The University of Oregon is asking a federal court of appeals to overturn the ruling by a ninth circuit three-judge panel that said a former doctoral student's Title IX case against the university was worthy of a trial.
We have blogged about this case here--so I won't recap all the details.
It is not surprising that UO has asked for the panel's ruling to be overturned.
What is slightly more so--to us and to the university I think--is that the Eagle Forum, an organization headed by noted conservative Phyllis Schlafly, is trying to join in the case on the side of the university. Overturning Title IX because, they argue, it discriminates against men, has long been on the Eagle Forum's agenda.
But the university is now caught in a little predicament. Eagle Forum wants Title IX in front of the Supreme Court for an opportunity to be overturned or weakened by the conservative-leaning court. But the university doesn't want Title IX overturned--they just want this case to be re-framed: as one of academic freedom.
I don't quite buy that--especially because this incident at Appalachian State has been on my mind and given the lengths professors who teach perceived controversial material are taking to protect themselves from student allegations these days. This looks like a retaliation case. That is what the Ninth Circuit Panel saw. It should go to trial.