The vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Missouri was asked in a deposition if a big man asking a smaller woman for a date would, in itself, meet the school’s definition of “sexual misconduct.”
Since the big man would have “power and authority” over the smaller woman, the answer is yes.
This was a serious case. It involved a Ph.D. candidate who was suspended for his conduct. The candidate, referred to as “John Doe,” sued the school over this idiocy.
John, who is black, got into hot water when he asked a smaller white woman (“Jane Roe”) for a date. She declined but said that perhaps they could go out later that month.
Two days later, she told him to “stop making romantic advances toward her,” according to John’s lawsuit against Mizzou. Despite not wanting to date him, Jane asked John to keep taking her to dance classes.
John did this, and later asked Jane to recommend some YouTube videos to help him improve his dancing. She suggested private lessons but told him she didn’t teach privately. She then, according to John’s lawsuit, avoided him for the next week.
On October 14, 2016, John wrote Jane a three-page letter “apologizing for being awkward around her, expressing sincere feelings for her, and asking [her] what if anything she wanted from Plaintiff,” his lawsuit said.
Since the phrase “power and authority” usually refers to a teacher, Scroggs was asked why a Ph.D. candidate would qualify for charges of sexual misconduct:
She was further questioned as to the “nature of [John’s] power over her.” The interviewer asked if it was just John’s “size” that contributed to that “power.”
Scroggs responded: “His physical size.”
The interviewer then said part of the conduct code “doesn’t require him to be a teacher.” And asked, “When it says person of authority, it doesn’t mean, like, a teacher or boss?”
Scroggs responded: “Well, I suppose it could; but in this case, no, I didn’t interpret it that way.”
So while most people would assume “power or authority” refers to a professor or other superior’s relationship with a student, Scroggs indicated that literally being larger than another person and asking them out could be an unfair sexual situation.
The obvious lunacy of physical size being a cause for “sexual misconduct” aside, the important fact of this case is how administrators — and some women — change or interpret the rules however they want in order to suit an agenda that can loosely be described as “anti-male” but is really just a matter of the simple, uncomplicated exercise of the power to destroy. This is a seductive power and we see it often on college campuses.
How do we know this? If this was about protecting women, they would make the policy as clear as it can be made. Instead, they purposely keep the policy incredibly vague in order to destroy the largest number of men.
Later in the deposition, Andy Hayes, Mizzou’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civil Rights & Title IX, suggested that if someone were confused about whether they had “a legitimate purpose” for asking someone out on a date, they could call his office for clarification, but they might not get a definite answer. Here’s what he said in the original exchange:
Q. Is asking someone out on a date a course of conduct on the basis of sex? Let me just ask you that.
Q. So you could ask someone out on a date with a legitimate purpose and not fall within this rule; is that correct?
A. You could.
Q. Okay. What I’m trying to get at here is, a student reading this policy, how did they know what is a legitimate purpose within the meaning of the rule?
A. Well, I’m going to speculate. But if they wanted it clarified, they could call my office. They could ask someone about it if they needed clarification. I don’t know that many students read the rules before they take action.
Calling the vice chancellor for Title IX for “clarification” on asking a woman out on a date? He must not have a lot to do if he can field calls from students who just met someone and need “clarification” that asking the woman out won’t get them kicked out of school.
There is nothing noble about this policy. There is nothing remotely logical about it. It is, on its face, nonsensical. But as long as it serves its purpose of threatening men with severe punishment, it will continue to be enforced.