[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
…we get this horrible story—disabled war vet jeered at Columbia. First, this kind of thing brings up, for me, the teeth-grinding hypocrisy of the entire Kerry Presidential campaign. He belonged to the party that spat on our soldiers (and worse), and much of the reason why our soldiers had been spat on in the Vietnam era was because of Kerry and his Senatorial testimony. And suddenly they were pretending that you had to be a war hero to be president and they loved our soldiers? The entire thing was a lie, from start to finish.
Second, the Dana who got an Instalink notes that the school’s non-discrimination policy applies to veterans like Mr. Maschek, including a prohibition on harassment. The behavior described in the article would appear to run afoul of that policy and thus the school would have cause for disciplining those students, or so Dana argues. But in fact he might be only half right. I have seen court cases where policies against discrimination have been interpreted as creating a contact, meaning that even if no state or federal law protected Mr. Maschek, his detrimental reliance on their promise to prevent harassment based on military service creates an obligation on their part to discipline those students. In other words, if they don’t discipline those students, he might have a cause of action against the school for breach of contract.
Now, I have long felt that “hostile environment” type harassment should have been read out of our civil rights laws –at least when the harassment is merely words and not conduct such as threats, or the solicitation of prostitution (which is often what sexual harassment really is). And I say this as a man who has directly benefited from our civil rights laws. But merely calling a person a name? To read the law as forbidding that is to allow Congress to do what the constitution forbids under the First Amendment. But in this case we are not talking about a congressional law, but the interpretation of contracts, and so the First amendment is not implicated. And, as they say, sauce for the gander…
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]