Men’s rights activist vows to battle feminism after case dismissed

U-Wire and U-Wire

Men’s rights activist Roy Den Hollander, Columbia University MBA ’97, pledged to fight on in his battle against feminism, in light of a magistrate judge’s April 15 recommendation to dismiss his case against Columbia’s women’s studies program. ‘The Magistrate Judge’s recommendations go to Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who will decide whether to accept, reject or modify them – bet he accepts them, and then there will be an appeal to the Second Circuit,’ Hollander wrote in a press release in response to the recommendation to dismiss. ‘It’s not the law, and I like to think I’m not that masochistic,’ Hollander quoted himself as saying. In August, Hollander filed a lawsuit against Columbia, claiming that its support of a women’s studies department was a First Amendment violation, on the grounds that feminism is a religion. He is also claiming that the ‘intentional discriminatory impact against men of the women’s studies program is in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.’ He contends that Columbia cannot use government funding to support the Institute for Research on Women and Gender unless it has an equivalent men’s studies program. In October, Columbia filed a motion for the case to be dropped, arguing that Hollander has no standing to sue since he is not a Columbia student, and that he has not coherently defined a men’s studies alternative. The University’s filing stated that Hollander’s complaint ‘reads like a parody,’ and disputed Hollander’s claim that the University should establish a formal men’s studies program. Columbia’s motion argued that Hollander staked his case ‘on his personal hostility to feminism,’ which has been brewing for years thanks to what he calls ‘an Edgar Allen Poe horror tale of a divorce.’ At the time, Hollander dismissed the notion of parody: ‘Women’s studies [programs] aid and abet murder,’ he said. ‘Where do you think all those lunatic female syndromes come from for excusing murdering incipient human beings, boiling babies, drowning their children, and killing their boyfriends or husbands?’ Since then, the papers have flown back and forth, with memoranda filed on either side of the motion to dismiss. Papers filed by Hollander in opposition to dismissal indicate that, following several e-mails he wrote asking Columbia males to join a class-action law suit to fight for the men’s rights cause, he was able to recruit William Nosal, CC ’08. Nosal said he intended to enroll in men’s studies but was prevented from doing so when he realized there was no such program. Columbia’s subsequent memorandum once again argued that the University is not a state actor, that Hollander’s content-based claims against women’s studies fail to qualify as a First Amendment case, and that he has not demonstrated sufficient standing. Columbia further argued against the Title IX claim for the need to create a men’s studies program, noting that many courses offered are male-centric to begin with. ‘Indeed, even the claim that Columbia offers no courses with ‘male sensitive views”-let alone that it ‘banishes’ the male perspective’-is simply rhetoric,’ the memorandum said. ‘Plaintiffs do not explain how a philosophy course on Kant and Nietzsche; an art history course on the male nude in western art; a history course on the American presidency since 1945; a classics course on Plato; an American Studies course on the Supreme Court; a music course on Beethoven; or an English course on Milton (or Shakespeare, or Beckett and Nabokov, or Pinter, or O’Neill, or Williams and Miller) fails to be male sensitive.’ The recommendation to dismiss, filed by Kevin Nathaniel Fox, the magistrate judge, agreed with several of Columbia’s arguments, citing several precedents that point to Hollander’s-and Nosal’s-lack of personal injury, since neither ‘allege they enrolled in a Women’s Studies course(s) at Columbia that caused them to suffer a direct injury occasioned by firsthand exposure to the content of the Women’s Studies course(s), or that they were discriminated against, by being denied the opportunity to participate in Columbia’s Women’s Studies program.’ In response, Hollander noted that Fox had himself graduated from Columbia, and accused him of ‘completely’ misreading his complaint-or only reading Columbia’s take on the issue. Hollander said that the lack of men’s studies courses is the injury. ‘Why this Judge thinks we had to enroll or try to enroll in Women’s Studies’ courses is beyond me,’ Hollander quoted himself as saying in the release. Hollander, who now devotes his full time to men’s rights, worked for ABC News, several law firms, and the Russian branch of security firm Kroll Associates. Through Kroll, Hollander said he learned that the wife he brought to the U.S. from Russia was a prostitute allied with the Chechen mafia. A scuffle with her-including a brush with the Violence Against Women Act-sparked Hollander’s activism, which has included a case against women’s nights in bars.