Harvard University says not respecting someone's preferred pronouns could be a Title IX violation

The training said that the person in the fictional scenario 'contribute[s] to a climate of disrespect and may also violate Harvard’s policies.' Failure to abide by the Title IX policy on sexual harassment is punishable by 'admonition,' or even possible expulsion.

Harvard University says not respecting someone's preferred pronouns could be a Title IX violation
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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Harvard students who refuse to respect the preferred pronouns of trans and non-binary identifying students could find themselves at the mercy of a Title IX investigation.

A mandatory Title IX training session at the Ivy League college reportedly provided students with multiple scenarios explaining possible violations of the university’s Title IX policy, including one where a student repeatedly uses the “wrong pronouns” to address a peer while commenting on gender identity, as detailed by the Washington Free Beacon.

The training said that the person in the fictional scenario “contribute[s] to a climate of disrespect and may also violate Harvard’s policies.” 

Failure to abide by the Title IX policy on sexual harassment is punishable by “admonition,” or even possible expulsion. 

Another slide in the training session included a diagram of a “Power and Control Wheel,” which includes a number of possible behaviors that run afoul of university policies, including sexual, verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. The slide also lists “cultural/identity abuse,” which includes “using the wrong pronouns as part of its definition. 

Washington Free Beacon reported: 

Outside the wheel are attitudes that “contribute to an environment that perpetuates violence,” a voiceover from the training states, including “sizeism and fatphobia,” “cisheterosexism,” “racism,” “transphobia,” “ageism,” and “ableism.”

The training also presents scenarios that involve potential Title IX violations and explains how students should react to them, instructing students to "prioritize social justice and inclusion" and to "intervene" whenever "harm" occurs.

The “Power of Control Wheel” flies in the face of what should be taught at university, which is that life is not only full of surprises but is also full of very different people from different walks of life. If diversity is truly a strength, wouldn’t students stand to benefit from students having their views and outlooks on life challenged, instead of being told how to behave?

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  • By Ezra Levant

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