Hans von Spakovsky posted this story at PJ Media yesterday and is Exhibit A that conservatives should point to when anyone tells them that the Obama administration is "moderate":
The breadth of this new mandate, plucked from the mists occupied only by the most radical ideologues, is staggering. Under DOJ/DOE's definition of sexual harassment, a student asking another out on a date could conceivably violate the law if the person being asked out found the question "unwelcome"and somehow believed it was the pretext to a sexual advance or romantic proposal. Or if a student was taking a health class where biological reproduction was discussed, the teacher might be found guilty of sexual harassment if one student found the discussion "unwelcome," even if no one else in the class and no reasonable person found it unwelcome or offensive. In other words, under this definition, the most trivial conduct could be considered sexual harassment. And, get this - if a university did not take immediate and severe action to punish the "transgressor," it could lose its federal funding under Title IX.
This political correctness madness essentially implements a zero tolerance policy in colleges for any verbal conduct a hypersensitive listener deems unwelcome. It could have a severe impact on the First Amendment rights of students, restricting not just the dating routines pervasive on campus, but free discussion and discourse on many different issues. It will damage the careers of students who are suspended or expelled for innocuous speech and behavior.
But DOJ/DOE's policy directive gets worse, limiting the due process rights of students and requiring universities to implement what amounts to a "guilty-until-proven-innocent" rule that is completely at odds with impartial justice.
Bhargava criticizes the university's procedure for investigating sexual harassment complaints, noting that it has "multiple stages," including an appeals process which can take "months" to resolve. She seems particularly piqued that an initial finding against one accused student "resulted in reversal" after it was appealed. A Justice Department offended that a defendant might be able to go through several levels of appeal is something that should scare all of us. What's wrong with an even-handed, deliberate process with appeals that protect the rights of both the accuser and the accused?
One can easily see the potential for massive abuse of this rule, which the authors actually hope will be the result. The belief that sexual harassment of any kind is far worse than putting a chill in social relations between men and women is what has led us to this incredible end.
And one of those authors is no less than Thomas Perez who was just approved by the Senate labor committee to become secretary of labor. One can imagine the kind of workplace sexual harassment policies that will be coming out of the Labor Department if Perez is confirmed.