Stories like that piss me off. Ugh.
This bit seems most relevant to me:
Pure foolishness....the two departments created a sweeping new definition of sexual harassment as "any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature," including "verbal conduct." (Or, as those more familiar with the English language call it, speech.)
Who gets to define "unwelcome"? The listener and the listener alone — no matter how high-strung, neurotic or just plain pinheaded that person is. I can understand why you might suspect I'm extrapolating or exaggerating here, but really, the feds' letter is quite explicit: the words don't have to be offensive to "an objectively reasonable person" to be considered harassment.
Given that standard of guilt, it's perhaps not very surprising that the government says anybody accused of harassment can be punished even before he or she is convicted.
It does seem that the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction if this is interpreted as strictly as the article is attempting to portray it, but given the history of how sexual misconduct is often swept under the rug or been given the just look the other way treatment (I'm thinking of the many, many service men and women who have experienced this firsthand for years as well as the Catholic church's scandal), it's not entirely without basis in needing to have a more heavy hand in dealing with it. Hopefully, there will be a more reasonable solution that meets closer toward the middle ground in effectively dealing with sexual harassment and rape that does not end up creating more victims by punishing those who are innocent.