colleges across the country have been grappling with concerns related to students transitioning from one gender to another, Vermont is at the forefront in recognizing the next step in identity politics: the validation of a third gender.
The university allows students like Gieselman to select their own identity — a new first name, regardless of whether they’ve legally changed it, as well as a chosen pronoun — and records these details in the campuswide information system so that professors have the correct terminology at their fingertips.
For years, writers and academics have argued that gender identity is not a male/female binary but a continuum along which any individual may fall, depending on a variety of factors, including anatomy, chromosomes, hormones and feelings. But the dichotomy is so deeply embedded in our culture that even the most radical activists had been focused mainly on expanding the definitions of the two pre-existing categories.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
HARTFORD, Conn. — A lawsuit filed Tuesday by plaintiffs including a female veterans group is pressing the Pentagon for information on gender targets and recruiting policies at U.S. service academies, where enrollment remains overwhelming male.
The complaint alleges the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy did not respond adequately to requests filed in November for records under the Freedom of Information Act.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Colleges are investigating the majority of reported cases of sexual assault and are finding less than half of accused students responsible, according to a report released Tuesday by United Educators, a risk management and insurance firm. The study examined 305 reported cases of sexual assault at 104 institutions between 2011 and 2014.
About three-quarters of those cases were investigated, according to the report, and the accused students were found responsible in 45 percent of them. One-quarter of the cases resulted in the accused students not being found responsible, and in 7 percent of the cases, the accused students withdrew before the adjudication process was complete.
Of the 23 percent of cases that were never investigated by a college or university, 20 percent of the claims involved students who were unable to identify who had assaulted them. Another 23 percent involved victims who were "uncooperative" and chose not to pursue an investigation. More than 40 percent of the cases that were investigated ended in the accused student's expulsion, the report said, and 25 percent ended in suspensions of more than a year. Disciplinary probation and training accounted for about 9 percent of the sanctions.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Rutgers-Camden Vice Dean Adam Scales tells students to stop being sexist.
Inside Higher Ed, Brains, Not Clothes
Many female professors complain that students evaluate them in sexist ways based in part on appearance, and data suggests that's true. But few administrators have spoken out against student bias in evaluations, and tend to treat it more as an inevitable if unfortunate part of the process. So a recent mass e-mail to students at Rutgers University School of Law at Camden from Adam Scales, vice dean, stands out.
“Throughout my academic career, I’ve displayed an array of sartorial styles. For years, I veered sharply between ‘Impoverished Graduate Student' and ‘British Diplomat,’” Scales wrote. “Of course, one would never know any of this by reading my student evaluations. That’s because I’m a man.”
Scales goes on to explain that an unnamed student has explored, “in some detail, the fashion stylings of one of your professors,” and that that professor is a woman.
He continues: “Women are frequently targets of evaluative commentary that, in addition to being wildly inappropriate and adolescent, is almost never directed at men. Believe me, I am about the last person on this faculty for whom the ‘sexism’ label falls readily to hand, but after a lifetime of hearing these stories, I know it when I see it. Anyone who doubts this would find it instructive to stop by and ask any one of our female professors about this and similar dynamics.”
Yes, nearly all women in the legal profession, including law school professors, have found themselves the victims of “wildly inappropriate and adolescent” commentary about their style of dress. And yet, in recent memory, Vice Dean Scales is the only member of legal academia to defend his female colleagues from these unwarranted attacks. Why aren’t more law school deans speaking out against sexism in the legal profession? [Emphasis added]. If you’re a dean, the next time you’re considering prattling on about the value of a law degree, perhaps you ought to dedicate some time to figuring out how to improve the state of this profession for women, who represent nearly half of all law school graduates, and who make up about 34 percent of all practicing lawyers.
Despite the title of this article, Salon, How Progressives are Changing from Professionals to Populists, its more about the deteriorating professions in medicine, law, and the academy.
Nobody is talking about it, but the professions are collapsing. And as they collapse, they will take a certain kind of center-left progressivism with them. There will be some sort of liberal left in the future, but it probably will not resemble the school of progressivism familiar from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama, a school rooted in the professional class.
For more than a century, the American upper middle class has been divided between “professionals” and “managers.” The elite professions—doctors, lawyers and professors—have shared several characteristics. Although professionals may choose to specialize, they are essentially generalists. The ideal professional is self-employed or works with partners, instead of working in a corporate or public bureaucracy. ***
The professoriate is in an advanced state of decay. The tenured university professor may soon go the way of the medieval knight and the 18th century dancing master. The number of nontenured faculty teaching at accredited colleges and universities has risen from fewer than half in 1975 to nearly two-thirds today. Many of these teachers are poorly paid adjuncts without benefits. The class division (no pun intended) between academic sweatshop workers and privileged tenured faculty is not likely to last. Whether higher education is nominally public, nonprofit or for-profit, its transition from a service provided by largely independent professionals to an industrialized sector seems inevitable.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Duke University recently became the first Common Application school to explicitly ask about students’ sexual orientation and gender identity.
The optional LGBTQ-inclusive essay question, which has a 250-word maximum, is intended to promote diversity and show Class of 2019 applicants that Duke is a welcoming community for all students, Christoph Guttentag, the university’s dean of undergraduate admissions, wrote in an e-mail.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Annual Meeting Podcasts Now Online
More than 150 audio podcasts from the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. are available at no charge to faculty and professional staff from AALS member and fee-paid schools.
Please visit aals.org/am2015/podcasts to listen to the Annual Meeting podcasts.
A user name and password are required to access them. Your user name is your primary e-mail address. If you do not have or do not remember your password, click the "forgot password" link on the bottom of the login screen.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Or so argues Phyllis Schlafly in Salon.
Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly is worried that college campuses are populated by too many women, a phenomenon she insinuated has contributed to increased sexual assault on campus.
In a Monday column for the far-right website World Net Daily, the longtime anti-feminist crusader lamented the declining portion of university enrollments accounted for by men. Schlafly — BA and JD, Washington University in St. Louis; MA, Radcliffe College — argued that it may even be time to implement quotas to ensure that men constitute at least half of a college’s enrollment.
“Long ago when I went to college, campuses were about 70 percent male, and until 1970 it was still nearly 60 percent,” Schlafly wrote. “Today, however, the male percentage has fallen to the low 40s on most campuses.”
Friday, January 16, 2015
From the Atlantic:
A scuffle between a largely black sorority and a predominantly white fraternity provides an interesting case study on Title IX.
At first, the kerfuffle at the University of Connecticut between a largely black sorority and a predominantly white fraternity might seem a lot like the big-kid version of a schoolyard fight. It is, after all, a dispute over an iconic boulder on campus affectionately known as the “Spirit Rock.” No one has been physically hurt, and campus officials have taken action in response to the event.
But a closer look at the quarrel likely reveals a racially charged conflict in whichwhite frat brothers, according to university investigators’ initial findings, physically intimidated the group of black women, hurling verbal insults at them, including “fat black bitch” and “whores.” It has forced university officials—administrators accustomed to treating race and gender bias as distinct problems—to grapple with a conflict that’s almost certainly shaped by some combination of both issues. What’s more, the Spirit Rock affair is unfolding at a time when public scrutiny of issues related to sexual violence and harassment on campus has reached an all-time high. Turns out that what happened at the Spirit Rock is hardly a petty matter.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Lani Guiner (Harvard), Ivy League's Meritocracy Lie: How Harvard and Yale Cook the Books for the 1 Percent. In this excerpt from Guiner's new book, she traces the elitest and anti-Jewish origins of standardize testing in law schools and discredits the alleged merit evalution of SAT and LSAT tests. Taking the "testocracy" to its ultimate result, she concludes we are admiting students based on a false sense of merit and failing to prepare students as future leaders and professionals.
The top career choices of many male Harvard students—whether it is 2007 or 2013—are severely lacking in any element of service. This is the damage that we are doing through our testocracy. We are credentializing a new elite by legitimizing people with an inflated sense of their own merit and little unwillingness to open up to new ways of problem solving. They exude an arrogance that says there’s only one way to answer a question—because the SAT only gives credit for the one right answer.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Most of the variations in brain structure between males and females are minimal and relative to the difference in average body size between men and women. Others don’t correlate with any specific advantage or disadvantage. For instance, adult male brains are on average 6 to 10 percent larger than female brains, but there is data from Harvard researchers to suggest females have more connectivity between hemispheres. The differences can be even more exaggerated in childhood, when boys and girls of the same age can have as much as a 50 percent difference in brain volume during the steep part of the growth curve. All of this makes it difficult, and indeed foolish, to draw conclusions about differences in brain function based on differences in anatomy, at least when it comes to talking about males and females.
The fact that there are differences in neural anatomy between the two sexes, however, is undisputed. The differences are present in early fetal life, as hormones already have altered the destiny of brain regions that are set up to go either way in the embryo. This is called sexual dimorphism, and one region that is heavily altered by early differences in levels of the female hormone estrogen or the male hormone testosterone is the hypothalamus. This turns out to be very important because the job of the hypothalamus throughout life is to regulate hormones in women and men.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Harvard Law School has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to update its sexual assault and harassment policies after a four-year investigation concluded its handling of student complaints did not comply with Title IX.
The department’s Office for Civil Rights concluded the school gave law students accused of sexual harassment or assault with more opportunities to present evidence and appeal decisions than it did their accusers, according to an announcement on Tuesday.
Additionally, investigators concluded that that law school set too high a threshold for determining when harassment occurred—a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence rather than the “preponderance of evidence” standard required under Title IX.
Investigators examined the two cases of sexual harassment filed by law students since 2005. “[The Office for Civil Rights] concluded that the law school failed to provide a prompt and equitable resolution of the two complaints,” Department of Education said in a letter to law dean Martha Minnow.
More background on the original complaint filed in 2011 is here.
The civil rights division of the US Department of Education is investigating Harvard Law School after a Boston lawyer filed a complaint with the agency alleging that school policies regarding response to sexual assault allegations violate Title IX rules against discrimination on campuses.
She said the most troubling violation is the school’s policy of waiting to address complaints on campus until police and prosecutors have finished investigating, a practice she called “running out the clock.’’ Murphy said criminal investigations can drag on until after victims graduate, leaving them vulnerable to retaliation from their attackers and others during the rest of their time in school.
A federal district court ruled that a female professor threatened with dismissal on what she alleges are discriminatory grounds is not entitled to a preliminary injunction maintaining the status quo of her employment. In Bagley v. Yale University (Dec. 29, 2014), the Connecticut district court ruled that the professor could not show "irreparable harm" necessary to qualify for the injunction because the possibility of reinstatement and/or damages after a full trial on the merits negated any claim to irreparable harm. She alleged irreparable harm from loss of academic reputation and loss of ability to care for her 16-year old son for whom she is the sole parent, This decision seems to fly in the face of standard Remedies-law doctrine that considers irreparable harm a rather innocous standard, and which Professor Doug Laycock asserts is a dead rule. And the decision seems to reach broadly, eliminating PIs in virtually any employment case under this reasoning.
The complaint detailing Professor Bagley's allegations is here. As a "professor of practice" in a business school, she is in a situation so similar to many women in academia working in legal writing and clinics and other fields under long-term contracts.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that it discriminated against pregnant teachers at a northwest side elementary school.
The suit, filed in federal court in the third largest U.S. city, alleges that starting in 2009, Scammon Elementary School Principal Mary Weaver subjected female teachers to lower performance evaluations, discipline, threatened firing and firing because of their pregnancies.
The suit also alleges that the board approved the firing of six recently pregnant teachers at Scammon and forced two others to leave the school.
"No woman should have to make a choice between her job and having a family," said Vanita Gupta, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division. "Federal law requires employers to maintain a workplace free of discrimination on the basis of sex."
Weaver, who won a Chicago Public Schools principal achievement award last year, made negative comments to and about pregnant Scammon teachers, the suit said. She responded to one teacher's pregnancy announcement with "I can't believe you are doing this to me. You are going to be out right before [mandatory] testing," the suit said.
It said Weaver asked another teacher who was nursing and expressing breast milk: "That isn't over yet?" and "When will you be done with that?"
Trigger Warnings in the Classroom. One view:
“It should go without saying that solving a problem requires talking about it, learning about its history, and—where they exist—discussing the surrounding legal issues. Is the point of law school to make future lawyers feel comfortable, or is it to enable them to be zealous advocates for their clients, who may include victims of rape and other crimes? [or accused defendants]”