Northwestern University’s Laura Kipnis, bane of fainting-couch feminists everywhere, is no longer an outlier.
A female professor is suing the University of Michigan for punishing her even after she was cleared in a Title IX investigation that stemmed from a student she suspected of academic fraud.
Columnist Ingrid Jacques of The Detroit News tells the sad saga of Pamela Smock, whose salary was frozen, sabbatical blocked and mentorship privileges withdrawn because her dean found her conduct … “troubling.”
What exact policy did this feminist sociologist violate? She has no idea. Her 22-month witch hunt started precisely because she was trying to mentor a student:
A few weeks prior, while at a conference with one of the students, Smock had gently confronted the woman about a paper she had turned in for another class. Smock had reason to question whether this was her student’s work, and she was concerned.
The student did not take the conversation well.
Within a few weeks, campus police stormed Smock’s office, searching for a reported gun (she didn’t have one). And around the same time, she was informed harassment allegations were filed against her with the university’s Office for Institutional Equity, which investigates Title IX gender discrimination complaints.
She was cleared of creating a “sexually hostile work environment” more than a year ago, but the “distress” of the investigation and sanctioning has kept Smock from returning to campus since 2016, according to Jacques.
Her federal lawsuit against the university, scandal-plagued President Mark Schlissel and the regents alleges violations of her due process and free speech rights.
While Dean Andrew Martin “referenced” the Title IX complaint in punishing Smock, no one has actually given her a specific charge, and her students’ complaints against Smock centered on “conversations” related to their work with her, “which dealt with sexuality, relationships and fertility, among others,” according to Jacques.
Smock’s lawyer David Nacht says his client is facing “the same lack of due process men are facing” when accused of sexual misconduct, and it’s emblematic of the “new McCarthyism” on campus.