In this seminar, the recent efforts by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to enforce Title IX policy are considered in the broader context of unsuccessful attempts to establish protection of sexual violence as a civil right in the United States. OCR enforcement has stimulated both praise for its bold determination to address an epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses and criticism for its capacious exercise of administrative power. Bumiller reframes this debate by considering how these regulatory measures are a new chapter in a varied and complex story about the effectiveness of public enforcement of civil rights statutes through the combination of administrative and judicial action. Her work questions whether over reliance on public agency enforcement potentially weakens the participatory and democratic effects of private action. She also examines how current federal regulations regarding Title IX continue a pattern that over emphasizes criminal justice priorities.
Speaker: Kristin Bumiller, George Daniel Olds Professor in Economic and Social Institutions; Chair of Political Science, Amherst College