cover image Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus

Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus

Laura Kipnis. Harper, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-265786-2

In this courageous, thought-provoking polemic, Kipnis (Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation), a feminist cultural critic and professor at Northwestern University, targets the overzealousness of Title IX investigations on college campuses and shows how they’re undermining academic freedom, free speech, and gender equality. After being at the center of a 72-day Title IX investigation herself (the author was accused of creating a “hostile environment” on campus following the publication of her essay on sexual paranoia in the Chronicle of Higher Education), Kipnis uncovered a “netherworld of accused professors and students, rigged investigations, closed-door hearings, and Title IX officers run amok.” The book focuses on one investigation of a well=known philosophy professor at Northwestern University, but Kipnis draws in numerous other examples to highlight the current climate of “criminalization” of sex on campus due to the 2011 expansion of Title IX’s mandate to encompass sexual misconduct. The guidelines for this are vague, leading to unfair trials where investigators aren’t accountable to anyone. She argues for more honesty about the sexual realties on campuses. Without diminishing the gravity of sexual assault, Kipnis’s readable and judiciously reported work illustrates how the “sex-as-danger preoccupation on campuses now” is infantilizing women rather than empowering them.[em] Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (Apr.) [/em]