Society & gender

Feminist revolutionaries seized control of colleges. Now come the tribunals…

Summary: Leftist have taken control of America’s universities and begun programs to change their culture. Here is a report from one front of the revolution, where feminists attack other feminists for insufficient adherence to the new rules.

“Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children.”
— From an essay by Jacques Mallet du Pan (1793).

Execution of revolutionary Georges Danton on 5 April 1794.

Execution of Danton

Engraving by Antoine Johannot.

The Chronicle of Higher Education provides first-person reporting on the cultural changes sweeping America, driven by Leftists in positions of authority. It deserves attention. Changes in universities today appear on Main Street tomorrow.

I recommend reading “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe” by Laura Kipnis (a long-time feminist and professor at Northwestern U’s School of Communication), 27 February 2015 — “How campus rules make students more vulnerable.” Gated; open version. I was going to excerpt the good parts, but the entire essay is good. She discusses student-professor dating then and now, the new rules — including how “inappropriate humor violates university policy”, tales of a harassment workshops. The vignettes are great!

“As I read through the complaint, it struck me that the lawsuit and our new consensual relations code share a common set of tropes …students are putty in the hands of all-powerful professors. According to the lawsuit, the student was virtually a rag doll, taken advantage of by a skillful predator who scripted a drunken evening of galleries and bars, all for the opportunity of some groping. If students think that professors have such unlimited powers that they can compel someone to drink or retaliate if she doesn’t, then these students have been very badly educated about the nature and limits of institutional power. …

“For the record, I strongly believe that bona fide harassers should be chemically castrated, stripped of their property, and hung up by their thumbs in the nearest public square. {Ed note: Sounds barbaric. What would she want done to rapists, to kidnappers, to murderers?}…

“But I also believe that the myths and fantasies about power perpetuated in these new codes are leaving our students disabled when it comes to the ordinary interpersonal tangles and erotic confusions that pretty much everyone has to deal with at some point in life, because that’s simply part of the human condition.

“In the post-Title IX landscape, sexual panic rules. Slippery slopes abound. Gropers become rapists and accusers become survivors, opening the door for another panicky conflation: teacher-student sex and incest. Recall that it was incest victims who earlier popularized the use of the term “survivor,” previously reserved for those who’d survived the Holocaust. …

Laura Kipnis

By Christopher Lane for the Observer.

“{W}hat do we expect will become of students, successfully cocooned from uncomfortable feelings, once they leave the sanctuary of academe for the boorish badlands of real life? What becomes of students so committed to their own vulnerability, conditioned to imagine they have no agency, and protected from unequal power arrangements in romantic life? …

“Among the problems with treating students like children is that they become increasingly childlike in response. The New York Times Magazine recently reported on the tangled story of a 21-year-old former Stanford undergraduate suing a 29-year-old tech entrepreneur she’d dated for a year. After they broke up, she charged that their consensual relationship had actually been psychological kidnapping, and that she’d been raped every time they’d had sex.

“…is this now to be our normative conception of personhood? A 21-year-old incapable of consent? A certain brand of radical feminist — the late Andrea Dworkin, for one — held that women’s consent was meaningless in the context of patriarchy, but Dworkin was generally considered an extremist. She’d have been gratified to hear that her convictions had finally gone mainstream, not merely driving campus policy but also shaping the basic social narratives of love and romance in our time. …

“The new codes sweeping American campuses aren’t just a striking abridgment of everyone’s freedom, they’re also intellectually embarrassing. Sexual paranoia reigns; students are trauma cases waiting to happen. If you wanted to produce a pacified, cowering citizenry, this would be the method. And in that sense, we’re all the victims.”

The story takes an unexpected turn, explained in “My Title IX Inquisition” by Laura Kipnis, 29 May 2015. About the university’s 72-day “investigation” of Prof Kipnis. “What’s the good of having a freedom you’re afraid to use?” Gated; open copy. The accusations were strange, and then things became stranger.

“Then I first heard that students at my university had staged a protest over an essay I’d written in The Chronicle Review about sexual politics on campus — and that they were carrying mattresses and pillows — I was a bit nonplussed. For one thing, mattresses had become a symbol of student-on-student sexual assault allegations, and I’d been writing about the new consensual-relations codes governing professor-student dating. Also, I’d been writing as a feminist. And I hadn’t sexually assaulted anyone. The whole thing seemed symbolically incoherent. …

“As of this writing, I have yet to hear the verdict on my case, though it’s well past the 60-day time frame. In the meantime, new Title IX complaints have been filed against the faculty-support person who accompanied me to the session with the investigators. As a member of the Faculty Senate, whose bylaws include the protection of academic freedom — and believing the process he’d witnessed was a clear violation of academic freedom — he’d spoken in general terms about the situation at a senate meeting.

“Shortly thereafter, as the attorneys investigating my case informed me by phone, retaliation complaints were filed against him for speaking publicly about the matter (even though the complaints against me had already been revealed in the graduate student’s article), and he could no longer act as my support person. Another team of lawyers from the same firm has been appointed to conduct a new investigation.”

Twitter lit up with comments, pro and con.

“This is insane. It’s like the French Revolution on college campuses. The guillotine hasn’t come out yet. Yet.” On Twitter.

“Who needs conservatives to destroy higher education? We’ll do it ourselves, with the best of intentions, naturally.”  On Twitter.

The eventual resolution (although the process is a punishment): “Laura Kipnis Is Cleared of Wrongdoing in Title IX Complaints“. See this fascinating Q&A with Laura Kipnis on Facebook. Here is a good post-mortem: “Kipnis Case Highlights Perilous Clash of Title IX and Academic Freedom” by Katherine Mangan, 3 June 2015.

“University and college officials are fearful of running afoul of Title IX, so they are now quietly amending the U.S. Constitution. …The First Amendment is being replaced by a woman’s right not to be made uncomfortable.” {Due process is treated as a barrier to justice while} “armies of gender apparatchiks are monitoring and policing speech, ideas, humor, and sexuality.”

— Email to Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. Source here.

For a different perspective on American justice, as designed by the Leftists running America’s universities, read “Eyewitness to a Title IX Witch Trial” by Laura Kipnis, 2 April 2017. It describes the bizarre charges against another good feminist professor.

“Attending the disgraced philosophy professor Peter Ludlow’s dismissal hearing was like watching someone being burned at the stake in slow motion, except this execution was catered — the university provided lavish spreads of food and snacks, and the atmosphere was surprisingly cordial. The five Northwestern faculty members empaneled to hear the case were striving to make clear that they were neutral and not prejudging anything, which meant pleasant chitchat at breaks or in the ladies’ room, mostly about the food. We were, after all, in the Midwest. Even the university lawyers were pleasant. The whole thing dragged on for over a month, which meant a lot of chitchat and a lot of calories. I was tense, and overate.

“Torch the miscreant, resanctify the community. It was the campus equivalent of a purification ritual, and purifying communities is no small-scale operation these days: In addition to the five-person faculty panel, there were three outside lawyers, at least two in-house lawyers, another lawyer hired by the university to advise the faculty panel, a rotating cast of staff and administrators, and a court reporter taking everything down on a little machine. Ludlow had his lawyer (and on one occasion, two). And there was me. …

“I was deluged with desperate emails from professors and students around the country with stories about their Title IX tribunals. I soon learned that rampant accusation is the new norm on American campuses; the place is a secret cornucopia of accusation, especially when it comes to sex. Including merely speaking about sex. My inbox became a clearinghouse for depressing and infuriating tales of overblown charges, capricious verdicts, and frightening bureaucratic excess. I was introduced to an astonishing netherworld of sexual finger-pointing, rigged investigations, closed-door hearings, and Title IX officers run amok.

“This was a world I’d previously known nothing about, because no one on campus knows anything about it. Why? Because campus bureaucrats have shrouded the process in demands for confidentiality and threats that speaking about it can lead to job loss or expulsion.”

Gender Roles

Conclusions

“A conservative is a male feminist who just got Title IX’d.”
— Update of the popular aphorism from the early 1980s (first recorded in 1983).

Leftists have gained control of America’s universities and begun revolutionary changes in their culture. Boomers marched for freedom of speech in 1964 and practiced free love. Now they march to enforce radical policies to control speech and behavior, with elaborate procedures to ensure consent at each stage of sex (with forms). Kangaroo courts enforce their verdicts. Fears of this helped defeat Clinton.

Now even bien pensant feminists feel the wrath of more radical feminists — and suddenly see the injustice of the system. But they experience only light injustice. Men have their lives ruined; Professor Kipnis gets sympathy, fame and a book deal from the experience.

How far will this crusade go? How much damage will these revolutionaries do to our universities? Will they carry their crusade outside campuses to the rest of America?

For More Information

Even the Leftists at The Guardian are appalled at the latest activities of America’s social justice warriors: “Sexual paranoia on campus – and the professor at the eye of the storm” by Rachel Cooke — “When students objected to Laura Kipnis’s essay criticising the politics surrounding relationships between undergraduates and faculty, she was pitched into a Kafka-esque netherworld that threatened her career.”

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender roles, especially these…

  1. The revolution in gender roles reshapes society in ways too disturbing to see.
  2. A look ahead at the New America, after the gender wars.
  3. Books to help us see the strange new world following the revolution in gender roles.
  4. The collapse of gender roles: an unseen revolution with unimaginable consequences.
  5. Vignettes of men and women in America, alienated from their true selves.
  6. Warnings about the horrific effects of Disney’s Princesses on America’s girls.
  7. Forms to sign before having sex. Progress or madness?
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6 replies »

  1. The first person witness makes this very powerful, mesmerizing and terrifying. It is Kafkaesque indeed with a touch of Edmund Burke and Stephen King to boot. The institutions are indeed eating themselves. After reading this, I am for removing all taxpayer support of all higher education. Period.

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  2. Very good article about a pressing issue.

    Analogies to “witch trials” and the French Revolution were aptly used in the article. Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Stalin’s purges were more recent and more closely related ideologically to what we see in North American universities.

    A philosophical monoculture is the antithesis to the original idea of “university.” How can something be a university if it blocks out most of the universe of ideas out of fear of contradiction and cognitive dissonance? Or, perhaps out of fear that students may choose to navigate their own course through the world rather than just taking the faculty or administration’s word for it?

    Higher Ed. has become a luxurious cocoon that is injecting high levels of debt and mental rigidity into the larger society.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Where are the men? The Professors? One Canadian, Jordan Peterson, has stood up and opposed a portion of this madness within the Univ of Toronto and some Canadian HR mandates. His research funds were cut a few days by the University. They will find a way to be rid of him by attrition if they can, I assume. And some have proceeded him I have read.
    The Title here is good; summary is good. Quote by Mallet du Pan is prescient.
    Deserves attention? Yes and in your daily life is the place to start. Been on Mainstream since the current inception in the 60-70’s. Not news…if it is to you, well up to speed, post haste, is a good idea. Ebola-like, from wild animals?
    ……
    I doubt if it is solely a faculty and admin “problem”. It is most likely another Idea whose time has come from a long time ago. Words create ideas which establish reality.

    Breton

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  4. Wikipedia has an article on Moral Panic which gives a good generalized discussion of this phenomenon. Because it is a panic, well meaning rational people who step in front of the mob are buried. Eventually, the panic becomes so ridiculous that it starts to burn itself out and rational beings can effectively speak out. We obviously have not reached that stage yet.

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    • Stephen,

      That’s a useful context for these events!

      There are some similarities to the Salem Witch trials. Both were sparked by accusations — often ludicrous — by teen age girls that were taken seriously by adult authorities for ideological/religious reasons. Note that the Salem trials ran undisturbed until the girls accused the governor’s wife. Then he shut down the trials and let everybody go home (except the dead). Which shows how seriously the Salem elites took all this.

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