Debate Rages Over Obama Definition of College Sexual Harassment

Swampland

To hear the critics tell it, President Obama wants to restrict free speech at college, interfere with campus dating and “de-eroticize” university life. The reasons can be found in a single line of the May letter from the Departments of Justice and Education to the University of Montana, Missoula—a campus long plagued by sexual assaults and shoddy sexual harassment prevention efforts.

The letter asks the school to encourage students to report what they believe to be sexual harassment on campus, regardless of whether the harassment is creating a hostile environment for students. It also sets a broad standard for what harassment means. “[S]exual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,'” reads the document. “Whether conduct is objectively offensive is a factor used to determine if a hostile environment has been created, but it is not the standard to determine whether conduct…

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