cu boulder

The University of Colorado-Boulder paid $825,000 last summer to a student who claimed she was retaliated against after reporting a sexual assault.

It paid just $290,000 this week to the philosophy professor whom it tried to fire on allegations of retaliating against her.

The Daily Camera follows up on the strange saga of David Barnett, who was never accused of assaulting the female student himself, but rather of defending the male philosophy student who was.

The College Fix has followed Barnett’s troubles, starting with his controversial investigation into how the Office of Discrimination and Harassment “intentionally and systematically manipulated the evidence” to find the male student guilty, and continuing with his students’ strident defense of Barnett’s whistleblowing on the school’s sham disciplinary process.

In order to resolve Barnett’s $2 million defamation lawsuit against the school, CU-Boulder agreed to pay him $160,000 plus attorney’s fees and forgive a down payment assistance loan as long as he left the school, the Daily said:

Barnett said although he still believes the university’s sexual misconduct investigation procedures are flawed, he was “happy” to accept the university’s offer after a year of paid leave. He received his full salary of $77,688 but did not teach classes this year.


The school continues to maintain that it wanted Barnett off campus simply to protect the female student, rather than silence a professor who exposed its lack of due process and shoddy investigation proceedings:

“One of the things that President [Bruce] Benson wanted to do was to make sure that professor Barnett would not return to the campus while she continued to remain a student and to protect her learning environment,” [Chief Legal Officer Patrick] O’Rourke said.

Keep in mind that Barnett’s own peers recommended a one-year suspension for engaging in “conduct that was below the standards of the profession,” explicitly absolving him of retaliation claims.

Barnett isn’t keeping quiet on his way out:

Barnett said he wishes the university would devote “comparable resources” to establishing an appeal process for those found responsible of sexual misconduct. The faculty panel that reviewed his case also recommended that the university develop and publish instructions for appealing a finding.

“It grants the accused no right to see the evidence against him or her, no right to a hearing and no right to appeal,” he said. “After I challenged this system in the context of a case involving a former student of mine, the chancellor sought to terminate me, claiming that I had retaliated against the former student’s accuser.”

It’s the second settlement CU-Boulder has reached with a philosophy professor it accused of wrongdoing in just the past six months.

It paid $185,000 to get rid of Brad Monton for allegedly violating the school’s “amorphous relationship policy with students” – without detailing allegations against him – after Monton received strong support from the American Association of University Professors.

Read the story.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: waifer x/Flickr


If someone says anything mean-spirited at the University of Colorado Boulder – campus administrators want to know about it. Not only that – they want to know the offender’s name, age, email address and more.

University of Colorado-Boulder has launched a new campaign encouraging students to report any “bias” they come across to campus authorities, who collect details including offenders’ names, birthdays, genders – even social security numbers – along with a description of the “incident.”

The “Bias Incident Reporting” effort aims to “address the impact of demeaning and hurtful statements as well as acts of intolerance directed towards protected classes,” CU Boulder’s website states.

Examples of bias, according to a corresponding poster campaign highlighting the reporting system, include calling people names or making fun of their culture.

“This in no way is meant to curtail free speech,” campus spokesman Ryan Huff told The College Fix in an email. “We support the First Amendment and want our students to challenge one another in academic ways. We don’t support, however, the use of racial slurs and other demeaning bias-motivated acts.”

Students who perceive or witness “bias-motivated incidents” are asked to report them immediately by filing a “student of concern” report.

The online submission form prompts students for the name, birthday, gender, phone number, and e-mail of any involved person. The form gives the reporter space to CUBouldersrprovide the ID number of students implicated in the incident. However, should those involved not be students, drivers’ license numbers or social security numbers are suggested substitutes.

The reporting effort is designed to “ensure timely and appropriate responses to incidents that appear to be bias-motivated involving University of Colorado students,” the university’s website states. Bias reports are not treated as confidential, it adds.

The diversity commission of CU Boulder’s student government launched the Bias Motivated Incident poster campaign in late April, marked by a slew of posters hung up around campus.

One poster reads, “Go back to Africa, you don’t belong here.” Another says, “Your mom must be the janitor ‘cause that’s the only job for dirty Mexicans.” The student 2883D8F300000578-0-image-a-51_1431235643381government claims both statements, along with others used on various posters, originated from real incidents of bias that have occurred on campus.

“The purpose behind the campaign is two-fold,” student government officials stated on their Facebook page. “One of the objectives is to encourage and inform students to report bias motivated incidents on our campus and the surrounding community. The other purpose of this campaign is to highlight the fact that indeed BMI’s [Bias-Motivated Incidents] happen here on our very own campus and that we are not immune to acts of racism, sexism and overall discrimination toward people’s identities.”

But the posters have been met with a lot of resistance. Fox News-Denver reports that of the 400 to 500 posters originally hung around campus, several have since been torn down. The Boulder Daily Camera notes many students and scholars are highly offended by the poster campaign.

The campaign continues unhindered, however.

In a statement, Chancellor Philip DeStefano remarked: “What ought to offend here is not the language on the posters, but the language that is20150429__30DCABMIw-1_400 used in perpetuating acts of racism, ethnic intimidation, homophobia and other acts of bias in our campus community.”

Though the list of information relayed through the online submission process is lengthy and detailed, campus authorities insist that the campaign is by no means disciplinary.

Chancellor DeStefano maintains that those behind the campaign only “want to track the frequency of violent and non-violent BMI’s to be able to respond to victims with support, as well as gain an accurate sense of the disruptive actions and attitudes that affect our campus climate so that we can refine strategies to improve that climate.”

Magnolia Landa-Posas, director of diversity and inclusion for the CU Student Government, told the Daily Camera the students hope that by encouraging more reporting, they can gather more data and roll out an “action-oriented” campaign as early as next fall.

Huff told The College Fix that $546 in total was spent on the production of posters – only a fraction of the university’s $1.3 billion budget. As the semester rolls to a close, it remains to be seen whether the Bias Motivated Incident campaign will prove a beneficial use of university resources, and whether student attitude toward the campaign will warm.

Student government representatives did not respond to requests by The College Fix for comment.

College Fix reporter Samantha Audia is a student at the University of Michigan.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Fans of House of Cards, whose third season debuts on Netflix tomorrow, love and hate Frank Underwood for his amoral and relentless pursuit of self-interest, no matter whom he hurts.

The University of Colorado-Boulder administration is giving Underwood a stiff challenge in the amorality category for its utter indifference to either rape victims or students accused of rape.

Check out the terms of its settlement with a student who sued the school for violating his due-process rights after he was accused of rape, according to Colorado Daily:

The University of Colorado has agreed to pay a suspended male student $15,000 and will not disclose without a waiver the details of his disciplinary record — which includes convictions under the campus judicial process in a 2013 sexual assault case. …

The university will not reveal his identity to the public and agreed to provide John Doe with a positive reference.

John Doe agreed to withdraw from the university.

“In response to any question about whether Mr. Doe would be welcome back to the university, the university will respond in the affirmative,” CU officials write in the settlement agreement. “In response to any question about Mr. Doe’s academic standing at the university during his tenure there, the university will respond, ‘Prior to his withdrawal, Mr. Doe was a student in good academic standing.'”

Here’s what that means, says Samantha Harris at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

Scenario 1: CU does not actually think that Doe is a sexual offender or any kind of threat to other students, but it subjected him to an unfair process and found him responsible because it was under pressure from a federal investigation by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) into its sexual misconduct policies and practices. This would suggest that CU cares more about its own interests than about whether students are actually guilty of the offenses of which they are accused.

Scenario 2: CU does think that Doe is a sexual offender and has nevertheless agreed—by promising him a positive reference and agreeing to remain vague about his disciplinary record—to make it easier for him to go someplace else (and possibly commit another offense) in order to make this lawsuit go away. This would suggest that CU is willing to put students at other schools at risk of sexual assault from a known offender to further its own interests.

It’s just a business decision, the school says. Harris calls BS on that:

For those watching at home, yes, CU just called potentially clearing the way for an alleged rapist to continue his crimes on another campus “a prudent use of the university’s resources.” Please, tell us again how we can trust universities to serve as a victim-friendly alternative to the criminal justice system.

Read the Daily story and FIRE’s analysis.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: Netflix

Another “John Doe” is suing another university for violating his rights.

The Denver Post reports that “his lawyers write in the complaint that CU’s ‘investigation was slanted in favor of Jane Doe and took her statements at face-value, while mischaracterizing John Doe’s statements.'”

The student’s lawsuit contends his civil rights were violated under Title IX, and that he was “wrongfully accused and suspended for three semesters after a night of consensual sex,” the Post reports.

The Post adds:

In the complaint against CU-Boulder, the male student’s attorneys write that investigators from CU’s Office of Student Conduct were employed to prosecute campus sexual assault, not to gather evidence in an unbiased way.

“When questioning John Doe throughout the process, their line of questioning was hostile in nature, more akin to cross-examination in tenor, and desired to (elicit) a confession, rather than an objective attempt to factually reconstruct an event,” according to the complaint.

CU officials have defended campus investigatory processes in the past as neutral and fact-finding in nature.

Add this lawsuit to the very long and continually growing list of complaints against universities for violating young men’s due process rights and railroading them after dubious and flimsy allegations of sexual assault.

Even the New York Times is getting on the bandwagon, reporting last week that a “database maintained by a group called A Voice for Male Students counted 11 lawsuits this year in which male students ‘wrongly accused of sex crimes found themselves hustled through a vague and misshapen adjudication process with slipshod checks and balances and Kafkaesque standards of evidence.'”

“At a moment when students who have been sexually assaulted are finding new ways to make their voices heard, and as college officials across the country are rushing to meet new government standards, a specialized class of lawyers is raising its voice, too. They are speaking out on behalf of the students they describe as most vulnerable: not those who might be subjected to sexual assault, but those who have been accused of it,” the Times reports. “To do so, they have appropriated the legal tools most commonly used to fight sexual misconduct and turned them against the prosecution, confronting higher education’s whole approach to the issue, which they describe as a civil rights disaster.”

Civil rights disaster indeed. Until campuses stop trivializing rape, more and more lawsuits like this will be filed.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Campus leaders at the University of Colorado Boulder are leaning against renaming two newly renovated campus residence halls “Nowoo3” and “Houusoo,” saying the English versions of the Native American words will be “more easily recognized and referenced” by pretty much everyone.

CU spokesman Ryan Huff said this week that university leaders stand by an earlier proposal to name the buildings Little Raven and Niwot halls. But the CU Board of Regents recently delayed a decision on the matter as emotions run high and officials voice concerns about hurt feelings and cultural sensitivity.

“I think we need to treat this very delicately,” said Steve Ludwig, a Democratic member of the CU Board of Regents, reports The Daily Camera. “We might not make everyone happy, but I’d like to just double check and make sure.”

Huff, the campus spokesman, said in an emailed statement to The College Fix that “while some faculty members expressed their preference to use the Arapaho language, the CU Boulder administration has remained committed to the original proposal of using the English spellings.”

He added the original names are “more easily recognized and referenced” by students, faculty, emergency responders and campus visitors.

Last year it was decided that the newly remodeled Kittredge Central was to be renamed Little Raven Hall, and likewise Kittredge West was to become Niwot Hall. Chief Niwot and Chief Little Raven are Arapaho chiefs known for their peaceful methods in dealing with early American pioneers and settlers.

But those names apparently did not go far enough.

The dorms were tapped to be re-renamed last winter to Nowoo3 and Houusoo after the CU Planning Board approved the proposal in the wake of ethnic studies professors and others on campus pushing for the name change.

“While the orthographies might initially seem foreign or hard to understand to non-Arapahos and non-Natives, choosing to spell Nowoo3 as Niwot would be equivalent to spelling Charles de Gaulle’s name phonetically (Sharl duh Gahl), which is culturally chauvinist and clearly primitivizing in a Native American context,” a letter to the planning board had stated.

Professors affiliated with the CU Boulder Native American and Indigenous Studies department were not happy about the “Anglicization” of the chiefs’ names, the letter stated. According to these professors, anglicized or phonetic spellings of the chief’s names are not sufficient enough in honoring their memory, The College Fix reported in December.

“Neither phonetic spellings (Hosa, Niwot) nor literal translations … of these options seems culturally sensitive and attuned to the unique political status of Native Americans and Arapahos in Colorado, specifically,” the letter stated. “Houusoo and Nowoo3 were the names these pivotally important and pacifist-oriented chiefs were known by, and we should honor them in their own languages in their own home (i.e., Boulder).”

Thomas Lifson of American Thinker criticized the decision at the time, and said the professors may have crossed the line of cultural sensitivity and into the realm of ridiculousness, despite good intentions.

But not everyone is thrilled with campus leaders’ leanings to use the English language.

“We need to reframe the way we think about our academic endeavor,” Penny Kelsey, an associate professor of English and ethnic studies, told The Daily Camera. “We’re here through the grace and permission of the Arapaho and Cheyenne people. This is their traditional territory and this, in fact, would be honoring them to use their language.

“Wouldn’t it be sad if students came here for a four- or five-year education and they weren’t able to learn two words, two proper names, in the indigenous language? Let’s set the bar a little higher.”

College Fix reporter Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGE: Wally G./Flickr

A story in the Daily Camera on Tuesday described how some “CU Boulder alums” are upset about the school’s upcoming “Football 101 For Women” clinic. The story then proceeds to quote three feminist alumni who are insulted at the very idea!

Yeah, because every woman can easily articulate the difference between a 3-4 defense and a Cover 2 defense.

As a woman, I am not ashamed to admit that most men who grew up watching, playing – and in some cases living and breathing – football, know more about the intrinsics of the game than I do.

But one woman, a talent agency VP, called the clinic a “slap in the face.” Another “brand strategist and lifelong athlete,” chimed in with: “It seems very medieval or backwards.” Said the third feminist, a LGBTQ activist:  “Being a woman, I know I need some education in football, but I also have several male friends who need education in football. I don’t think we stand alone.”

OK, that last comment is at least a coherent response. But ultimately, is it so wrong to offer women a class that, let’s face it, many if not most could benefit from? As someone who has watched NFL games nearly every Sunday for the last umpteen years, of course I get the basics, but so much of the nuances of the game and its complexity are over my head.

Being a strong woman is also being willing to admit when you don’t know something. And why do feminists always have to presume to speak for all women?

CU athletic department spokesman Dave Plati told the Daily Camera the university has hosted the class since the mid-1990s and has never received complaints about it. Many other campuses across the nation offer similar clinics, including Notre Dame and the University of Southern Mississippi.

“You won’t hear about the very basics of the game, such as a touchdown is worth six points,” Plati told the Camera.

The three-hour class includes a film study, and it taught by Coach Mike MacIntyre and other CU football coaches.

“The ladies really enjoyed it, it gives them more knowledge of the game,” MacIntyre said in a newsletter advertising the clinic, according to the Daily Camera. “They’ll learn a lot about the game, and they’ll be able to meet our staff. Some will know a lot about football, and some won’t, but either way it really helps them watch and understand the game and understand what our players go through.”

Sounds like fun – and educational – to me.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. ( @JenniferKabbany )

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter