“Should Catherine Lhamon be confirmed, we are likely to see the resurrection of college sex tribunals with all the procedural fairness of the Salem Witch Trials.“ — Jennifer C. Braceras

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Independent Women’s Voice and Independent Women’s Law Center urge the United States Senate to reject the nomination of Catherine Lhamon to be Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights — the same position in which she previously served from 2013-2016. Lhamon poses a serious threat to civil liberties.

During her earlier stint at the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Lhamon used her position to bully colleges and universities into inappropriately policing the speech and sex lives of students. Lhamon pressured schools, under the threat of losing federal funding, to rack up findings of “responsibility” (aka guilt) by establishing kangaroo courts that lowered the burden of proof and dispensed with the presumption of innocence. In response to Lhamon’s pressure, colleges and universities across the country instituted sexual misconduct witch hunts that resulted in numerous innocent students losing access to education, thereby diminishing their lifetime earnings, and being forever branded as sex predators.

So overzealous was Lhamon that, in 2016, a bipartisan group of 21 law professors issued a statement condemning the Department of Education for undermining the neutrality of campus disciplinary systems. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Lhamon’s tenure at OCR also resulted in a flood of litigation in which numerous judges (appointed by both Democrats and Republicans) issued favorable rulings for students punished by campus kangaroo courts. 

Lhamon’s past tenure at OCR resulted in deprivations of civil liberties that defenders of liberty on both sides of the political aisle find shocking. It is clear that, if confirmed, Lhamon will once again use her authority to require that colleges adopt disciplinary hearings that fail to comport with basic notions of fairness and due process. 

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center said, “Should Catherine Lhamon be confirmed, we are likely to see the resurrection of college sex tribunals with all the procedural fairness of the Salem Witch Trials. The Senate should reject her nomination.”

Inez Stepman, Senior Policy Analyst with Independent Women’s Voice, added, “Catherine Llhamon has already demonstrated her willingness to use the power of the Department of Education to trample basic rights. Her potential confirmation represents a danger to students and to some of the liberties we most cherish as a society. Her radical record demonstrates that she is not qualified to serve in a position charged with protecting student’s rights.”



Independent Women’s Voice fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance freedom, opportunities, and well-being.

Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.