August 19, 2015

DOUBLE STANDARDS: University dismisses male student’s harassment claim.

How are male and female students treated differently under the anti-discrimination law Title IX? Not only are men accused of sexual assault denied due process or the assumption of innocence, but male accusers are often ignored.

Case in point: A male student from Northwestern University brought forward sexual harassment claims against a male microbiology and pathology professor but had them dismissed by the school. Now, the male student waited two years to report the sexual harassment, which allegedly occurred between 2007 and 2010. The male student reported the harassment to his adviser in 2012, who then reported it to the school’s Title IX coordinator.

Setting aside the merits of the case and my initial skepticism, the university dismissed the student’s accusation, claiming Title IX required reporting to be done within 180 days of the alleged harassment. The timing claim, however, applies to filing Title IX lawsuits with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, not to filing claims with schools.

Regardless, the male student tried again one year later, this time by appealing to the Title IX coordinator directly. The adviser acknowledged that comments made by the professor to the male student were “ill-advised and unwelcome,” but maintained that they did not rise to the level of sexual harassment.

The student had accused the professor of “making suggestive comments” and “ogling.” He also claimed he was once invited to the professor’s room to have his hair cut and that the professor asked other students about the accuser’s sexual orientation.

Now imagine, as the College Fix does, what would have happened had a female student made similar allegations against a professor.

Related: Prosecutors support more due process for accused students.

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