George Leef: The Office of Civil Rights.

Mar 4, 2017 by

An Interview with George Leef: The Office of Civil Rights.

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) George, you have recently posted a piece indicating your concern about the Office of Civil Rights. What is the link?

My Martin Center article entitled “Sweeping Change at the Office for Civil Rights is Imperative” is available here.   (here is the link “ just in case)

2) Briefly, what are your main concerns about the Office of Civil Rights?

My main concerns are that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been acting illegally in promulgating what are in effect new laws (rather than simply enforcing existing federal laws) and that those new laws are very damaging. That is not just my view, but that of the authors of the book I discuss extensively in the article, The Campus Rape Frenzy by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr.

3) Who has been running the Office of Civil Rights during the Obama years – and what kinds of skullduggery has been going on?

During the Obama administration, OCR was headed by and staffed with people who were intent upon spreading federal control over education at all levels so as to impose their own beliefs on how schools and colleges must be run. That was accomplished through a number of “guidance” letter that purported to explain to school officials what the law meant. The chief impact on higher education was to force college officials to adopt the OCR’s idea of the proper way to handle allegations of sexual assault. Because almost no college wants the headaches and possible financial penalties that come from getting on the wrong side of the federal bureaucracy, the result was that a few zealous bureaucrats were able to impose their will.

4) I take it that the Office of Civil Rights has become a quagmire of sorts where basically they send out a lot of letters of concern but little else. Am I off on this?

Yes, you could call OCR under Obama a quagmire. Specifically, the problem was the arrogance of top officials who wanted to rewrite the law themselves via “guidance” letters. That’s one of the ingrained problems with administrative law, namely that regulators will try to expand their power. OCR is a perfect example.

5) In your mind, what should the Office of Civil Right be looking at?

First, I would favor abolition of the whole Department of Education since the federal government has neither any proper role in education under the Constitution nor can it accomplish any good with its top-down edicts. But so long as the Department exists, complaints about civil rights violations should be handled by the Department of Justice, as they were before the Department was created in 1979.  Having another civil rights office is redundant.

6) Should the Office of Civil Rights be run out of Washington, or would it be more appropriate for things to be looked at from a state perspective?

Returning to my point above, all educational matters should be handled by states and localities.

7) It seems to me, and I may be wrong and would be happy to apologize, that the Office of Civil Rights is more concerned with rape and sexual assault issues than anything else. Or am I off on this also?

At the college level, you’re right. OCR has been utterly obsessed with that issue.  The reason, I argue in my article, is that doing so was good politics for the Democrats by advancing the myth that sexual assault on campuses is an epidemic that is growing. But that is a vastly over-exaggerated problem and in any case when it does occur, it is better handled by the police than by campus administrators who (following OCR mandates) have been trained to adopt a “guilty until proven innocent” mindset.

8) What have I neglected to ask?

It is important to add that the opponents of the OCR’s extremely biased system, clearly meant to produce as many guilty findings as possible, include old-style liberals who can’t stand the blatant attack on due process of law for accused students. Many law professors and veteran civil rights lawyers have spoken out against the OCR’s crusade.

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