Author of “Dear Colleague Letter” steps down

Washington, Dec. 3 2012 (AVfM News)  On Friday, November 30 Russlyn Ali, head of the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights and author of the infamous “Dear Colleague Letter” stepped down from her post.  The letter, otherwise known as the April 4th Directive, threatened withdraw of all Title IX funding to institutions that did not comply with a new set of guidelines concerning sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints which severely eroded due process protections for the accused party.  There has not yet been any official announcement from the Department of Higher Education of her departure or who her successor will be.

The letter was met with a considerable amount of protest from groups like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments and the American Association of University Professors.  It is not yet clear as to whether or not the reason for Ali’s departure from the OCR has anything to do with push-back from the Dear Colleague Letter.  While it is not at all unusual for people heading government offices to step down after a four year term, there is, however every indication that directive made her very unpopular in the Higher Education community.

In an article published in the Cronicle of Higher Education, the premier trade publication for college and university administrators, the excesses of the OCR during her tenure were highlighted and author Erick Kelderman stated :


To many in higher education, Ms. Ali became the unwelcome face of an agency aggressively extending its regulatory reach in enforcing federal rules against bullying, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment.

Education Week, another trade publication serving higher, primary and secondary education announced her intention to step down on Thursday of last week and also outlined her less than four year tenure there.


For folks in districts, an inquiry from OCR is a dreaded occurrence, and, in the view of some, it became even more so in the nearly four years Ali has been in charge.

….wrote author Lesli Maxwell in the article announcing the development.

There is no doubt that throughout our education system the DE’s OCR has for long been seen as a heavy handed and intrusive entity and that its use of Title IX funding as a bullwhip to intimidate institutions into stepping in line with its often unpopular policies has been met with much resentment.

F.I.R.E’s Senior Vice President Robert Shibley issued a statement regarding Ali’s stepping down:


While we wish Ms. Ali the best, we hope her successor will end OCR’s silence regarding widespread concerns about the fundamental due process rights of students and faculty members.

F.I.R.E., the AAUP and SAVE have written multiple open letters to the OCR demanding that the directive be repealed but there was never any public response to their demands.  The OCR has also failed to discuss publicly the directive and the issue has been ignored by all but a few media outlets, the most notable of which being the Wall Street Journal which published a critical commentary written by Peter Berkowitz last year.

As mentioned above, there is no indication to specific reasons for Ali stepping down, however, if it can be established that she is resigning in any part due to criticism of her April 4th 2011 directive then it will mark a milestone in this type of activism and a watershed moment for the improvement of the lives of male college students.

While there still is no official announcement on the DE website, Seth Galanter, who has been a deputy assistant secretary in OCR, has been promoted to replace Ali as acting assistant secretary.






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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  • AntZ

    Victory is a rare occurence for men’s rights activists. When tasted, it must be savored.

    • Roger O Thornhill

      Hi AntZ,

      This is just the smell of the entree beginning to be cooked. This meal will have many more delicious courses, with something for everyone here. Man you should see the size of the dessert menu! :-)

  • Stu

    Whatever the reason she left, good riddance to bad garbage.

  • http://manamongoaks.com/index.html Ray

    “…the federal government had never before said, ‘Sexual violence can be a civil rights violation,’ ” Ali said of the guidance, which directs schools to effectively prevent and respond to incidents of sexual assault, and stresses their responsibility to address hostile environments. ‘We’ve had hundreds of institutions across the country that just didn’t know what to do. It’s been stunning to see how quickly they have responded.'”

    Witch-hunting males on college and university campuses makes them “hostile environments” against males. False accusations of rape constitute sexual assault – unless, of course, you’re a feminist hypocrite.

    Witch-Hunting Males

  • Kimski

    A nice little example of why their solipsism is the biggest ball and chain to women, when it comes to the alleged “glass ceiling”, and the real reason so many women fail as CEO’s, in government offices, and as chairmen of the boards.

    Anything that remotely touches on the subject of women, immediately becomes a question about themselves as persons, in which case they overtly over compensate in their decision making, and loses all sense of rationality.

    The “Dear Colleague Letter” is a prize winning example of this, and I got a 100$ bill saying that Mz Russlyn Ali once suffered from some kind of sexual harrasment, while attending college or university.

    -Or, more likely, ‘felt’ she did…

    • 4thtroika

      What happened, a guy invited her to Open Mike Night?

  • TheBiboSez

    If feminists like Russlyn Ali, when entrusted in positions of public responsibility, abuse that trust, then why oh why should we EVER trust them with any sort of responsibility again? Because they are female?

    Those who eschew responsibilities and demand special rights deserve neither.

  • Zarathos022

    Three words: Good. Fucking. Riddance.

  • Robert St. Estephe

    The most persistent forms of bullying in education are perpetrated by government employees, who systematically practice ethnic Europhobia and anti-heternormative bias in their sanctioned hate speech which targets scapegoats (just as the “kulaks” once were targeted by collectivist Statists and European Jews were targeted by collectivist Statists and people who wore eyeglasses were once targeted by collectivist Statists). The District of Columbia dictatorship attempts to govern those who hold the true sovereign power without our consent. They are illegitimate.

  • http://commonmanmedia.blogspot.com TCM

    The reality is that the Dear Colleague letter – just like all the misandric abuses perpetrated against men and boys in our education system – was not made by Russlynn Ali alone. It was created by a culture that is pervasive in our education system – one that views men and boys as less deserving of humanity and personhood based upon their rank in a superficial hierarchy of class victimhood that does not learn, grow, or evolve to reflect the facts of the world.

    That culture is very much alive and well in her absence, and is permissive and normalized in much of our education system. So long as that culture exists, it will produce individuals like Russlynn Ali. The removal of one or two talking heads changes nothing. The entire culture of academia must be prosecuted – both socially and legally – before real change can occur.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    There is reason for cautious optimism. The 2nd Obama administration (note on terminology: when a President is elected to a 2nd term, it is extremely common to refer it to as his “2nd” or “next” administration because even though it’s the same President he often shuffles his team and many people, exhausted after the first 4 years, leave) may be significantly different from the first. Generally speaking 2nd administrations are markedly different from 1st administrations, for a wide variety of reasons. 2nd administrations are often (I’d say even usually) less ideological because the President will not be running for a third term (Constitutionally impermissible) and thus tending to be somewhat more in line with the President’s personal views and somewhat less reflective of his party’s; he’s working on his legacy now, and also in a position to start doing things without worrying overmuch about what it will do to his re-election chances.

    There is positive and negative in this; in any 2nd administration (assuming a President gets one, since not all do) they may do things that you or others don’t like because they suddenly feel less beholden to the political people who get them elected. In this case, for example, the President may have found it politically inexpedient to do anything other than bow to ideological feminist pressure in his first administration and may feel far less inclined to bow to ideological feminist pressure now. It’s equally possible that it will go the other way and he may make ideological feminists even more happy by being more politically extreme in this area than he was in the 1st administration. I’m just saying it may well go the other way; he may suddenly take more of an interest in the proposed White House Council on Men & Boys that got ignored in the 1st administration, for example, and may be taking a much more jaundiced view of extending Title IX to cover STEM fields or a more open mind toward also extending it to cover men in other areas where they’re struggling.

    This is not a prediction, nor is it a defense or endorsement of the current administration. It is to note that there is reason for pessimism, but there is reason for optimism as well, and this is at least one reason to feel cautiously optimistic. The President will be less beholden by far to ideological feminists than he was the first time around, with less reason to fear them. As the men’s movement continues to gain steam (and brother, is it gaining steam) and the intellectual bankruptcy of so much of academic feminism becomes more and more obvious, it’s entirely possible we’ll see more positive developments over the next four years.

    This will of course bear watching. Could go either way, but this is one sign in the positive direction.

  • oldfart

    April 4 has quite a history as being symbolic.
    Given that fact,I do not expect a reversal.
    It seems there should have been a case brought before the Supreme Court on this matter by now.
    All it would take is to replace one male member of the court with a female and all these rulings go the other way.
    Keep an eye on those appointments.
    Another Kagan and it’s over.

  • rebtus

    Office for Civil Right in the Department of Education is a feminist agenda driven agency. When Title IX slashed wrestling programs, the male advoctes were eaeger when a new director was appointed for OCR. Nothing changed for better and he faded into oblivion. So was this”Dear Colleague” diredtor
    In .http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0458_0718_ZO.html
    US Supreme Court ruled state sponsored Mississippi University for Women violated 14th Amendment by denying admission for a male student. The state argued that Section 901 (a) 5 of Title IX protected its status. The SCOTUS ruled that Congress lacks power “to restrict, abrogate.or dilute “equal protection.
    Yet. http://www.womenscolleges.org is permitted to ban men by the OCR