Editorials

Wife of Title IX lobbyist can’t judge her own son’s case. She must step down

What is Title IX, and how has it evolved in American schools over the years?

Title IX was signed into law in 1972 and was initially aimed to address gender inequality in sports. Here's how the law got started, and how it expanded over the years.
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Title IX was signed into law in 1972 and was initially aimed to address gender inequality in sports. Here's how the law got started, and how it expanded over the years.

Missouri Administrative Hearing Commissioner Audrey Hanson McIntosh’s integrity is compromised. She can no longer effectively serve on the independent adjudicating board funded with taxpayer dollars.

The private attorney was appointed in 2015 to a six-year term on the commission by then-Gov. Jay Nixon. Current Gov. Mike Parson’s office says he does not have the authority to remove McIntosh from her role there, but she should admit she erred in participating in a ruse to clear her son of wrongdoing and step down.

McIntosh’s husband, Jefferson City lobbyist Richard McIntosh, pushed Missouri legislators to enact bills that, if allowed to become law, would permit college students accused of sexual assault under Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972 to hire attorneys and pose questions under cross-examination about their accusers’ drinking habits or sexual history.

Those new rules would be convenient for the McIntosh family, as their son was expelled from Washington University in St. Louis last year in just such a Title IX case.

Thankfully, a Kansas City Star report quelled that effort. Had the legislation passed, the measure would have enabled the McIntoshes’ son to appeal his expulsion to the very Administrative Hearing Commission where his mother sits as presiding and managing commissioner.

That body is supposed to act as a neutral and independent arbiter, according to the agency’s website.

But Audrey is anything but impartial. According to emails obtained by the Associated Press, Richard McIntosh indicated that his wife played a role in crafting language for the legislative effort.

He suggested in February to a state senator that a “couple of shots at the rape equals regret wouldn’t hurt,” sending a link to a “men’s rights” website that insisted it is “unsatisfying sexual unions caused by regret — not rape — that is the real sex problem on campus.”

The McIntoshes’ covert attempts to add specific language that would have allowed Audrey to review her son’s case went beyond bad judgment. She has not returned messages seeking comment about her role.

To use power and privilege to guide legislation undermines the very nature of public office. How can Audrey McIntosh effectively do her job as a commissioner when she is reportedly involved in trying to cook the legislative books?

“This Title IX issue came out of nowhere and spread like wildfire within the Missouri GOP,” Democratic state Sen. Lauren Arthur told The Star. “It’s disturbing to now learn how it was purposely ignited and how it was stoked with gross fallacies about rape victims faking their assaults.”

Even if the McIntosh family sincerely felt their son’s expulsion was unfair, how is it reasonable for either of them to use money and power to overturn a law intended to protect all students?

Richard McIntosh’s shameless attempt to overhaul Title IX legislation in Missouri is based on subterfuge. And Audrey McIntosh’s alleged contributions are just as appalling.

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