News & Politics

Howard Law Prof Sues School for Denying Him Due Process in Title IX Shakedown

Brazil fans cheer for their team while holding a national flag, prior a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay, Thursday, March. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Howard University law professor Reginald Robinson found himself dealing with fallout for including a question on an exam about a potential legal issue stemming from a fictional Brazilian wax service gone bad.

Two students felt uncomfortable about the question, which sounds ridiculous, and so a Title IX investigation was launched, which sounds like a massive waste of everyone’s time.

Now, Robinson is fighting back. From The College Fix:

While Reginald Robinson’s lawyer declined to tell The Fix exactly what his client was seeking — or what action Robinson might take in response to the sanctions — he said the historically black institution’s investigation was sloppy and denied Robinson due process.

The 504-day Title IX probe was spurred by two students who complained that Robinson’s test question — involving a hypothetical legal scenario involving Brazilian waxing — forced one of them to publicly disclose her own grooming habits.

Sleeping through genital plucking

The professor’s multiple-choice test question centered on a court’s response to a demurrer motion, in which a party does not challenge the facts alleged by the opposing party but says those facts do not support the grounds for the lawsuit.

Robinson (below) laid out a scenario where a spa customer consented to receive a “full Brazilian” wax after the aesthetician explained how it differed from a “modified Brazilian.” The customer was told the full wax would involve genital touching, and consented and signed proper documentation.

The students’ complaint against Robinson apparently stemmed from another condition in the question: possible drugging and groping.

The customer drank “hot herbal tea” while disrobing, and then fell into a “light sleep” during the waxing. After waking, the customer felt “physically uncomfortable” and asked whether the aesthetician had touched the customer “improperly” during the waxing.

Robinson’s story from that point on should sound rather familiar to those who have been following the legal abomination of Title IX investigations. Robinson was never told who accused him or even what the specific accusation was — which means he had no opportunity to confront his accuser. He was found guilty of a Title IX complaint, and will have to undergo “sensitivity training.” He also has to submit all exam questions for review to make sure no one’s feelings get hurt in the future.

An individual claiming to be the student argues that she knows it’s impossible to sleep through a Brazilian wax without being drugged, and that she refused to discuss her grooming habits with Robinson. I get that. I really do.

The problem, however, is that any rational person can see that it was a hypothetical question designed to test a student’s knowledge of the law. Maybe it was an ill-conceived question because it doesn’t take certain real-world facts into account — but that doesn’t make it harassment. That’s absurd.

If designing questions that do not mesh with reality deserves career-altering punishment, then I want action taken against whoever created the word problems I had to figure out all through school that presumed everyone had dozens and dozens of pieces of fruit that were just handed around to friends all willy-nilly.

If any action needs to be taken by the school, it should be to finally teach these young adults that the world isn’t about their personal comfort — especially if they intend to be lawyers.