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Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University

February 2015
Northwestern University (Private college or university)
Evanston, Illinois, USA

Identity of Speakers

  • Laura Kipnis
    Faculty/Staff
    Other

    Laura Kipnis is a film professor at Northwestern University and a self-described feminist.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Other
  • Incident Responses:
    Title IX or other federal statute
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

Laura Kipnis is a film professor at Northwestern University and a self-described feminist. In February 2015, she published an article in The Chronicle titled “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Acadame.” The article criticized Northwestern’s ban on sexual relationships between professors and students and described what she believed to be a growing sexual paranoia on college campuses. Specifically, she criticized the application of Title IX to what she views as essentially ordinary sexual conduct and discussions.

Kipnis’ article prompted student activists to call for a public apology, and two graduate students filed Title IX complaints against her. These complaints alleged that Kipnis created a “hostile environment” and a “chilling effect” on Title IX complaints, among other things. Northwestern followed up on these complaints by launching an investigation into Kipnis. In response to the investigation, Kipnis published a follow-up essay in the Chronicle titled “My Title IX Inquisition.” Her article shared the details of her investigation and claimed that the action was a misuse of Title IX that allowed “intellectual disagreement to be redefined as retaliation.”

Immediately after the article’s publication, Northwestern found her innocent of any wrongdoing.