Attorney Brett Sokolow is the founder, president, and CEO of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM, which is said “in-kerm”) and the Executive Director of the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA). Throughout much of his career he has been involved in helping and pressuring colleges to adopt rigorous sexual misconduct policies, which has placed him hand-in-hand with the due-process-be-damned brigade in higher education. He has also occasionally sneered at the Men’s Human Rights Movement for championing the cause of the wrongly accused.
His advocacy culminated in the disastrous 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education, which formalized the evisceration of due process rights on college campuses.
In recent times, however, it seems that he may be having a slight change of heart. Two years ago, on this same month, he claimed that “a lot of colleges now are expelling and suspending people they shouldn’t, for fear they’ll get nailed on Title IX.” And now, in a recent ATIXA “Tip of the Week,” he made some bold statements that are sure to rattle the nerves of many a campus “social justice” warrior. He says:
Hear that, Feminists? Hear that, college administrators? Drunk sex is not in and of itself rape. Notice that Sokolow is not just saying that false accusations happen, but also that wrongful convictions happen – and more than many would like to admit. He continues:
Yes. Thank you, Brett Sokolow. As I have been saying for a long time, wrongful accusations of sexual misconduct are indeed an educational equity (Title IX) issue, especially when they are accompanied by wrongful suspensions and expulsions by administrators.
It probably stems from the fact that there is no precedent of the Department of Education investigating schools for failing to provide due process to the wrongly accused. It probably also has something to do with the pervasive culture of gynocentrism, sexism, and misandry that we find throughout higher education, especially as these phenomena intersect with issues of sex and consent.
Note the word in bold: incapacitated. That is the damning criterion required for finding a student guilty (“in violation,” as administrators say) for sexual assault involving drugs or alcohol. Not “under the influence.” Not “intoxicated.” Not “insert fuzzy word here so we can expand the definition of rape beyond all reason and railroad as many young men as possible.” No, none of these words will do. The correct word is incapacitation.
Are you listening, Leah Baker? Take Sokolow’s notes to your next sex education class and stop teaching students to falsely accuse men of rape.
If both are intoxicated, they both did the same thing to each other. Why should only the male be charged if both students behave in ways defined as prohibited by the policy? I’m not suggesting we charge both. Surely, every drunken sexual hook-up is not a punishable offense, especially if the parties know what they did and liked it.
Indeed, why should only the male be charged when both sexual partners did the exact same thing? What reason, other than sex discrimination?
Part of me wants to get Sokolow in a room and let him have it.
“How could you not have known that this was going to happen?”
“Were you totally blind to the world around you?”
People like me have been telling people like him this for as long as he has been throwing caution to the wind and ignoring us.
But we have to give him some credit. He is beginning to look beyond tunnel vision and let the light in. He is taking the first step (of many that are required) to repair the damage caused by the culture he helped prop up.
He is also proving that he is not entirely set in his ways. And that’s more than we can say for a lot of people who work in higher education. I look forward to – and expect – Sokolow’s further progress in this matter. And I hope you do too.
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