The MLO Minute: By, Nancy Potter, Esq.
This month, the U.S. Department of Education released the Department’s much anticipated Title IX regulations. The new Title IX regulation codifies prohibitions against sexual harassment in schools. The regulation carries the full force of law.
Key provisions of the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulation:
- Defines sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex
- Protects K-12 students by requiring elementary and secondary schools to respond promptly when ANY school employee, including teachers, has notice of alleged sexual misconduct
- Holds colleges responsible for off-campus sexual harassment at houses owned or under the control of school-sanctioned fraternities and sororities
- Upholds all students’ right to written notice of allegations, the right to an advisor, and the right to submit, cross-examine, and challenge evidence at a live hearing
- Requires schools to select one of two standards of evidence, the preponderance of the evidence standard or the clear and convincing evidence standard – and to apply the selected standard evenly to proceedings for all students and employees, including faculty
- Requires schools to offer an equal right of appeal for both parties to a Title IX proceeding
- Gives schools flexibility to use technology to conduct Title IX investigations and hearings remotely.
The Office for Civil Rights released a video reviewing the key changes, available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdfT5R8ibm4&feature=youtu.be.
The demands of Title IX require that K-12 schools, colleges and universities aggressively investigate and adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct by students. The investigations and disciplinary hearings which result from allegations of misconduct can be complex and intimidating for faculty and students alike, regardless of whether they are the accused or an accuser. These Title IX regulations expressly require academic institutions to permit attorneys to participate on behalf of both victims and the accused in all investigations and adjudications of sexual misconduct.
MLO’s team has a unique set of experiences, backgrounds, and skills to expertly assist individuals involved in Title IX matters, whether they are victims of inappropriate conduct by others or accused of misconduct themselves. We have handled a great many Title IX claims, as well as issues involving academic integrity and academic progress, and we can provide the expertise necessary. Any individual who is involved in a Title IX claim or other student conduct issue should have the benefit of good counsel. The issues are critical and the stakes are so very high for students and families.