Jeremy Rowles asked his dance fitness instructor out in the spring of 2016. Shortly thereafter he was suspended by the University of Missouri for sexual harassment. The school apparently believes that the simple, age-old act of a male asking a female for a date can violate Title IX laws.
Rowles, who is black, sued the university, asserting that his punishment was “part of a larger pattern and practice” of racial discrimination. A judge let him pursue racial discrimination claims against individual officials, stating that they should have known “applying the same disciplinary standards differently to students of different races was unreasonable.”
“Applying the same disciplinary standards differently” is not applying the same disciplinary standards. Period.
I thought harassment was typically thought of as behavior exhibited by someone in power or authority. Like a boss. Or an instructor who controls a student’s grade. Asked about this, Cathy Scroggs, Missouri’s former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, referenced Rowles’ physical size. The school’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civil Rights and Title IX, Andy Hayes, agreed. She said that power isn’t necessarily tied to an “authority situation.” In her deposition, Hayes stated: “I think there could be a feeling of that [abuse of ‘power’} just by the nature of your gender.” When asked if this “could apply to any situation with any man and any woman,” she replied, “It could.”
This is preposterous on two fronts. First, how the hell many officials and administrators does the average college and university employ? Do we really need an Assistant Vice Chancellor for Intersectionality and Gender Studies? Is an Assistant Adjunct Vice Chancellor for the Distribution of Menstrual Products on Campus a truly vital position? Second, if male students must refrain from asking female students out, at least in cases where they are larger than the female, where does that leave us? And does larger refer to height, weight, or the two taken together?
Given that, on average, males are 5 and 1/2 inches taller-- and nearly 30 pounds heavier-- than females, this edict will essentially prevent male students from dating, unless co-eds come banging on their doors.
This line of “reasoning” will further alienate the sexes and make courting even more confusing-- and fraught with danger and drama. This is terribly sad, as one of the natural joys of life is navigating the dating world and finding a suitable partner with whom one can build a fulfilling future. Rulings like these make that quest immeasurably more difficult… to the detriment of society as a whole.
Will men on campus be limited to asking East German weight-lifter look-alikes out? Rosie O’Donnell and Bella Abzug types? That’s not going to happen. Nor will they ask men out. So, will straight men have to sit back and hope petite women ask them out?
And what about a “transgender man” asking a woman out? Is this allowed? Even if one hasn’t had the surgeries, one is whatever gender one says they are, correct? So, won’t the same issues potentially apply? Who’s going to officiate these potential harassment cases?
As someone once said: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
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