Harvard

It started with Jews in the 1920s and it continues with Asian-American students today, according to a lawsuit filed against Harvard for its admissions policies.

The Project on Fair Representation filed lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, it said Monday.

Both claim the schools are in “blatant failure to comply with recent Supreme Court directives with regard to race preferences” and “are emblematic of the behavior of the vast majority of competitive colleges throughout the country.”

The Harvard suit says it’s “strictly limiting” the number of Asian-American students it admits each year and “engaging in racial balancing year after year.” The UNC suit says that like Harvard, the school is “not in compliance with the new Fisher strict scrutiny requirements” and that UNC itself has admitted in a court filing it can increase racial diversity through race-neutral means.

The plaintiffs are members of a new nonprofit, Students for Fair Admissions, which is reaching out to students who believe they were unjustly “rejected from a competitive university” in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and federal civil rights laws.

The project’s director, Edward Blum, said in the press release that the two suits “are the first of what are expected to be several similar challenges to other competitive colleges that continue to unconstitutionally use racial preferences in admission decisions.”

Harvard has an ugly history of capping certain groups who would otherwise be admitted, the release said:

The “Harvard Plan” itself—and the concept of an admissions system based on a “holistic” review of applicants instead of admission based on academic accomplishment—was formulated for the specific purpose of discriminating against Jews. Harvard’s “holistic review” today is primarily a similar tool to limit the number of Asian Americans it admits each year.

Read the release.

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It’s not just so-called survivors who are speaking out by name about their alleged assaults – it’s those accused of assault.

Former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt, now a Harvard law student, shared his story about how an “informal complaint” by an ex-girlfriend “nearly ruined” his life, in the Boston Globe – and why Harvard’s new policy (blasted by its own law faculty) is so dangerous:

[Yale’s then-newly-created University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct] summoned me to appear and styled the meeting as a form of mediation. Its chairman, a professor with no prior experience handling dispute resolution, told me that I could have a faculty adviser present but no lawyer, and instructed me to avoid my accuser, who, by that point, I had neither seen nor spoken to in weeks. The committee imposed an “expectation of confidentiality” on me so as to prevent any form of “retaliation” against my accuser.

I would say more about what the accusation itself entailed if indeed I had such information. Under the informal complaint process, specific accusations are not disclosed to the accused, no fact-finding takes place, and no record is taken of the alleged misconduct. For the committee to issue an informal complaint, an accuser need only bring an accusation that, if substantiated, would constitute a violation of university policy concerning sexual misconduct. The informal “process” begins and ends at the point of accusation; the truth of the claim is immaterial.

He goes on to state that Yale pretty much lied to him about the consequences of this “informal complaint” – Witt’s post-graduation job offer was rescinded and his potential Rhodes Scholarship became untenable following an “anonymous tip”:

I cannot begin to describe how exasperatingly difficult it has been to try to explain to people what an informal complaint is and how there was never any evidence — nor any effort made to discover evidence — to substantiate the claim made by my accuser. My summer employer and the NFL certainly couldn’t understand it, and the media flat out didn’t care — the words “informal complaint” were all that was needed to establish my guilt in their eyes.

Read his full Globe op-ed.

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More than half – 51 percent – of America’s millennials who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress, with only 47 percent favoring Democrat control, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll.

This marks a significant departure from the institute’s findings before the 2010 midterm elections, when America’s 18-29 year olds who were definitely voting favored Democrats 55 percent to 43 percent.

Institute director Maggie Williams described the youth vote as “politically up for grabs” and a potential “swing vote” for control of Congress in a conference call to announce the results.

“The message to political candidates is clear: Ignore millennial voters at your peril,” Williams said.

What’s more, the poll found that only 43 percent of millennials approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 53 percent disapprove. It is his second-lowest rating in the institute’s polls since he took office. The figures are only slightly worse for Obama among those who will “definitely be voting”: 42 percent approve, 56 percent disapprove.

The results showed a stark divide in presidential approval along racial and ethnic lines. Only three in 10 young whites approve of the president’s performance, while nearly eight in 10 young blacks approve. Hispanic youth approval fell to 49 percent, down from 60 percent just six months ago.

Director of Polling John Della Volpe described youth voters as “a little bit less Democratic” than during Obama’s first term, speaking on the conference call. Factoring in the voting likelihood of all millennials, more 18-29 year olds prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress than a Republican one (50 percent to 43 percent), Della Volpe said – but the age group has become less supportive of the party.

“A lot of it comes down to turnout,” Della Volpe said. “It seems that young Republicans are more likely to participate next week.”

The poll also surveyed voters about terrorism threats. More than six in 10 millennials say they are “a great deal” or “somewhat” worried about another terrorist attack, with young women (66 percent) more afraid than men (56 percent).

A plurality – 39 percent – supports the president’s expansion of the U.S. air campaign against ISIS. Twenty percent oppose the expansion of air strikes, while 38 percent are unsure.

The institute survey of 2,029 18-29 year-old U.S. citizens was conducted Sept. 26-Oct. 9 with a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.6 percent.

College Fix reporter Michael Cipriano is a student at American University.

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Twenty-eight of Harvard’s law professors issued a statement via The Boston Globe asking the university to reconsider its policy on sexual harassment and violence.

Included among the names are Alan Dershowitz, Charles Ogletree, and Philip Heymann.

Some of their concerns are as follows:

Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation. Here our concerns include but are not limited to the following:

■ The absence of any adequate opportunity to discover the facts charged and to confront witnesses and present a defense at an adversary hearing.

■ The lodging of the functions of investigation, prosecution, fact-finding, and appellate review in one office, and the fact that that office is itself a Title IX compliance office rather than an entity that could be considered structurally impartial.

■ The failure to ensure adequate representation for the accused, particularly for students unable to afford representation.

Harvard has inappropriately expanded the scope of forbidden conduct, including by:

■ Adopting a definition of sexual harassment that goes significantly beyond Title IX and Title VII law.

■ Adopting rules governing sexual conduct between students both of whom are impaired or incapacitated, rules which are starkly one-sided as between complainants and respondents, and entirely inadequate to address the complex issues in these unfortunate situations involving extreme use and abuse of alcohol and drugs by our students.

The profs conclude, in part, by noting “The goal must instead be to fully address sexual harassment while at the same time protecting students against unfair and inappropriate discipline, honoring individual relationship autonomy, and maintaining the values of academic freedom.”

Read the full statement.

h/t to Hans Bader.

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A whole dozen members of the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) protested outside Harvard’s Massachusetts Hall to give President Drew G. Faust a letter demanding she cut all ties with the group Teach For America — if the organization doesn’t make some changes, that is.

SLAM is miffed because, it claims, TFA’s two-year (teaching) requirement “undermines the quality of public education.”

The Harvard Crimson reports:

“We’re calling on Harvard to support and provide the resources for people who want want to have lifelong careers in public education, not people who want to teach for a couple of years and then go to law school or business school,” said Blake A. McGhghy ’17, a SLAM member who spearheaded the Harvard branch of the campaign.

The letter to Faust addresses three areas in which students hope to see reforms to Teach For America: demanding the organization only send students to areas in which there is a teaching shortage, providing corps members more education and training, and cutting ties with corporations the students think threaten teachers unions such as Exxon Mobil and JPMorgan Chase.

The caption under this photo says the protesters were chanting “education not privatization” … said protesters apparently missing the irony that they attend the most elite private university in the country.

TFA co-CEO Matthew Kramer defended his organization, noting “nearly 90 percent of TFA’s 37,000 alumni work in education or in low-income communities.”

But, it seems SLAM doesn’t believe this amounts to “education justice.”

Read the full article here.

(h/t to Adam Kissel.)

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Yale University’s new report on campus sexual misconduct shows how the school is investigating accused students based on “hearsay,” giving unusually light punishments for supposed assaults and even punishing those it exonerates, according to a professor who co-wrote a book about the Duke University lacrosse rape case.

The twice-annual report – created under an agreement between Yale and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights – illustrates that Yale’s procedures for dealing with complaints of sexual misconduct are “transparently rigged,” Brooklyn College history professor K.C. Johnson told The College Fix.

The University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) report covers January through June and also updates cases that were unresolved in previous reports. It describes 64 complaints, compared to 70 for the previous report covering July through December.

The vast majority are classified as “sexual assault” and all but a handful involve undergraduates.

Many Varieties of ‘Assault’  – and Non-Reciprocal Oral Sex Recommended

The UWC’s formal process, its informal process and the Title IX coordinator handled similar numbers of sexual-assault complaints, though the coordinator handled the vast majority of sexual-harassment complaints.

The descriptions of the formal complaints span a few male-on-female scenarios without consent: “touching of a sexual nature”; “sexual intercourse”; “sexual activities”; and “certain acts without her consent during otherwise consensual sexual activity.” Only one says a female alleged the male “sexually assaulted” her.

Punishments included suspensions, restricted contact, “sexual consent training,” withheld degrees, and, in two updated cases, men who were expelled. But eight of the 13 formal complaints are listed as “pending,” and in just two did the school lack “sufficient evidence” against the accused.

Yale University LibraryThe informal complaints more often list “unwanted advances” or “unwanted communications,” and punishments tend toward counseling and restricted contact. Only one out of 12 remains pending. The 25 cases handled by the Title IX coordinator were far more varied, involving same-gender complaints, complaints against Yale faculty, staff, contractors and non-Yale students, allegations of “unwanted attention” and touching, and many “inappropriate comments.”

All but one of the 18 cases referred to the Yale Police Department ended with police giving the accuser “information on safety and victim services.”

Confusion over how Yale defines “nonconsensual sex” led the school last fall to release “scenarios” that would result in punishment, but some of them – which include a trigger warning and gender-neutral names for couples – are less than straightforward.

One suggests that sexual partners, who may both be drunk, must pay close attention to each other’s nonverbal cues, like showing less interest in sex than the other person, or risk penalties from “multi-semester suspension to expulsion.” Another counsels students not to reciprocate oral sex without getting “unambiguous agreement,” which could lead to a “reprimand.”

UWC Chair David Post, from the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, declined to comment specifically on the group’s work, instead providing UWC procedural materials to The College Fix. Yale’s communications office has not responded to questions.

Exonerated Student Punished, Lighter Penalty Suggests ‘Assault’ Was Not

The new report shows the public how Yale’s process is rigid and does not allow for a fair trial for the accused, Brooklyn College’s Johnson told The College Fix.

“Few people … would argue that a student’s due process rights are respected” under Yale’s complaint process, Johnson said by email. An accused male “can’t cross-examine his accuser, he has limited discovery rights, he can’t have a lawyer representing him in the process, and he can be branded a rapist based on a 50.01% belief in guilt by the disciplinary panel,” a lower legal standard known as preponderance of the evidence.

The UWC, which can vote on whether to move a complaint forward or not, is made up of 30 faculty, students and managerial or professional employees, according to Post. A background in law or law enforcement is not required to serve on the committee and any questions must be asked and approved by the hearing panel.

KC-Johnson-brooklyn.Biersaufer.WMCJohnson noted several irregularities in an essay for Minding the Campus, a Manhattan Institute project.

The informal process was used in seven assault cases this past semester, and zero in the previous report, Johnson said. He called it a “Scarlet Letter” approach in which an accused student’s inability to present evidence makes it “almost impossible” to avoid “being branded a rapist,” but the penalties are more limited, Johnson said.

One of the two accused students found “not culpable” – meaning Yale judged it “more likely than not he was the subject of a false allegation” – was still punished, Johnson noted.

The one-way no-contact order means that “if the two happen to enroll in the same course, the accused student would need to drop the class; or if the two happened to be assigned to the same dorm, the accused student would have to move,” Johnson said.

“In the several years” of the Yale reports, “there never has been any indication that Yale has punished even one student for filing a false claim of sexual assault,” Johnson said.

Yale also appears to have an “extraordinarily broad” definition of sexual assault, as shown by a lighter punishment – a one-year suspension – given to one student found guilty, Johnson said. The punishment “strongly suggests that his actual offense was not ‘sexual assault’” and yet the finding will likely prevent him from getting “any job that involves a background check that would access his college transcript.”

Even worse for another student was Yale expelling him after his accuser went to an administrator but declined to file a formal complaint, Johnson said: Yale continued the case, relying on the “hearsay” of the administrator to the Title IX coordinator.

And in one “Orwellian” example in the report, Johnson said, the Title IX coordinator is pursuing an accused student as a “serial rapist … even though none of the females he allegedly raped have filed a complaint, or have even been identified.”

Why Harvard Doesn’t Use ‘Affirmative Consent’

Following Yale’s lead, Harvard University recently set up its own Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Dispute Resolution. Harvard declined to comment to The College Fix but provided an article from the Harvard Gazette, the school’s official news outlet.

The new office is tasked with investigating “sexual misconduct complaints against students, ranging from persistent or pervasive harassment in a lab environment, for instance, to a rape,” Mia Karvonides, the school’s Title IX officer and former Office of Civil Rights lawyer, told the Gazette.

The Gazette pressed Karvonides on why Harvard didn’t adopt an “affirmative consent” standard for sexual relations, the subject of a California bill. She responded that “there is no standard definition of affirmative consent” and the only school to have anything close is Antioch College, where “consent is given step by step at every point of engagement during an intimate encounter.”

College Fix contributor Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.

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