brett sokolow title ix 750

Title IX legal Expert Brett Sokolow on sexual misconduct cases and DOJ/DOE directives

On April 24th, 2014, Brett Sokolow, Executive Director of the Association for Title IX Coordinators and President & CEO of The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM), issued a statement regarding disciplinary actions against male students involving accusations of sexual misconduct. This statement was highly critical of the manner in which recent proceedings took place and mentions there were five instances in which he felt the accused students were not guilty. He went on to suggest changes in the way schools conduct such cases.

This statement is significant because it comes following years of heated controversy concerning both the Dear Colleague Letter and the Blueprint letter issued by both the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. Both have faced severe criticism from  many members of the higher education community and advocates for free speech and due process. AVFM News has also covered developments concerning the both the Dear Colleague letter and the Blueprint Letter extensively since the Dear Colleague letter was issued in April of 2011.

Sokolow is arguably going to be the ultimate authority schools facing litigation by students disciplined or even expelled will turn too if the number of lawsuits claiming sex discrimination and violation of due process rise.

AVFM News approached him last week asking for an interview and he was generous enough to grant our request on the condition that it be done via email and that neither the questions nor the answers be edited. Several email exchanges took place over the course of three days, with nothing of significance omitted:


AVFM: Briefly tell us about the Association of Title IX Coordinators, the NCHERM and your history with them.

Sokolow: I founded The NCHERM Group in 2000. It is a law and consulting firm that serves higher education and K-12 on high risk health and safety issues. We represent more than 50 colleges as counsel and have consulted with more than 3,000 different campuses. We also represent victims and those accused of violating campus policies, but only selectively. I’m not partisan in the sense that I don’t believe in taking the same side no matter what. That wouldn’t make me an expert, it would make me a gun for hire. Instead, I choose cases and clients solely on the merits. If I think you have the right argument legally, I’ll have your back. That makes me a little hard to pin down, but it also allows me a consistency of principle when involving my firm in cases.

AVFM: You stated in your “Tip of the Week” letter that “Finding each of the accused in violation of sexual misconduct is sex discrimination. We are making Title IX plaintiffs out of them.”

Was this statement in response to the recent lawsuits filed against the University of Delaware and other schools by men who had their right to due process violated and had their academic careers, and by extension, their futures ruined by unfounded or false accusations of sexual assault?

Sokolow: The question seems to state conclusions on which I don’t wish to state an opinion here. And, no, my answer had nothing to do with Delaware, or any filed particular lawsuits. I was referring to cases of internal campus discipline, so far. Some of those may result in lawsuits if we cannot correct this trend. Again, I’m not pro-victim, pro-accused student, etc. when I take this stand. I am pro getting this right. Some campuses are too hot on this issue. Some are too cold. My advice is intended as a corrective because colleges owe it to all students to get this just right. There has to be an integrity to the process or the process is failing systemically.

AVFM: On April 4th, 2011, the Department of Education issued it’s now infamous “Dear Colleague Letter” instructing institutions of higher education to use the “preponderance of evidence” standard (50.1% convinced that a crime occurred) instead of the “clear and convincing evidence” standard during proceedings in which a student is accused of sexual assault. Why do you think the DOD found it proper to lower the standard of evidence in such cases?

Sokolow: The Department of Education did not lower the standard in sexual misconduct cases. More than 80% of campuses were using the correct preponderance standard in 2011 when the DCL was published. Only a handful of campuses were using higher standards at that time. I think a debate on the standard is less productive than accepting it, and working hard to ensure that campuses apply it correctly. If the evidence is over 50%, the accused has violated policy. If the evidence is 50% or under, the accused is not in violation. We spend our time working on helping college decision-makers to understand how to accurately weight that evidence and analyze it to get to an appropriate outcome in every case.

AVFM: The Dear Colleague letter did state that schools would be in jeopardy of loosing their Title IX funding if they did not comply to the new standard. There has been much criticism of this coming from columnists in publications like the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Wall Street Journal.

Have any of your members complained about having to comply with these new standards?

Sokolow: Yes, some of our members feel uncomfortable with the preponderance standard, especially in really close cases where what is more likely than not is only show by a feather’s worth of evidence. Overall, most are accepting of it, and some are empowered by it. To balance it, we’ve encouraged the field to adopt a gatekeeper standard, which allows early dismissal of complaints in the investigation phase, when they do not evidence reasonable cause to indicate a policy violation.

AVFM: Do you think it is proper to have schools involve themselves in prosecuting serious crimes like sexual assault in the first place?

Sokolow: Schools don’t prosecute anything, let alone serious crimes. When schools address sexual misconduct, it is as a form of sex discrimination covered by Title IX, a federal law that requires campuses to remedy such discrimination. Colleges really have no choice in the matter. Some are quite proficient at addressing this kind of misconduct, and some are still on a learning curve. That is problematic, because while the campus is getting its act together, it may fail to adequately protect a victim (male or female) who complains of an assault, or it may fail to protect an accused student (again, male or female), which was the point of my original commentary. I’ve written about protecting victims for years. I intensely dislike the argument that colleges should get out of this business and just leave crimes to the criminal justice system. That is really an argument for rapist privilege. It’s true that campuses need to be better at this, but so does the criminal justice system. Factual records are very damning of police misconduct in sexual violence cases all over the country, and successful prosecution of campus sex offenders is a rarity. So, when the argument is made that colleges should just leave this to the criminal justice system, the subtext is “let the sex offenders get off scot free,” because, that is what will happen if colleges don’t provide another option through their own processes.

AVFM: “When schools address sexual misconduct, it is as a form of sex discrimination covered by Title IX, a federal law that requires campuses to remedy such discrimination.”

Discrimination against which sex?

Sokolow: Title IX protects against any discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in federally funded educational programs, so that’s anyone’s sex or gender.

AVFM: “I intensely dislike the argument that colleges should get out of this business and just leave crimes to the criminal justice system. That is really an argument for rapist privilege.”

Is giving an accuser another means outside of both the criminal and civil courts to have someone more easily punished by their accusations not an argument for accuser privilege? Does this not fly in the face of the doctrine of double jeopardy and the important tradition of protecting the rights of the accused?

Sokolow: It is an important tradition to protect the rights of the accused. All Title IX is doing is creating a level playing field to also protect the rights of the accuser. Double jeopardy is the Constitutional right not to be tried twice for the same crime. Since colleges don’t address crimes, this is inapplicable. The best analogy is to the OJ Simpson trials. He was acquitted criminally, but held liable civilly, for the same acts. This is not double jeopardy, and the courts see the campus process as a civil process, that may parallel criminal prosecution without causing double jeopardy.

AVFM: “Factual records are very damning of police misconduct in sexual violence cases all over the country, and successful prosecution of campus sex offenders is a rarity.”

Is it not a fact that the student tribunals used in investigating and punishing students accused of sexual misconduct are rank amateurs in the science of evidence collection and who also have been known to be indoctrinated in such principles as “rape culture” and the idea that women “never lie” about rape? Is this not tantamount to police misconduct?

Sokolow: Yes. We’ve been working for 15 years to move away from student panels, and in fact away from the due process adversarial hearing model. In Title IX-covered cases, we believe that a professional civil rights investigation by well-trained investigators addresses the problems your question identified, and is the preferred resolution mechanism today. In fact, the White House Task Force report last week embraced this model.

AVFM: How common do you think it is that those who falsely accuse are punished for their crime/misconduct?

Sokolow: Rarely. In fact, we often try to get them help. The fact is that most people who allege campus sexual misconduct when it did not occur do in fact believe that it did. That means they are not filing a false complaint, which is a complaint known to be false, and which is filed with malicious intent. Our job is to discover whether the underlying facts can prove or disprove the complaint. Sometimes, we can show conclusively that what the complainant alleges did not occur, but we still don’t consider that a false complaint unless we can show they know it to be false.

AVFM: In your “Tip of the Week“ you stated “But, in a recent case, the campus policy stated that intoxication creates an inability to consent. Thus, in any situation in which a male student and a female student have sex, and both are intoxicated, this college will commit an act of gender discrimination by only charging one of them. 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”

Tell us why you think female students are held to a lower standard of behavior then male students.

Sokolow: If a male came forward, who was drunk, and accused a female student, I think a lot of campuses would process that complaint the same way they would if the female student made a complaint about the male student. This is problematic no matter what the gender or sexual orientation permutation of participants. If the question is about why campuses think that drunk sex should be disciplined, I’m not sure, except that they mistakenly think intoxication and incapacitation are the same thing, which they are not. If you are asking why female students are making complaints when they have drunk sex, I think it may be because of what they are being taught in high school, or at the beginning of college. If the college thinks the standard is one of intoxication, and it teaches that, intoxicated students come forward to complain. One other thought is that college administrators may think this is what the government wants them to do, but I’ve had OCR dismiss many drunk sex cases without opening investigations, or after short investigations. I think that addresses the extent to which I think anyone is held to a lower standard.

AVFM: Do you think it will be a challenge to convince Title IX administrators to change this clearly discriminatory practice?

Sokolow: I don’t think it’s clearly discriminatory. I think policy can be applied in a discriminatory way on some campuses, and I think the debate that my commentary and articles like this can foster will help to move many campuses in the right direction.

AVFM: In your “Tip of the Week” letter you gave a list of factors which should be weighed in determining whether a respondent was to be found culpable in a sexual assault case. The first factor you suggested was whether or not the “respondent knew that the complainant was drinking or using drugs and may know how much/what kind.”

Why do you think it is proper to make the respondent responsible for what the plaintiff was consuming of their own volition?

Solokow: So, anything that happens to you when you get drunk is your own fault, apparently? Once you’re drunk, it’s open season for me, because you’ve made a mistake that excuses any abusive or criminal act I might now commit? Let me turn that question around, and see if holds any water. A person who gets him or herself incapacitated by alcohol or other drugs is responsible for what they did to themselves, but why should their inability to protect themselves, or make rational, reasonable judgments excuse anything that someone else might do to them in their weakened state? Your argument, taken to its logical conclusion would excuse murder if an incapacitated victim invited you to shoot them.

AVFM: Allow me to ask this then. You state verbatim in your statement:

“This is shown by the totality of evidence composed of some or all of the following factors that the respondent knew or should have known:

  1. The respondent knew that the complainant was drinking or using drugs and may know how much/what kind”

Does “should have known”  apply only to this first factor or only the remaining factors?

Sokolow:  It applies to the totality of the factors.

AVFM: On May 9, 2013, the Departments of Justice and Education issued a findings letter announcing a resolution agreement with the University of Montana. The findings letter, which refers to the agreement as “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country to protect students from sexual harassment and assault,” explains the Departments’ interpretation of applicable legal standards and the terms of the agreement and defines sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.”

This letter has been criticized by freedom of speech proponents and Senator John McCain sent a letter to the DOJ asking why it feels it can write legislation independent of the legislative process.

Do you think that the DOJ and Department of Education have over stepped their boundaries in this case?

Sokolow: No. I think groups like yours, and some free speech interest groups, have misconstrued this resolution letter for your own purposes. It’s insulting to people’s intelligence and manipulative. All the letter says is that victims should report unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, and that campuses should remedy such conduct when reported. It does not say that campuses should impose discipline on someone who engages in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, unless that behavior rises to the level of creating a hostile environment. And, campuses should not do so, especially public universities. Obnoxious and offensive speech is often protected speech and it is incumbent on campuses not to abuse this legal standard to punish what is commonly recognized as protected speech. Of course, I’m sure groups like yours will be there to remind them, if they over-reach.

AVFM: “Obnoxious and offensive speech is often protected speech and it is incumbent on campuses not to abuse this legal standard to punish what is commonly recognized as protected speech.” 

The May 9th resolution agreement broadened the definition of sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” including “verbal conduct.”  And that this “need not be subject to objective definitions.”

This clearly could get a student in serious trouble for asking someone out on a date or talking about a film featuring adult content. Also, there is a serious departure from a supreme court decision on sexual harassment to use an objective definition.

How is this not an abandonment of the protection of free speech?

Sokolow:  Actually, this is a definition that the Department of Education had embraced back in its 2001 Guidance. It’s nothing new.

The regulatory standard and the court standard are different. We advise public campuses to never use this standard to impose discipline unless it also meets the definition of creating a hostile environment.


Editorial postscript: No doubt many readers will have pointed questions about some of Sokolow’s answers. Regardless, Sokolow has been very generous with his time and will likely face criticism from colleagues and clients alike for talking frankly about these difficult issues. We thank him for speaking as frankly and honestly as he has with us.

Feel free to be as critical as you wish but also please join AVFM in thanking him for granting us this interview in the comments.

About Robert O'Hara

Bob O'Hara is the U.S. News Director for A Voice for Men. He is a men's rights activist living in the Washington, D. C. area who has done work with S.A.V.E. and is the host of a weekly radio show with news and analysis on men's and boys' issues.

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  • visionary_23

    Wow. Many of his assertions rest on the logic of “this was already being done x years ago so we’re only extending or rehashing what amounts to a discriminatory policy” or “even if in practice men are being accused and prosecuted almost exclusively, men don’t press charges, so it’s all good and there’s nothing to see here despite the fact that the impetus for ALL of this is to redress the grievance that women weren’t pressing charges enough”.

    That being said, my “Wow” up there is to indicate that I am incredibly glad that he took the time to respond to AVFM.

    Thanks for the generosity, Mr. Sokolow.

    • Joe Citizen

      Yes, it’s really great this guy gave the interview and that AVFM did the interview. SO revealing, you really do not at all expect some dirtbag lawyer profiting from a corrupt system to be so open about it.

  • Bill98

    “The fact is that most people who allege campus sexual misconduct when it did not occur do in fact believe that it did”.
    Robert, I really wish that you had called B.S. on that one. Does Mr. Sokolow have any evidence to support that assertion? Because, it has the rank odor of a cow pie in July, if you ask me.

    I would also love to know if Mr. Sokolow has similar empathy for the accused. If the accused truly believes that he did nothing wrong, and the investigators conclude otherwise, do they try to “get him help”, as they do for false-accusers? Or, is the accused disciplined and expelled from school? I believe that I know the answer, but it would be interesting to hear how Mr. Sokolow justifies the double-standard.

    • Sports Droppings

      I tend to believe Sokolow based on his qualifier; how young women “feel” pre-absolved based on what they are taught in “orientation.” Read the police report in the University of Oregon basketball case that happened in March, especially the “confrontation calls.”

      • visionary_23

        Yes, but I think what Bill is saying is that would he extend this sort of mitigating quality (she “believed” it was a crime even though the evidence points to it not being so) to the accused (he “believed” it wasn’t a crime even though the evidence may point to it being so)?

        Of course not.

    • Andrejovich Dietrich

      How many of you realize that Title 9 is now being used in Corporate America? I was first exposed to this phrase “The fact is that most people who allege campus sexual misconduct when it did not occur do in fact believe that it did” during sexual harassment training. And after class I said to my boss that I am not even going to bother to worry about what I say or how I act. The class was freeing because taking the time to check your language or behavior is a complete waste of time and effort. Some chick wants to nail you, she will nail you.

      The whole protected class caper is nauseating to behold as well. So at the end of the training I said to the HR rep (a woman of course) “It sucks to be a white heterosexual male under the age of 50. And she agreed.

  • JinnBottle

    Thank YOU Bob, for YOUR time.

    Mr Sokolov, you are both colonized in mind and a perpetuator of colonization of younger minds. I might assure you that “your job is safe” — but timeservers, “moderates”, and “reformers” who qualify and contradict their lovely intentions with every other sentence, have a paradoxical way of pissing off establishment bullies *anyway*; for they recognize in plausible deniers like yourself an excellent punching bag to take their pathological fury out on.

    Here’s from me, personally, Sokolov – not Mr O’Hara or AVfM: Your mind is too young, in all senses of the word, to be anything but worse than useless.

    • Chris Wedge

      Age brings experience, but experience and wisdom are poor substitutes for one another.

  • LostSailorNY

    I second visionary_23’s comment; I was about to make the same one. Mr. Sokolow says of the speech portion of “sexual harassment” regulatory “standard” not having an objective definition:

    Actually, this is a definition that the Department of Education had embraced back in its 2001 Guidance. It’s nothing new.

    And this is a problem, with even people like Mr. Sokolow who are trying to ensure that standards and procedures are implemented equally and fairly. His is in many ways a noble effort, but I believe still misguided. He accepts the DOE standards because that’s just how things have been done. He never questions whether the standard is the right standard.

    Instead, he “advises” campuses to not impose discipline unless an infraction meets some nebulous higher standard of “creating a hostile environment.” That’s pretty thin advocacy and protection for the accused.

    And while it’s good that he makes note of the distinction between intoxication and incapacitation, he somewhat dismisses any meaningful action on that distinction by saying he’s had OCR dismiss “many” drunken sex cases early on, and that completely “addresses the extent to which I think anyone is held to a lower standard.” Um, well, no, not really. It may assuage his conscience that he’s “doing something” but it a very thin veneer covering up the growing issue to different standards for men and women and sexual contact where any level of intoxication, however minor, is involved.

    More egregious is this:

    I think a debate on the standard is less productive than accepting it, and working hard to ensure that campuses apply it correctly. If the evidence is over 50%, the accused has violated policy. If the evidence is 50% or under, the accused is not in violation.

    Again, it’s not “productive” to discuss the standard, we should just “accept” it. This is all couched in the dry, legal language that campuses are not “prosecuting” anything, let alone “crime,” they’re just applying “student conduct standards” that technically apply to both women and men.

    But while he briefly touches on the more important issue of “discipline,” he largely ignores it. And that is really the more important point. With very low-bar “standards” that cannot be questioned, Mr. Sokolow doesn’t address the fact that 50.1% of “evidence” can and usually does result in potentially catastrophic and life-changing penalties for the accused, who–surprise–are mostly men. Women who say they “believe” misconduct happened when it clearly didn’t are not disciplined or penalized, they are instead offered “help.” Men who are on the losing side of the 50.1% equation are generally not offered ‘help”

    I appreciate and applaud Mr. Sokolow for the willingness to engage in conversation, but for all his claims of just wanting “fairness,” he is still buying into the fantasy of “rape culture” on campuses and the discriminatory outcomes of Title IX implementation. It’s cold comfort that he’ll possibly take on legal cases where there is a clearly discriminatory outcome…

    • visionary_23

      Again, it’s not “productive” to discuss the standard, we should just “accept” it. This is all couched in the dry, legal language that campuses are not “prosecuting” anything, let alone “crime,” they’re just applying “student conduct standards” that technically apply to both women and men.

      I think this comment is spot on, and Sokolow’s comments are precisely what many Jim Crow advocates used to argue in the South — particularly with regards to standards for voting (i.e. “one’s grandfather must have voted in order for one to vote”, or high-level literacy tests for voting).

      Technically they were “race neutral”, and it was argued that instead of debating this new “standard” for voting, one should simply accept them and try to figure out ways to acquiesce to them. But no one in their right minds today would accept those laws as being “race neutral” (they weren’t in practice — blacks were almost exclusively the ones who were effectively barred from voting), and we all know now how necessary it was to debate the legitimacy of those laws.

    • J.G. te Molder

      Indeed. If this definition has been in place since 2001, it’s been a problem since 2001, we only just now realized this has existed and has been a problem since 2001. In fact, I’d say we identified another problem on top of it; apparently the secret institution of destructive standards that no press ever new existed, or the the press ignored and were complicit in keeping secret.

  • Jonathan Taylor

    Good one, Bob. Thanks for this.

  • HeraSentMe

    “[Sokolow said t]he fact is that most people who allege campus sexual misconduct when it
    did not occur do in fact believe that it did. That means they are not filing a false complaint, which is a complaint known to be false, and which is filed with malicious intent.”

    Did all you PUAs and PUA wannabes read that? Even Brett Sokolow, whose career at the moment consists of trying to redefine rape out of existence, at least for legal purposes, says that women who claim they were assaulted usually think that’s what happened.

    So if your most prominent, if unprincipled, legal apologist says it’s usually not false reporting, it’s just reporting, maybe you need to think twice, and then again, before you claim that every unverifiable rape charge should be considered a lie.

    • LostSailorNY

      Even Brett Sokolow, whose career at the moment consists of trying to redefine rape out of existence

      Quite the opposite. He’s not trying to redefine rape out of existence, he’s completely onboard with and providing cover for the feminist goal of expanding the idea of rape and punishment for it and placing judgment outside the legal process, where though the punishment may not involve incarceration, it has effects that are similarly severe.

      • HeraSentMe

        Actually, the “punishment” is quite often mild and administrative, considering the alleged crime, and by submitting to the process, victims often give up any other means of seeking redress, as college administrators take steps to render a subsequent criminal complaint untenable.
        But Sokolow isn’t content with accused-friendly administrative procedures so long as they offer at least the threat of meaningful punishments, nor with the fact that said administrators are first and foremost dedicated to avoiding bad publicity for the institution, and not with determining the facts and issuing appropriate sanctions. He’s trying completely defang the administrative procedures for investigating on-campus assaults, while allowing them to continue to exist as a foil between victims and law enforcement. The result would be a heads I win, tails I can’t lose coin flip for date rapists.
        Can’t imagine why so many campus groups think his ideas suck.

        • TPH

          C considering the alleged crime, and by submitting to the process, victims
          often give up any other means of seeking redress, as college
          administrators take steps to render a subsequent criminal complaint
          untenable.”

          Uhm, what are you smoking? The victim has the entire weight of the judicial system at their beckoning (even years after the supposed incident), a victim denied the ability to get law enforcement involved by college administrators? If that were so, then there would be massive, massive protests against the college administrators with title IX investigations galore.

          As for your statement: “Actually, the “punishment” is quite often mild and administrative”. Denying a person educational opportunities and future employment opportunities is not mild, its draconian.

          • HeraSentMe

            Buy your straw wholesale, do you?

          • Chris Wedge

            You can’t make strawmen if we buy all the straw to feed our horses with.

          • visionary_23

            I think most people buy their straw bulk from you. Yours is indeed cheap and ubiquitous.

          • Bewildered

            LMFAO!

          • Susie Parker

            Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you? Buy your straw wholesale, do you?

            If I’ve heard you say this once, I’ve heard it a dozen times.

            It’s played out and wasn’t that clever in the first place.

            Enough already.

        • LostSailorNY

          I must also question whether intoxicants are interfering with reading comprehension.

          The punishments in college adjudicated sexual assault cases are always, by definition, administrative. They can’t be other than administrative. But they are seldom “mild.” They most often take the form of suspension or even expulsion, administrative restraining orders, etc. which are all made part of a student’s official school transcript. And that transcript will follow that student forever, often precluding admission to another school or impacting work and career later in life.

          Victims never lose the right to make prior, concurrent, or subsequent criminal complaint outside of the school’s investigation or adjudication. It may in many cases be true that the fact or the result of any school investigation in itself is neither probative nor necessarily admissible. But it’s also pretty much irrelevant. The police are free to develop their own investigative record informed by a school investigation.

          And your description of Sokolow’s motives and action are the complete opposite of what you describe. Instead of trying to “defang” administrative procedures, he’s trying to codify them at the already low-standards of the DOE regulations. This actually serves to strengthen them by rendering the process largely unassailable.

          But I can understand your ire, HeraSentMe. By making sure the already low-standards are applied consistently, evenly and fairly, make out-and-out railroading and conviction by accusation a little bit more difficult. I know it irks you that the accused has even these minimal rights.

          If so many campus groups think Sokolow’s ideas “suck” it only reveals that they’re not interested in justice in any form. They’re just interested in power and control over men on campus.

          And therefore can and should be utterly dismissed…

          • HeraSentMe

            Utterly dismissed. I like the sound of that.
            Consider yourself so.

          • LostSailorNY

            Yes, dismissed. Because you can’t make an argument based on facts. Fine, dismiss my arguments. We’ll ignore you and and stop you, and make rational arguments with people who have the capacity to do so.

            You don’t have that capacity…

          • corruptintenz

            …quite a collapse of rhetoric there. Are you ok? Hope you were wearing a helmet…

          • Susie Parker

        • visionary_23

          Actually, the “punishment” quite often is mild and administrative, considering the alleged crime

          I know right? Suspension, expulsion, loss of residence, public pillorying, and the reputation hit that often lasts for years is so “mild” and “administrative”, particularly because the burden of proof is so much lower than the criminal and civil courts such that merely an accusation can lead to punitive action.

          I just don’t get why dudes who get no due process and are strung up on charges leveled from Kangaroo courts are so upset about this shiz. I mean, why can’t they just shut up and focus on something we feminists find really disturbing, like the word “bossy”?

    • TPH

      So by definition, a complaint that is filed and later on show to be false, or unfounded is simply a reported charge?

      Bovine Excrement. The charge that is proven to be false or unfounded (with or without malice) is still a false charge. No amount of sophistry on your part can change that fact.

      • HeraSentMe

        Hey, Einstein, it’s the PUA legal champion who says a false charge is one made knowingly and with malice. If you don’t like it, take it up with him.

        • TPH

          Heh, thanks for the comment on my intelligence. Can you not see how much this guy is in your camp?

          • HeraSentMe

            Smoke this.

          • visionary_23

            Nice — the dumbass troll strikes again!

          • Bewildered

            She’s pretending not to see and claiming that he’s on the other side !

        • visionary_23

          Yea “Einstein” — the lawyer’s argument is clearly the issue we should focus on. It’s all the lawyering that sucks.

          Not the institutional bias that allows for the “belief” of the accuser to be a mitigating circumstance but not the “belief” of the accused. Nope, that’s all good.

    • visionary_23

      Exactly — “thinking” something happened MUST be a mitigating circumstance.

      Like “thinking” it wasn’t rape when you had sex. Oh wait.

      Great logic. The feminist troll is comin’ out swinging!

    • Mark Wharton

      Go back to the bar with your PUA friends. I think in your drunkeness you got lost.

    • Sports Droppings

      “most prominent legal apologist”? You mean, the man who drew up policies that say if a woman agrees to give a handjob 2 hours after denying sex, and only did so after 2 hours of nagging, can bring a charge of sexual coercion?

    • Andybob

      Look who it is – the “smart, educated and fluent” feminist who is so clueless about AVfM and the rights and welfare of men and boys for whom we advocate that she actually declares MHRAs to be aspiring PUAs. Way to flaunt your ignorance of the MHRM, Ms HeraSentMe.

      Observe how this typical feminist reduces rape accusations that are proven to be false as merely “unverifiable”. This is almost as bad as Mr Sokolow using slimy lawyer-speak to claim that false reports in which false rapes are falsely reported aren’t false reports. It gives us an insight into the kind of morons they’re used to talking to.

      I wonder which feminist convinced Mr Sokolow that, because women never knowingly lie about rape, those women caught doing so must be legally insane. It couldn’t possibly be because they chose to exploit slanted sexual assault policies to destroy the lives of innocent men for the usual reasons of malice, sympathy or attention. That just doesn’t fit the narrative that feminists have constructed to appeals to the white knight instincts of men like Mr Sokolow.

      Downthread, Ms HeraSentMe mentions “accused-friendly administrative procedures”. One can only assume that she is referring to the fact that there are some men whose lives aren’t completely destroyed by provably false accusations – something which seems to have unhinged her to the point of offering the joints she is smoking to help her cope with this outrage.

      Why does every feminist who trolls onto AVfM always turn out to be a deranged clown who reacts violently to any challenge to their assumptions about their precious victimhood? The only positive comment I can make about Ms HeraSentMe is the fact she doesn’t pretend to care about the rights and welfare of men and boys. She’s hateful and dishonest and proud of it. I’ll save the negative comments for some other time.

      Mr Sokolow should take a leaf out her book and stop pretending to care about justice for men and boys. It’s not as if he’s fooling anyone.

    • Dan Slezak

      So, a women’s feelings are more important than a mans life?
      Also, I can tell you for a fact that they don’t much care for PUAs over here. You’re trolling the wrong crowd, silverback.

    • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ David King

      Keep it constructive, or you will be shown the door.

    • Nathan

      Why do you keep referring to PUA’s???

      • HeraSentMe

        Because referring to date rapists is more likely to get me banhammered!!!

        • Nathan

          Then perhaps you should stop blanket referring to people as date rapists?

    • G Trieste

      Apparently it is sheer belief, not reality, that makes it so.
      Again, approaching ecclesiastical standards here.

  • TPH

    “Sokolow: If a male came forward, who was drunk, and
    accused a female student, I think a lot of campuses would process that
    complaint the same way they would if the female student made a complaint
    about the male student.”

    Really, I mean REALLY? Sure – they would go through the administrative process and then move it to the “No Action” folder.

    That interview with Mr. Sokolow was quite illuminating. It confirmed a lot of what I believe the prevailing mentality is amongst Title IX coordinators. Mr. Sokolow took a chance by being interviewed by AVFM, for that I salute him.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Sokolow’s answers to questions posed are exactly what I expected from someone in his position.

    If a person is sexually assaulted on a college campus, that is a criminal matter. The creation of a system that undermines that process and punishes students for rules infractions has effectively created a two tiered justice system, one with a clear and convincing evidence standard, and one with a preponderance of evidence standard with the full backing of the Federal government.

    What it really boils down to is if the judicial system cannot prosecute and get a conviction, they now have a second chance to get a civil conviction thus implementing extrajudicial punishment via proxy. Mr. Sokolow’s statement that there is no double jeopardy is true in legal sense, however the implementation of an extrajudicial system that allows punitive measures affecting a students academic career and future employment prospects cannot be ignored any longer. It is not ethical, nor does it pass the basic test of morality.

    College women are spoon fed the rape culture narrative and act accordingly, College men now have to walk on eggshells – a simple reference to a sexual scene in a movie can get them expelled from college and have a black mark on their academic records with all the future consequences.

    The only way this abominable extrajudicial system can be remedied is through constant title IX litigation by those punished by it. The real problem is that litigation against title IX star chambers simply falls into the hands of those people who implemented the two tiered justice system in the first place. A perfect vicious circle that enriches some and destroys many.

    From the first paragraph of this post: “Sokolow: If a male came forward, who was drunk, and
    accused a female student, I think a lot of campuses would process that
    complaint the same way they would if the female student made a complaint
    about the male student.”

    Mr. Sokolow is correct, the complaint would be processed the same way as if a female student made a complaint about a male student. That male student would hauled before the star chamber and charged with sexual misconduct and violation of student policy.

    • G Trieste

      “Mr. Sokolow is correct, the complaint would be processed the same way as if a female student made a complaint about a male student. That male student would hauled before the star chamber and charged with sexual misconduct and violation of student policy.”

      LOL, absolute genius, and just so frickn true!

  • Shortcircuit

    “Your argument, taken to its logical conclusion would excuse murder if an incapacitated victim invited you to shoot them.”
    That in the context of whether or not someone can consent while on drugs. A few major problems with this.

    First off, no it wouldn’t. I’m no legal expert, but I’m pretty sure if someone sober asked me to kill them and I did, I’d get in serious trouble if anyone ever found out about it. In some places euthanasia of humans can be performed if a certain procedure is followed, but that is not the drunken decision-of-the-moment he is talking about.

    Secondly, killing or shooting someone is not the same as sex. If a drunk or “incapacitated” person said they wanted to play checkers, despite not wanting to play checkers a while before, is that the same as forcing a sober person to play checkers? Again, not a legal expert but I’m pretty sure if I forced someone to play checkers with me using violence or threats to prevent their leaving that would in fact be illegal.

    Sex is not an inherently awful act. Legal drunken sex has legal drunken murder as a logical conclusion every bit as much as legal drunken checkers does. And his logical conclusion, unless I’m totally wrong about how legal it is to kill someone with a verbal “okay”, is completely incorrect.

    Even if I am wrong on the legal matters, there is a difference between acts which are inherently awful, especially to the degree of shooting someone, and acts that are not. There is no reason that difference could not be written into the law if it is not there already.

    I’ll never live to see the day that sex is not considered a form of violence, and consent to sex is not thought of as similar to consent to die. None of us will, I’m sure, but maybe humanity will.

    • Chad_Nine

      Exactly. Consensual sex is not rape. Non-consensual sex is rape.
      There is no such thing as consensualy shooting someone in the face.

      (I’m sure some pedant might bring up some bizarro survival edge case where someone consented to be shot in the face.) But sex is far, far, far more common an event than one person killing another.

    • Stu

      Exactly. And this standard of drunk sex being rape is applied even to those who are in a sexual relationship. If you have had sex with a woman numerous times, and she has not indicated that relationship has ended, and you go out and drink together, why should you assume that just because she has had a few too many that her willingness to have sex with you now, is not ok, when she is not doing anything with you that she doesn’t do sober. These laws are ridiculous.

      • Sports Droppings

        Therein lies the rub; they AREN’T laws, which makes them all the more sinister. They are goalposts to be situationally moved, depending often on whether one party perceived it as positive.

  • Bombay

    I find Brett Sokolow’s positions very disturbing. When put in context with employment, an employer holds similar unofficial enquiries. When an accusation of an unsafe work environment is made, the higher ups meet and decide what to do. This is also encouraged by government regulations concerning a safe work environment. Many times it is convincing the accused employee to resign and if that fails, finding a way to fire them. Similarly, public figures are also forced out of their positions/employment when accusations are made.

    As long as there are no strange fruit, there seems to be no qualms about wrecking other people’s lives. What goes around come around. Many white knights will learn the hard way.

  • Billy Moore

    “Tell us why you think female students are held to a lower standard of behavior then male students.”

    It was an interesting interview, I’m glad you guys decided to do it. I’m not satisfied with his answer to this question. If it was a work place and a woman of sexual misconduct, the man would be put on temporary dismissal until the investigation is completed. If it was found that nothing happened he was be reinstated. There is no reason why this can’t happen on a university or college campus. Students shouldn’t be dismissed outright and told their not allowed on the same campus as the accuser. I can understand not being allowed on the same campus as the accuser while an investigation is going on but if it is found that nothing happened then the accused should be allowed back. He seems to beat around the bush with some of his answers but I can understand some of the points he makes. If a woman is not passed out and is wide awake kissing and making out with a guy who is just as drunk as she is and they end up having sex, its not a sexual assault or rape. She is just as responsible for her actions as is he in that situation. In order to show guilt, you have to prove he took advantage of the situation some how. If she is not passed out drunk and can still say no in her drunken state, there is no advantage to be taken. There is no reason the guy should be dismissed for it. That’s sexual discrimination, end of story. The feminists who say that is victim blaming can shove their “silencing techniques” where the sun don’t shine.

    • G Trieste

      Well obviously, the fair thing to do is to charge them both with sexual assault and expel them both from the college.
      It would also behoove any sex partner to assert that they were drunk too, irrespective of its truth.
      The direct logical consequence of this is, any mutually drunken sex is grounds for expulsion. This begins to sound more like Puritanism than protecting students from sexual assaults.

  • knightrunner

    If someone commits a crime against a college student, the role of the the university should be as follows.
    “Here is the address and phone number of the local police station. Here is the address and phone number to victim services. We wish you the best of luck.”
    That’s it.

    • Sports Droppings

      I can’t go that far, no matter how chillingly flimsy the standard for sexual misconduct on campuses are. Each organization, from the business you work for, to non-profits, to franchisors, to AVFM, can and should establish codes of conduct for participation in their discrete enterprise

      • Bombay

        And the standard for sexual misconduct mostly amounts to gender bigotry.

        • Sports Droppings

          Of course.

  • Stu

    This guy is total career mangina.

    • DukeLax

      He gets paid to keep the perversions and pork bloating triangles that have poisoned American law enforcement Intact.

  • Shrek6

    Thanks Bob for doing this and posting the interview. Really appreciate your efforts.

    As for the slimy lawyer. Well, I could only read two thirds the way through that pile of stinking horse manure. Typical lying lawyer who is only interested in keeping his money trail open. What a gutless liar he is.

    He showed total dismissal of all the suffering of men/boys in those situations, by using legal jargon to minimise each scenario you came up with. He says they are not treating criminal cases. I don’t give a rats what the legal definition is of those Kangaroo courts, the fact is you have males suffering punishment and for most, it is unjust punishment.

    He sidestepped your question about both being drunk. Rejected your assertions that there is discrimination.

    I suppose I have to thank him for actually giving his time to be interviewed, but I do not think for one moment the man was being entirely honest. A lot of his answers were full of horse manure and with cowardice.
    His behaviour was typical of a lawyer who is only interested in keeping himself in good with the industry so that he can keep the money coming in.
    If he had of been brutally AND properly honest, he would have kissed his income stream goodbye!

    So I guess we can never expect lawyers of any breed to ever be honest hey!

  • crydiego

    If I’m understanding him correctly; Collages are only “prosecuting” with reguards to adinistrative policies and rules, not laws. They are not giving a judgement in law, and as such, they are free too use the lower standards because they are only making judgements on school policy. He helps school make judgements that will hold up against title nine law suits.

    As an example, it is a crime to steal, however, the school may have a policy that if they believe you are stealing you will be expelled. They don’t have to convict you of a crime only that they have a good reason to believe you might have committed one.
    This can open these schools to civil suits but if done correctly, they are safe against criminal actions. For the schools there is a great liability threat in applying these rules and not meeting title IX.

  • Lastango

    A worthwhile and illuminating interview. Thanks to AVfM for conducting it, and to Mr. Sokolow for participating.

    That said, I’m not much for Mr. Sokolow’s selective even-handedness.

    “Sometimes, we can show conclusively that what the complainant alleges did not occur, but we still don’t consider that a false complaint unless we can show they know it to be false.”

    That will keep the “false report” stats down — a handy fig leaf for the DoE, DoJ, and the education establishment. That ought to keep the complaints flowing too, since it takes complainers off the hook. The DoE et al. will be measuring the success of the resolution letter based on whether it generates a sufficient number of reports. And these will all be valid, natch, because false reports are necessarily rare. Funny how that works, eh?

    “No. I think groups like yours, and some free speech interest groups, have misconstrued this resolution letter for your own purposes. It’s insulting to people’s intelligence and manipulative.”

    Sokolow directs no such fire at the agencies or the education gulag. There’s a reason why FIRE is so busy and facing such a hard battle protecting speech rights on university campus. Somebody call me when the agencies begin taking colleges to task for speech codes that violate the Constitution, or auditing colleges for kangaroo-court sex-assault processes. Remember the joint DoE/DoJ investigation into the Duke Lacrosse witch hunt, and the University-of-Montana-style Resolution letter they sent to the president and board of Duke? Nah, me neither.

    “So, anything that happens to you when you get drunk is your own fault, apparently?”

    That’s not an appropriate response. One concern of AVfM is the viciousness with which dissent is crushed on Campus. If Mr. Sokolow wishes to reassure men’s rights activists of his evenhandedness, he might do well to stick to factual, legal explanations. Otherwise, we might not believe him when he maintains Washington’s edicts are characterless, and that we need only concern ourselves with their implementation.

    • Kevin Hornbuckle

      This is an excellent dissenting perspective. The deafening silence hanging over the travesties of civil rights violations tells us a lot, indeed.

    • Lastango

      ADDENDUM: here’s a new piece by Thomas Sowell. He writes,

      “The last thing Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department is interested in is justice.

      The track record of academics in other kinds of cases is not the least
      bit encouraging as regards the likelihood of impartial justice. Even on
      many of our most prestigious college campuses, who gets punished for
      saying the wrong thing and who gets away with mob actions depends on
      which groups are in vogue and which are not”

      http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2014/05/13/kangaroo-courts-on-campus-n1837005

  • http://menaregood.com/ Tom Golden

    This man attempts to appear unbiased and knowledgeable but the over-riding truth in his attitude is his disregard for the pain of men and boys. He has a whopper of a callous when it comes to compassion for males. No one cares and he knows it. He defends the anti-male status quo like the white knight that he is.

    • DukeLax

      Massive amounts of federal pork bloating dollars are the fuel for the “Pork bloating triangles”….and maybe his very job depends on keeping these perverse manufactured statistics Alliances intact.

  • Andrejovich Dietrich

    Our education institutions are lost. The only way for boys not to feel they are in a hostile education system is to take classes online.

  • DukeLax

    “Rape Hysteria” is now a multi-billion dollar industry in the US.

    One example…..30 years ago, and for centuries prior, American law enforcement’s used to charge a girl the costs of the investigation….If her rape accusation turned out to be a fabrication. Now the “costs of the investigation” are covered by federal pork bloating dollars and grants….And its turned into a perverse type of “Cash cow”, for many precincts.

    trust me, If American law enforcement were not cashing in on the enabling false rape accusers…they would seek to stop them. But they are “cashing in”, and it may take a constitutional act to break these “pork bloating triangles” that are now stripping American guys of their basic due process rights.

  • crydiego

    The interview with Mr. Sokolow was very revealing as to the
    legal protections the collages are required to pursue in order to insure their
    compliance with Title IX and still defend against legal actions. It is very
    important that we understand what is truly going on and he helped. So here is
    my take on what the schools are doing and I would love to see more ideas.

    The schools realize that they may be open to civil actions
    brought by those parties who lives they may have disrupted through implied
    sexual misconduct and must protect themselves. With Mr. Sokolow’s help, the
    schools are building a wall that defends them against loosing Title IX money
    and any government involvement. They are protected from most civil action
    because they are simply administrating a code of conduct that the student has
    agreed too prior to class commencement. I am sure this is why there is require attendance
    on such rules prior to participating in classes; at least for males.

    If you are a chess player then you can understand that Mr. Sokolow
    is helping the schools to castle their king in order to place a wall between
    them and any threats. Mr. Sokolow is supplying what the schools desperately
    need to navigate the oceans of government requirements that lead to a pot of
    gold.

    So, as I see it, the schools are not our enemy, rather, the
    situation they have been placed in.

    • Kevin Hornbuckle

      This makes a lot of sense.

  • MisterAbsurd

    When it comes to criminal matters, organizations shouldn’t be taking any disciplinary actions beyond issuing temporary suspensions contingent upon the outcome of a criminal investigation/trial. Once a conviction is obtained, then further action may be considered.

    If there is a non-criminal component to the complaint, then it may well be within an organization’s mandate to discipline that without a criminal conviction. For example, if at her workplace Suzy alleges “Jake raped me in the janitor’s closet” and Jake says “no, it was consensual”, her employer may discipline Jake based on inappropriate use of the janitor’s closet, whether the allegation results in a conviction or not.

    • Graham Strouse

      Absolutely true. Colleges and universities would be best advised to treat ALL serious felony accusations as criminal matters and refer them to the proper authorities. This is the fair thing to do to protect both the interests of the accused and the accuser AND its the smart thing to in the case of the university. An unjustly accused (or ignored) student can bring down hellfire on the heads of university officials who try to keep things “in-house.” Libel, slander, mental and emotional trauma, damage to reputation and loss of future earnings–trial lawyers will eat this stuff up for breakfast and crap out gold ingots before lunch. Mister Sokolow’s policy suggestions are not only immoral. They also constitute really crappy legal advice.

  • Bluedrgn

    Reading Sokolow’s comments I can’t help but feel this this guys is looking at everything through the lens of money… He pushes lawsuits against schools who don’t handle accusations “adequately”, then pushes lawsuits against schools who have expelled young men on flimsy evidence…

    He is making his money both ways, so he will just fan the flames… MONEY is the real reason he doesn’t want these cases handled by law enforcement.

    MONEY is the reason why he supports the ridiculous “preponderance of evidence” standard: Because ensures the Universities will always find themselves in the cross hairs for either not perusing “policy violations” aggressively enough or for pursing them to aggressively (like trying to balance a teeter-totter).

  • Kevin Hornbuckle

    Today I filed a title IX complaint against the University of Oregon for violating the rights of male students.

  • plasmacutter

    t is an important tradition to protect the rights of the accused. All Title IX is doing is creating a level playing field to also protect the rights of the accuser.

    This is slimy double-speak for:

    “Yes this violates double-jeopardy, but this violation is justified because “rape hysteria!”

  • G Trieste

    The man knows that he is defending an overall indefensible position.
    He answer questions with questions at times, a sure sign he does not have an affirmative answer to probing question.
    He falls back upon the canard “This is the way it has always been done”, when pinned up against the inanity of a rule or regulation. About 20% of his conversation actually addresses the AVFM inquiries, but most of it is carefully worded raw lawyerly-speak with a veneer of politician-ese.

  • DukeLax

    The protocol perversions and semantics games that American law enforcement are now engaged in that are the jet fuel for the now “Culture of false rape accusations”…Is stain on American law enforcement that won’t wash off easily.

    We must warn other nations that have not yet formed these perverse manufactured statistics Alliances into their law enforcements yet… to not let them even start.

  • Joe Citizen

    “Sometimes we can show the harassment did not occur, but we still don’t consider that a false report” — that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?