Sen. Andrew Koenig’s Column for the Week of April 8, 2019

Title IX: From Equality to Inequality

From safe spaces and trigger warnings to student protests over freedom of speech and expression, today’s college campuses seem to be riddled with a total lack of respect for individuality, difference of opinion and most importantly, our constitutional rights. But, there’s no greater attack on individual liberty than what is happening on our college campuses all across the nation with Title IX.

Title IX was enacted in 1972 for the purpose of combating gender discrimination and achieving gender equity for women. Therefore, no public or private school could discriminate on the basis of sex if they were receiving any federal funding.

In 2011, President Obama’s Administration expanded the program to include sexual misconduct in an effort to tackle the rise in sexual assault and rape cases on college campuses. Since the expansion, I believe we have seen a total disregard for due process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct.

Under current Title IX guidelines, it appears that many higher education institutions have denied accused male students their right to a fair hearing, access to an attorney, access to evidence against them and the ability to question their accuser. Because of this direct violation of one’s constitutional rights, these campus hearings have become nothing more than kangaroo courts.

Missouri’s colleges, both public and private, receive millions of taxpayer dollars each year, and they’re not living up to their responsibility to protect the rights of students. Nationally, there are hundreds of lawsuits against colleges and universities for ignoring the constitutional due process rights of students.

If we fail to fix this broken system now, we risk costing Missouri taxpayers millions of dollars in legal costs and lawsuit settlements. More importantly, I am appalled by this law’s misguided and dangerous impact on students’ constitutional rights. We must restore rule of law and due process on our college campuses. We must protect the constitutional rights of all college students in our state. I’m hopeful this is the year the Legislature will pass these protections for students and fix the broken Title IX system.

As always, it’s an honor and privilege serving you in the Missouri General Assembly. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or ideas to improve our state government. Thank you for reading my capitol report and I look forward to sharing more of our work with you soon.