From Daniel Henninger today in the WSJ:
All of a sudden, the left has hit ramming speed across a broad swath of American life—in the universities, in politics and in government. People fingered as out of line with the far left’s increasingly bizarre claims are being hit and hit hard…
The trigger event was an agreement signed last May between the federal government and the University of Montana to resolve a Title IX dispute over a sexual-assault case.
Every college administrator in the U.S. knows about this agreement. Indeed, there are three separate, detailed “Montana” documents that were signed jointly—and this is unusual—by the civil-rights divisions of the Justice and Education Departments. Remarked DoJ’s Joceyln Samuels, “The government is stronger when we speak with one voice.”
That’s real muscle. But read the agreement. It is Orwellian.
The agreement orders the school to retain an “Equity Consultant” (yes, there is such a thing) to advise it indefinitely on compliance. The school must, with the equity consultant, conduct “annual climate surveys.” It will submit the results “to the United States.”
The agreement describes compliance in mind-numbing detail, but in fact the actual definitional world it creates is vague. It says: “The term ‘sexual harassment’ means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.” But there are also definitions for sexual assault and gender-based harassment. All of this detailed writ is called “guidance.” As in missile.
No constitutional lawyer could read this agreement and not see in it the mind of the Queen of Hearts: “Sentence first, verdict afterwards!” Indeed, the U.S. Education Department felt obliged to assert that the agreement is “entirely consistent with the First Amendment.”
First Amendment? It’s more like a fatwa. The Obama administration has issued a federal hunting license to deputize fanatics at any university in America. They will define who gets accused, and on what basis.
I agree that Obama has “unleashed” the forces of the left and empowered them. It’s the sort of thing I’ve been saying here for years. But the way was paved long before this; whatever is in the “Montana” agreements is only the latest step in a long process of preparation.
Read Allan Bloom on what happened at Cornell (and other universities) during the 60s—the failure of professors and administrators to defend freedom of speech on campus, and the caving to the special interests of aggrieved victim groups. Think about how American students have for decades been told that the definition of sexual harassment in the workplace or school is whatever might make them feel threatened or uncomfortable, and that speech that does this must be stamped out. Note the long long process of leftist professors hiring leftist professors to create a near-unanimity of leftist thought among faculty. And understand that this sort of PC thought-control and speech-control by the thought police has been normed so much and for so long that it’s likely that most students today see absolutely nothing wrong with it and don’t even understand the foundation of the arguments against it.
That the Obama DOJ has wormed itself ever more firmly into the process was inevitable. We are in big trouble, but we have been for a long, long time.
[ADDENDUM: And take a look at this.]