David Preston, Executive Director
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Foundation
The Keating Center for Capitalism, Free Enterprise & Constitutional Liberty at OKWU stands for, promotes, and defends the constitutional liberties of all citizens by doing what we can in the fight to protect the God-given freedoms codified by our Founders when they drafted the Constitution. It’s therefore troublesome to watch one of our political parties seek to undermine and infringe on those liberties using entrenched bureaucracies to do the dirty work because those bureaucrats are not accountable to the people over which they have power. A great deal of that dirty work is being done by the Environmental Protection Agency with its cost-ignorant mandates designed to thwart development and innovation by private businesses, energy companies, farmers and ranchers and by the Department of Education with its power-grabbing expansion of Title IX to seize control over college campuses, bit-by-bit.
Both the EPA and DOE have had open license to coerce whoever it can, whenever possible, during the Obama administration. He has encouraged and often commanded their intrusion into the lives of individuals and business practices of disfavored groups and industries. There is little hope that much will change with Hillary Clinton as the standard bearer for the modern Democrat party and the sponsor of its statist party platform.
Dan Henninger of The Wall Street Journal writes about this problem here. He notes particularly the activist Departments of Education and Justice, which have threatened colleges with a withdrawal of federal funding if they don’t toe the activist line on addressing campus sexual assault. DOE’s unilateral mandate, in the form of 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and not by formal agency rule-making, has instructed colleges what they must do (circumvent the accused’s constitutional rights) and can’t do (discipline students based on that college’s belief system, mission and history) and has created untold problems for colleges and universities, including Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Title IX has become a text book study for government expansion by giving the federal government the license, through regulations, to control disciplinary procedures on every campus. Unfortunately, while mandating procedures such as those to adjudicate alleged campus sexual assault cases might be the state’s first overreach using Title IX to control colleges, it won’t be the last.
Having made that leap, then, it is short stroll to the point where the government can dictate what the rules of evidence, the burden of proof, and the rights of the accused should be in the trumped-up disciplinary hearing it mandates. What started out as a productive and well-intentioned law that almost everyone could support, has thus become a bludgeon to use against disfavored private citizens to subvert the rule of law.
This creeping, bureaucratic tyranny must be stopped. We at the Keating Center fear for what the future holds if the government is not restrained in its efforts to transform American society, its universities, and its traditions through an unelected bureaucracy. We support those who have the courage to take a stand against that effort.