But Kipnis responded by publishing a follow-up essay in the , called “My Title IX Inquisition,” decrying the investigation as a misuse of Title IX that allowed “intellectual disagreement to be redefined as retaliation.” On the same day, Northwestern cleared Kipnis of wrongdoing, finding that “viewpoint expression” is not retaliation, and that a “reasonable person” in the complainant’s position “would not suffer a hostile environment on account of” the essay and the tweet.Earlier this month, Betsy De Vos, the Secretary of Education, delivered a policy speech on Title IX that focussed on the need for fair process for both accusers and the accused.In May, the graduate student sued Kipnis and her publisher, Harper Collins, for defamation.(A Harper Collins representative told me that the company does not comment on pending litigation.) The suit alleges that the book falsely suggests that the graduate student and Ludlow had a consensual dating relationship, falsely insinuates that her allegation of rape was untrue, and falsely claims that she is a “serial Title IX filer.” It also makes an invasion-of-privacy claim, alleging that Kipnis’s book publicly disclosed private facts, including the plaintiff’s prior relationship with a married professor at another school, and details intimate conversations from her relationship with Ludlow.
But days before filing the defamation suit, in May, the graduate student joined four Northwestern faculty members and five other graduate students as a complainant in yet another Title IX complaint against Kipnis, this time based on the publication of “Unwanted Advances.”Kipnis told me that she was surprised when Northwestern once again launched a formal Title IX investigation of her writing.
She also stated that “schools have been compelled by Washington to enforce ambiguous and incredibly broad definitions of assault and harassment,” stemming from over-compliance with the Department’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter, which De Vos has made clear will be replaced by new regulations after a formal rulemaking process.
Individuals “have faced investigation and punishment simply for speaking their minds or teaching their classes,” she said.
(A spokesperson from Northwestern did not respond to a request for comment by press time.) Kipnis said that investigators presented her with a spreadsheet laying out dozens of quotations from her book, along with at least eighty written questions, such as “What do you mean by this statement?
,” “What is the source/are the sources for this information?