Essential Liberty
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Joe Cohn on Title IX and Due Process on Campus

Joe Cohn on Title IX and Due Process on Campus

How the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression fights for student rights

“Justice is an immeasurably precious thing, and due process is an essential part of justice.” – – FIRE's Guide to Due Process and Campus Justice

Joe Cohn is the Director of Legislative Policy at FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. Joe is a 2004 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Fels Institute of government administration. In this episode, Joe and I discuss sexual harassment and discrimination on college campuses, the role of the federal government in general – and the United States Department of Education, in particular – in regulating the protection of victims of sexual harassment, as well as the violators of those rights with specific attention to the due process rights of the accused or the absence of those rights. Trigger warning everyone, what you hear during this next hour will not make you very happy.

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Bob Zadek: Now, Joe, you are the Director of Legislative and Policy at FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression – the former name before you broadened your mandate was the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Tell us about the mission of FIRE – what you hope to accomplish in your work on college campuses?

Joe Cohn: Well, we were founded in 1999 to be a fair and effective advocate for the civil liberties of students and faculty at institutions of higher education. Since 1999, we've been on the frontlines of those issues, advocacy on the ground at schools themselves, and advocacy in the media.

I was brought on in 2012 to add advocacy in the halls of government, because we were seeing that government actors – members of Congress, or state legislators, or the White House, or federal agencies – were starting to tell colleges and universities what they needed to do, and they weren't always telling them to do the right thing that complied with the constitutional rights.

Breach of Contract: Defending Your Rights Against a Private Party

Bob Zadek: Now, you mentioned that very important phrase and concept, civil liberties. When one thinks of civil liberties, one thinks of those rights, those liberties that all of us would like to think we hold and are protected against encroachment by government. Yet, when you are talking about protecting civil liberties on college campuses, the adverse party is another private party – putting aside governmental institutions like state colleges and the like.

So, tell us what you mean by civil liberties, where the counter-party who may be depriving one of civil liberties is a private actor, acting in the same way a business might react? One does not think about protecting civil liberties from encroachment by Walmart. So, why colleges and universities?

Joe Cohn: With respect to the public institutions of higher education, they themselves and their employees are government actors. When a university expels someone for protected speech or punishes them without due process under another charge, it is government action that is implicating to deprive all of the civil liberties.

Now, we've seen a trend on college campuses over the last six or seven years roughly of more campaigns for censorship being led by fellow students. That's a little bit of a depressing thought when historically, the students themselves had been the leaders in fighting for free speech. They have, by and large, embraced a new tactic of appealing to administrators to silence their adversaries. There is an element of what you're describing in terms of, in some instances, having fellow students – private actors – as the adversary.

The related context here is that we also do our advocacy at private institutions of higher education, who are not government actors. There, the courts have for years protected concepts like academic freedom and free speech – not on the basis of the constitutional protections that are correlated with those concepts, but instead, with respect to contract law. So, if you apply to go to school at Harvard, a private institution, and Harvard promises you'll have free speech rights, but they don't live up to those promises, then the courts have been willing to say, "They breached their contract with you and enforce those rights in that way."

Bob Zadek: When I first started learning about FIRE and other institutions, I came up with a theory that I often wondered about: What cause of action would one have if you felt that a private institution, which can basically do what it wants, is depriving you of rights? They're allowed to do that. The concept of using breach of contract certainly was brilliant. It gave you a perfect tool to use where your adverse party is a private college rather than a public that is a state owned a university or college.

Joe Cohn: I'd love to take credit for that tactic, but it predated FIRE's existence. We've utilized those cases and been some of the more frequent advocates, at least in the public sphere, making those arguments since our founding. But we weren't the ones who came up with the idea. 

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Title IX & the Dear Colleague Letter

Bob Zadek: We'll start with something which civil libertarians will all know as the “Dear Colleague” letter.

Way back in 1972, an important federal statute was enacted to protect rights of various subgroups against encroachment. Included in that statute was a section called Title IX, which dealt with the protection of those who are abused by dint of their sex So, we start there with a well-meaning bit of legislation. The first real activity under Title IX was making colleges and universities rethink how they allocated economic resources between men's athletics activities and women's athletic activities. When most of the attention was going to men's activities, that was felt unfair to women athletes. I'm sure that there was a good point to be made and that was the first center of gravity.

Then, we fast forward to the Dear Colleague letter. The Dear Colleague letter was nothing other than a letter from a bureaucrat to some college administrators. Why did this letter – not a statute, not a subpoena – from a bureaucrat to a bunch of college administrators have so much significance.

Joe Cohn: I want the audience to for a moment consider the operative kind of language of Title IX, which was, "No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation and be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, except that-," and then the language goes on. But the key there was that you're looking at the late 1970s when courts started tackling the question of whether or not a school is living up to that promise to eliminate discrimination, if it's allowing their campuses to be permeated with sex-based harassment, whether it's faculty members harassing students or students harassing each other.

The courts over a number of years conclude that a school can't be deliberately indifferent (which is a legal phrase of art we might talk about more later on in this conversation) to known instances of sex-based harassment between students. They go on to carefully craft definitions of standards for when things cross the line. The theory there was a smart one, which is, if there really is a tremendous amount of sexual harassment, and under that umbrella – I'm going to include sexual violence, because the courts have said that sexual violence is a form of harassment as well – and just do nothing about it, you can see how female students would feel less comfortable going to school. That's really the main aim of Title IX – to make sure that universities and K-12 schools are environments where students can learn free of this sex-based discrimination. 

Courts have told schools, "You have an obligation to address complaints." Here, you fast forward to 2011 and you have the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sending this Dear Colleague letter, which is an informal letter telling all of the schools that they regulate its views on what's required under Title IX. 

Now, the structure of Title IX says, "You're not eligible for federal funds if you have this sex-based discrimination on campuses." The penalty for violating Title IX is you could lose all of your federal funds. When the Department of Education, which is the agency chiefly responsible for figuring out if there are violations says, "Here's how we will measure whether you're in compliance: even if it's not a binding document like a court case, or a law or statute, if you're a general counsel representing an institution and you ignore that warning, this is what we will be looking at when deciding whether or not we're going to take action against you.”

You'd be committing malpractice. So, you have a letter to every school saying, "If you don't do this, we might go after you for all of your federal dollars."

How Federal Funding with Strings Attached Makes DOE Regulations Binding on Private Colleges

Bob Zadek: I just want to remind the audience that the Department of Education decides who gets federal funding. For the most part, the very purpose of the Department of Education is to decide who gets the money. They are nothing other than a disbursement office with the teeth being that they hold back the money. They do not have a SWAT team associated with the Department of Education, they do not have a police force, but they have the dollars. So, notice in the big picture, the federal government on the one hand accumulates a lot of money – federal income tax. Now, it uses the money as a source of power. Not statute itself, not police power, not criminal law. It uses money which it has collected through taxing states and localities. 

In the first instance, it accumulates the money. The money gives them the power, and then the power is then used to coerce private colleges who are not per se subject to federal regulation – they’re private colleges. But they all do need the money, so the money is the hook that gives the federal government the power. I just wanted to mention that dynamic, Joe, because it's so important in so much of what I've discussed.

Joe Cohn: There are two forms of jurisdiction here for the federal government. The primary one is one that we've just been discussing – the broader one. It's the Spending Clause. If you want access to these dollars, here are the conditions.

Condition one: you're not going to have forms of prohibited unlawful discrimination on campus.

Now, Title IX deals with sex-based discrimination, but there are other titles. Title VI to race, national, origin, etc.. You have the Anti-Rehabilitation Act and you have the Americans with Disabilities Act protecting people from discrimination on basis of other disabilities. 

It's a way for the federal government to tell institutions that you're not going to allow discrimination to permeate on your campuses and that mirrors the framework of the Civil Rights Act that was trying to deal with those issues with respect to contexts like employment.

You have two things going on. At public institutions, you're talking about an anti-discrimination rationale to give the jurisdiction. And at private institutions, you're talking about spending jurisdiction, of course, public institutions have both.

Bob Zadek: So, now we have the Dear Colleague letter where the Department of Education says, "In case you're interested colleges and universities, when we dispense financial goodies, we care about this stuff.” Well, so, that's akin to the choice ‘your money or your life,’ when a gun is pointed at your head in an alleyway. Yes, you have a choice, but you tend towards one answer rather than the other.

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Standards of Evidence

Bob Zadek: So, now what flowed from something as unenforceable per se, as a Dear Colleague letter?

Joe Cohn: The April 4th, 2011 Dear Colleague letter was pretty interesting, because it was trying to shed a light on what the government viewed at time as a lack of sufficient attention towards the problem of sexual harassment on college campuses. But one of the things that it ordered institutions to do was to use the lowest standard of evidence when done citing an allegation against a student and deciding in an expulsion or suspension hearing whether or not the student was going to be punished. Whereas for many years, the norm across the country had been in campus disciplinary procedures to use an intermediate or a mid-level standard, which is called the clear and convincing evidence standard, which I'll break down the different standard choices in a moment.

The Department of Education ordered schools to use instead the preponderance of the evidence standard. So, just break this out, so that the audience can think this through in a criminal proceeding, in order to be found guilty, you need to be found responsible beyond a reasonable doubt, which is, "We're pretty darn certain that you did it and it's unreasonable to think that you didn't do it."

The next standard down, which is still a high one, but not nearly as high as clear and convincing, which there isn't a numerical score you can give. But if you're just thinking about it in general terms, it's like being 70% sure this really probably happened. Then, the next is preponderance. Now, preponderance of the evidence standard is what's used in a civil lawsuit. If you sue someone else in a court and it says, the jury has asked, "Who do you believe more – 50.01%?”

No matter how close a call it is, if you think one side is right, that's the one you rule with.

Then, the only other standard below that is, "Is there any substantial evidence? Show me anything that supports this particular point of view," which is near complete deference to the entity that's making the decision. 

The Department of Education reasons in this letter, they say, "If you were to sue someone in court for a violation of your civil rights, the court would decide it using that 50.01% preponderance standard. We think it's the only standard that is appropriate to use in these disciplinary proceedings.”

Of course, there are a lot of real consequences to that and real flaws to that logic. For example, and I think one of the primary flaws here is that when you do have a lawsuit in court and a jury is asked to make the decision, at the end, it's after a process that has significant rules and protections. Both sides have the right to have lawyers. Well, that doesn't exist on college campuses, by and large.

There's discovery. So, you get to find out what the other sides know and get access to documents. That doesn't exist in the same way on college campuses.

There's rights to cross examination. That's not there. There's a judge who knows what the heck they're doing and has been legally trained. Let's assume that the judge knows what they're doing. But that's not there, either.

So, at the end of a court case, when you asked 50.01% to a jury, who do you believe more, there were these other guardrails in place. They're just not there on campus.

The High Stakes of Campus Tribunals

Bob Zadek: It's one thing for the Department of Education to say appropriately, "Okay, college campuses, you better not have out of control of sexual harassment or else this is going to cost you." Fair enough. But the Dear Colleague letter not only said that, but it said, "And in reaching that goal of no sexual harassment, here's the way you must reach the goal."

It doesn't say, "Any way you want to reach the goal so long as it's lawful is okay with us." But they said, "We don't trust you even to pick the right process." So, it is a statement that the colleges are incapable of figuring out how to achieve the desired result. 

You drew this important parallel explaining the Dear Colleague letter: do we use a civil litigation standard or a criminal litigation standard in deciding which standard is proper? As you explained using a civil standard lacks the guardrails. You're exactly right about that. That was an important point. But in addition, in a civil litigation, what's often at stake is money. Money is money. You have more, you have less. In a criminal trial, what's at stake is your liberty. There's much more at stake than just dollars and cents. 

Now, if you consider the adverse consequences of a bad finding that you, often a male, are guilty of sexual harassment, the consequences are profound on the rest of the life of that convicted person, although it's not a criminal trial.

I would ask the audience to think, is the effect of the adverse result on the accused more akin to the dramatic effect of a criminal conviction or more akin to the effect of a civil lawsuit in which you lost? I think it's inescapable to me. It's much more like a criminal trial and therefore, that should be the standard.

Joe Cohn: I largely agree. Courts have looked at the context of what's at stake in civil proceedings all of the time and been able to make distinctions between things where you could just settle. You can just pay your way out of it, if you want. You can't settle a claim that you're accused of engaged in sexual harassment, which also includes sexual violence. You're also talking allegations, regardless of what label they want to apply to it in their code of conduct. You're talking about allegations of rape. You can't just settle that to move on. The consequences of getting expelled from school are significant and lifelong. More on par with getting removed in a deportation proceeding or losing all of your benefits, if you rely on public benefits to survive or more akin to losing your housing and an eviction than being sued by someone else for a car accident or who you'll figure out who has to pay. So, that's why we think that the middle standard of clear and convincing is more appropriate. 

It's true that at the end of a campus proceeding the Dean isn't going to sentence an accused student to 20 years in jail. But most people don't realize that the statements that students make in campus proceedings are often admissible against them in later criminal trials. There's a movement to remove statutes of limitations or extend them decades for sex-based criminal acts. So, you have 18- and 19-year-olds being asked to defend themselves without lawyers who are allowed to actively participate in proceedings where they're being asked about the factual specific details of events that could be the factual predicate for convictions, which across the country have penalties ranging from life in prison on the high end to only one state that has a maximum penalty of less than 10 years. Meaning, that in 49 states, you can be sent away for more than 10 years, if they find you guilty of the same fact pattern that you're being asked to talk about on the record on in a college proceeding.


How Colleges Responded to the Dear Colleague Letter

Bob Zadek: So, now we have the Dear Colleague letter, which sets in motion these more aggressive prosecution-like proceedings, where typically a student who is accused of bad acts – sexual harassment, something akin to rape, unwelcome contact. Then, as a direct result of the Dear Colleague letter, tell us what happens now. Universities have a problem. They are required to take steps to limit the degree of sexual harassment and the frequency. They are told how they must do it by the Dear Colleague letter. What were the consequences of the letter?

Joe Cohn: Yeah, the consequences were pretty stark on college campuses, which is that schools tripped over themselves to demonstrate to the federal government that they were really going to be tough on sexual harassment. They looked at their policies and they brought them right in line with what the Department was saying. Another provision, the Department said that schools shouldn't allow the students who are parties to these cases to cross examine each other. So, during this Dear Colleague letter era, schools were undermining due process left and right in these campus sex assault proceedings. 

The picture was not always and is still not rosy in other kinds of allegations that schools are adjudicating. They adjudicate other serious things too from fistfights to drugs in the dorms, etc. But this is the only context where the federal government was telling schools, "You’d better provide fewer due process protections or your federal dollars might be at stake."

Bob Zadek: That was important, because this show is about, in part, the relationship between the federal government, due process rights of students, and that dynamic of how that all works.

There was a clear, direct, powerful change in behavior by universities as a result of a letter, which had no force of law whatsoever. In other words, assuming the author of the letter or the Department had decided this was a good idea to reduce due process rights, assuming the agency itself made that decision, what they could have done is drafted a regulation, which does give it the force of law more or less, by going through an entire process of the Administrative Procedures Act, another federal statute where the process itself has rules and protections, if you will. There are hearings and public comment. So, that's what a regulation looks like. A letter is unregulated.

What you have explained, Joe, is this regulation – this letter– had perhaps even greater impact, but certainly no less impact than a regulation except it bypassed all of the protections under the Administrative Procedures Act and other laws.

Joe Cohn: That's right.

Bob Zadek: That's important for the audience to follow. The Department says, "What's the big deal? We just wrote a letter. We're allowed to write letters." Yeah, but it's "your money or your life" kind of letter. That's not "just a letter."

Joe Cohn: I've made that same argument that you're making in a number of different settings. The Department of Education in that period was trying to have it both ways. They were telling members of Congress who are grilling them on these points that they recognize the difference between regulations and guidance.

Regulations are binding as a matter of law. You have to follow it or when the government tries to take an action, they will cite the violation of the regulation as what you're being measured against to take its action.

Whereas here, they were saying, "We're just telling schools our perspective on what we consider a violation. So, we'll choose to go after you on." That did not impress then Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Lamar Alexander, who had himself been the Secretary of Education and had been a University President. He saw right through that immediately and a number of his colleagues just- He was asking the head of OCR at the time under oath, "So, are you planning on going after schools that don't follow your interpretation or advice?"

They matter of fact said, "Absolutely."

They plan on going after people, because they think that that's what the law requires, and that was just not right.

Was there a “Rape Culture” on Campus?

Joe Cohn: Let’s fast forward into the next era here, because FIRE works incredibly hard to get the Department of Education to change its tune. We filed a lawsuit back in the final days of the Obama administration over the Dear Colleague letter and it was eventually mooted out when President Trump's Department of Education agreed with us, withdrew the letter voluntarily, and initiated the binding process of creating regulations that do have notice in common procedures to make them legally binding. So, that started in 2017 when the Dear Colleague letter was rescinded. Then they spent a couple of years trying to figure out what a binding regulation should look like and writing it, and then completed that in 2020.

Bob Zadek: One observation with respect to FIRE's great work in attacking the letter. By the way, it's rather strange to talk about rescinding a letter. I don't even know what that means to rescind a letter. A letter is not refundable. It's just a letter. But that shows how the letter was really a regulation dressed up as a letter. You don't have to rescind the letter. You have to rescind the regulations. Okay, just an observation. So, we get to the golden era when due process to a substantial degree is restored to campuses around the country, at least on paper.

In fact, all of this started because of the perception about the rape culture. We remember that phrase. You don't hear it much anymore. There was a concern that on college campuses, there was rampant sexual harassment, rape in the extreme cases on college campuses. 

Now, tell us if you can, what the facts were. Was there a rape epidemic on college campuses around the time as the letter? Did the letter have any effect upon that and what about after the letter was rescinded? Now, we're back in the Betsy DeVos era. On the ground, what was going on in terms of statistics during the letter era and the post-letter era after FIRE was able to encourage Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education to rescind the letter?

Joe Cohn: Well, those are all very interesting questions. There were studies that claimed as many as one in five and then later, as many as one in four students enrolled in institutions of higher education across the country would be subjected to some form of sexual harassment and misconduct before they had graduated. Now, of course, that rolls everything together from rape into verbal harassment, but even more broadly than that, the terms defined in those studies were so broad that they could even include someone trying to attempt good night kiss after a first date.

It was based on those numbers that you see advocates claiming that it's particularly rampant on college campuses. Now, the Department of Justice using much narrower definitions found that the incidence and rates of sexual violence on college campuses were actually a bit lower in on college campuses than they were with women of similar demographics off of campus and it was well under 2%. 

Now, I'm not a social scientist. I'm not going to weigh in on trying to figure out whose methodology was more sound than the other. But what I will say is that to some degree, it's a dog and pony show on the side. Because whether it's frequent or it's rare, I would hope that our policies would be focused on effectively addressing instances when they are brought to the school's attention, but without cutting corners and sacrificing due process. So, I want every student who feels like they're a victim of sexual misconduct to know how to report it and how to get resources even at 2am morning on Saturday, if that's when it happens. I want the school to have adequate resources to respond to it properly. But then, I don't want to have a rush to judgment on the facts either, because you don't have to be put in this false dichotomy of choosing whether you support complainants or support accused students. You can support them both and you should.

Bob Zadek: So, we have the Betsy DeVos-Donald Trump presidency era, which adopts a more due process oriented, protective regulations. The regulations themselves are protective of due process without, of course, compromising in any way the rights of the victim. There's no suggestion the rights of the victim to be protected were diminished. All that happened was the rights of the accused caught up to civil society.

Fast Forward to the Present

Bob Zadek: So, to bring us to the current situation, now, Biden is elected. Trump and Betsy DeVos are out. They inherited a situation where there are due process protections for the accused. No suggestion that the victim is more at risk or that women are more risk. I've seen nothing that suggests that's the concern. So, things seem to be balanced. I'm not asserting a statistical comment, just what I've observed from reading. Things seemed to be quiet and in balance. Bad guys are being punished and everybody is protected. So, now we have the Biden administration and now, we have current events. So, where are we today and how does FIRE view the current circumstances and what are you doing if to the extent that you're unhappy with them? 

Joe Cohn: Well, Bob, I agree with you on your conclusions at the Trump era rules were fair and did set the right balance. We strongly supported them for that reason. But when they were issued, you saw people like Catherine Lhamon, who was the head of the Office for Civil Rights during the second half of the Obama administration and then she was nominated to retake the helm of OCR for under Biden. She immediately tweeted that the new regulations take us back to the bad old days where women could be raped with impunity.

So, there was the allegation that due process itself undermined fundamental abilities for complainants to come forward. I wholesale reject that argument. I don't think they have strong evidence to support it. But it's on that basis that the President Biden on the campaign trail promised that he would make short order of the regulations and resend them. He, through Catherine Lhamon leading OCR, again started the process by resending them earlier this summer and offering new proposed regulations, which strongly roll back a number of the protections that were put in place during the Trump era.

For example, you no longer have the right to have a live hearing to contest the charges. Now, when you lose a live hearing, and you go to what's called an investigator model, that's one where an investigator interviews both parties or whoever else they want. They might turn over a summary of their conclusions to the other side and say, "Let me know if you think I got anything wrong."

You lose the ability to cross examine people in real time. See how they actually answered things, because an investigator could miss the significance of a detail, because they didn't live through it even if they're trying to do it with integrity. So, you lose the ability to cross examine when you lose the right to live hearing. The Trump administration regulations that we fought for gave students the right to see all of the evidence that was in the institution's possession, not just the evidence that they planned on using. The distinction being that if you only need to turn over the evidence you plan on using, you can conceal exculpatory evidence, because it doesn't help the school make its own case.

Bob Zadek: I should mention that in a criminal trial, it is prosecutorial misconduct for the prosecutor who is seeking a conviction to withhold exculpatory evidence. Trials are set aside and convictions are reversed if that ever happens. So, in our system of jurisprudence, for the prosecutor to withhold evidence is, to use non-legal words, a very big deal. As Joe just explained, it de rigueur, it's standard operating procedure in these quasi-criminal proceedings. Not on college campus.

Joe Cohn: I think it underscores how something as simple as a change to turn over all the evidence you plan on using has real consequences on the ground and that's part of the proposal. Once a regulation is offered, which has happened this time, because they learned their lesson from last time and didn't go the direction of guidance, they're trying to do new binding regulations to replace the Trump-era ones. They offered to public comment. We got a chance to point out all of the flaws that we saw in it.

Our comment turned out to be 89 pages worth of mostly flaws. Well, we will have to wait several months until they release a final version. But we're hopeful that on things like that, they'll say, "Yeah, we can fix that problem." But we're not optimistic that they'll fix the big picture ones. Give us the right to have a live hearing itself. It's so crucial. Make sure that cross examination is meaningful. 

They also, in addition to allowing it to be done with investigations, greenlight schools using what's called a single investigator, ehen it's only one person serves all of the roles, investigator, judge, and jury. The flaws of that are so obvious and numerous courts have weighed in on how inappropriate that is and unconstitutional that is because of how easily it injects someone's bias, whether it's conscious or subconscious into the process.

Bob Zadek: We always have learned in any discussion on how civil society should operate that there's no need to protect the rights of people who are speaking about banal things. It's the rights of the most disfavored speech that has to be protected. That's where we test whether we are sincere about free speech rights. Here, it is the rights of the accused. There's not a very strong lobby.

In general, there are classes in our society, which are held in disfavor. That's one thing. But denied the rights that they are still entitled to. They haven't surrendered those rights and you are pointing out that there's not much of a lobby for – it's usually males, not always, but numerically much more. Males accused of sexual harassment don't have a very strong lobby in their favor. And FIRE, while that is not your constituency, your constituency is the Constitution and the principles that regulate our country, but you are fighting a battle where absence of work of FIRE, there's nobody to do it. You're the last line of defense just to preserve the due process rights that all of us are entitled to on college campuses.

Now, we only have a minute or two left. Before we do our closing, how active has FIRE been in guiding or in trying to guide the Biden Department of Education to get to the right place?

Joe Cohn: Well, we have engaged them in a number of ways. Immediately after the election, we have a history for after each presidential election of writing a letter to the President on their Inauguration Day introducing ourselves and highlighting some issues we want to bring to their attention. You can rest assured that overbroad sexual harassment definitions that threatened free speech were amongst the issues that we raised as well as the rights of the accused. We met with officials in the Department of Education. In the weeks to follow before, a proposed regulation was offered to give some top-level general thoughts on why we think the current rules. At that time, the 2022 rules made sense to talk to them about some of their criticisms of them. And then, of course, we submitted our formal comment which as I said was a really in detail piece going into a deep dive. And of course, we do a lot of public speaking, and articles, and op-eds as well to make the case. 

We're really proud of the leadership role we've played and the extent of our work. A number of Harvard law professors, for example, wrote instrumental pieces defending due process rights, as did a number of faculty members in the University of Pennsylvania. Lara Bazelon, the professor who leads the Racial Justice Clinic at University of California Hastings has just been instrumental here as have a bunch of parents who formed organizations like FACE, Families Advocating for Campus Equality – parents who have had their families torn apart because of this – and other organizations as well of course. But we've worked very hard to make sure that the due process arguments aren't left by the wayside.

Bob Zadek: We've been speaking with Joe Cohn. Joe is the Director of FIRE's Legislative and Policy Department –

Joe, thank you so much for the work for the work yourself and for the work of your organization.

Essential Liberty
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Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.<br /><br />America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.