Call-Out and Cancel Culture and Title IX: How Should Educational Institutions Respond?

It’s happening across the country at all levels of education. Students from schools, colleges, and universities are taking to Twitter, Instagram, and other social media and online platforms to call out other students or employees for alleged sexual harassment and abuse. A recent situation involving the University of Utah is just one example. The university suspended Greek activity after two students reported sexual assault and others posted anonymously about their experiences online. A similar account at Atascadero High School in California raised similar issues (pages 4-5) and drew significant attention. Of course, call-outs are not limited to the online sphere; there are plenty of cases in which steps are taken to call out or cancel individuals alleged of sexual harassment in the brick and mortar schoolhouse. There is no doubt that a call-out can put a school in a difficult predicament, especially when social media magnifies the reach. How can—and should—schools respond when an alleged perpetrator believes call-ous or cancel posts cross the line into harassment or bullying?