Watch Out! I’m About to Sexually Harass You!

You know what's really "unwelcome"? The Department of Education's new definition of sexual harassment, that's what.

Hi there! I’m in your English 101 class with you, and you look like a nice person. Would you like to go out on a date with me?

No? Okay, well, never mind, then, I’ll just—

What? You say I sexually harassed you? How? By asking you out? Since when does that qualify as sexual harassment?

Well, yes, we are on a college campus. But all I did was ask you out. You said no. I said okay. No harm, no foul, right?

Title IX? Sure, I’ve heard of Title IX. It’s that law that says colleges have to have as many women’s sports as men’s sports. What’s that got to do with—

Oh. Now that you mention it, I have heard that Title IX also forbids sexual harassment on college campuses. Hey, I’m as much against sexual harassment as the next guy. But how does asking you out on a date qualify as sexual harassment?

Really? The Department of Education and the Department of Justice just decreed that sexual harassment is “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct”? Jeez, that seems a little … broad, don’t you think?

Calling you a broad? Of course I wasn’t calling you a broad. I said the definition the government has for sexual harassment seems a little br—GENERAL! It seems a little too general! I certainly didn’t mean to sexually harass you by asking you out on a date. I was just dicking around.

You’re kidding. Saying “dicking around” is sexual harassment? Everybody says “dicking around.” You’d have to be a real jerk to be upset by that.

Oh. “jerk,” too? Come on! No  one could possibly be offended by—

I see. You’re offended. Well, with all due respect, you seem to be taking offense at everything I say. The last time I looked, the Department of Education’s own Office for Civil Rights said sexual harassment had to be evaluated “from the perspective of a reasonable person.”

That rule has changed? It doesn’t have to be offensive to an “objectively reasonable person” anymore? Whom does it have to be offensive to?

Anybody? Anybody at all, even someone who’s not objective or reasonable? You have to be kidding! That’s crazy! If that’s the new rule, then a student who was assigned to read Ulysses for class could claim that she was being sexually harassed!

Okay, so you’re not a Joyce fan. What about sex education programs? You know, like that “Sex Week” the college has every year, with information on preventing STDs and stuff like that? Let me guess—sexual harassment if just one person says he or she finds Sex Week unwelcome.

And the gay support groups on campus? Some religious people find homosexuality unwelcome. So I guess they’re out, too.

We had that really funny comedian perform during Spring Fling. He told a lot of dirty jokes. I don’t suppose he’ll be invited back now. And how about that Tyga concert? His raps are full of sexual innuendos. I guess someone who felt offended could say the student government was guilty of harassment for hiring him.

It doesn’t sound like this college is going to be much fun anymore. Even if you did agree to go on a date with me, where would we go? I guess there’s always Shakespeare. The Campus Players are putting on As You Like It.

What’s that you say? Canceled? Why in the world was it canceled?

Oh. Of course. Rosalind is a cross-dresser. I should have known.