‘I’m gonna make an analogy, it’s gonna get me in trouble’
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s* recent announcement that her department will revise Title IX enforcement practices led one angry former vice president to compare her to white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
The architect of the Obama administration’s Title IX policy, Joe Biden told rape-culture activists on a conference call last week that supporters of DeVos’s planned review of Obama’s sexual-misconduct guidance were “cultural neanderthals.”
He went so far as to compare them to participants in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last month, which left one counterprotester dead.
The former vice president and 36-year U.S. senator acknowledged the severity of his analogy, stating that it was “gonna get me in trouble.”
“Guys, we have the power on our side. We have the people on our side,” he said 17 minutes into his 19-minute address:
We cannot let the kind of things – I’m gonna make an analogy, it’s gonna get me in trouble – we cannot let the kind of talk that occurred down at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville with those Nazis marching [sic]. When we’re silent, we give a rationale, an excuse to people who are the very people we’ve been fighting all along.
Biden was audibly agitated and angry through most of his address on the 50-minute call, a recording of which was made available to The College Fix. He even apologized at various points for his tone, as well as for taking so much time on the call.
Much of Biden’s remarks was disjointed and awkwardly worded, and he moved from topic to topic quickly and repeated himself in different words at several points.
“As long as I have breath in me,” Biden told Know Your IX and End Rape on Campus among other activist groups, “I am going to continue to fight to change the culture … there’s nothing less that has to be done.”
He made clear his fight will include continued appearances on college campuses to urge administrators to believe all sexual-misconduct allegations and give preferential treatment to accusers.
‘I’m gonna be on your college campuses’
Alluding to his sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act more than two decades ago, Biden told activists their struggle was in the same vein as those who challenged American culture’s past tolerance for domestic violence.
He said he will continue to fight against sexual assault on campus and alluded to the oft-cited but heavily disputed statistic that one in five women will be raped in college.
That statistic was the subject of a critical PragerU video that Fordham University’s dean of students recently showed to a resident assistant training in his capacity as a Title IX coordinator. He’s currently under investigation for showing the video, which allegedly led several RAs to break down in tears. (President Barack Obama went even further, saying one in five women “in America” was a victim of rape or attempted rape.)
Biden told the students on the call that they wouldn’t be able to get rid of him. “I’m gonna be on your college campuses,” he said: “I may not be vice president anymore, but I’ll still be going around the country speaking at college campuses about this.”
Biden made occasional appearances on campuses in the past few years, often posing for photos and sometimes showing physical affection toward female students. He was hired as a professor by the University of Pennsylvania after leaving the White House, though he does not teach students.
Shame is a ‘powerful weapon’ against administrators
Saying that public opinion was on their side, Biden told those on the call that “this [Trump] administration does not speak for the American people on this issue.” He did not cite any polls or surveys on the subject.
What makes him particularly angry is that “at the very time we’re supposed to be doubling down, as we did in our administration, and putting out nationwide warnings … educating young men about what is appropriate and not appropriate, to have standards to set up,” Biden said, “they’re talking about doing away with the standards … with tens of thousands of students walking back on campus.”
By “standards,” Biden appears to be referring to requirements and recommendations his administration forced on colleges with the threat of revoking federal funds, including using the low “preponderance” evidence standard and discouraging cross-examination of accusers.
The former vice president challenged those on the call to use shame, calling it “a powerful weapon” against university administrators who don’t enforce Biden’s interpretation of Title IX. He said many administrators will bow to such pressure because they don’t want their institutions to be publicly embarrassed.
Biden called rape a crime but seemed to advocate that universities circumvent the legal system through their Title IX enforcement.
“Although we can’t try [accused students] on campus for this without going to court, and I’m not suggesting we should, the preponderance of evidence [standard] is sufficient … to hold colleges accountable,” Biden said. He apparently meant to say the 50.01 percent-confidence standard is sufficient for judging all accused students, noting that preponderance is often used in investigations of cheating on exams.
As he wrapped up his remarks, the former vice president issued a challenge: “So we will not go quietly into the night on this. I will not, and I’m counting on you, I’m counting on you, I’m counting on you.”
The call was organized by It’s On Us, a collaboration between the nonprofit Civic Action and the U.S. Department of Education. The Obama White House helped launch the It’s On Us campaign three years ago.
IMAGES: Karen B. Jones/Shutterstock, YouTube