The three important steps your institution can take right now to better prepare for the upcoming OCR Title IX Guidance Document/DCL 2018

Equal Opportunity, title IX

As most institutions await the 2018 Title IX policy changes from OCR based in part on the 2017 interim guidance, several steps can be taken now to prepare your institution for this change.  There are several prudent steps that can be implemented now that will place your institution in a more favorable position to incorporate successfully these upcoming changes.  

Policy Review – Does your current Title IX policy, training of staff and sexual-assault investigative techniques meet present guidelines?  Does your institution’s website homepage state your Title IX Coordinator? 170117-betsy-devos-rhk-1924p_ddf06ad3f6c00ab71a786cb104bb39e8.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000With regard to the required Notice of Rights and Options, for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, etc. your Notice of Rights and Options should include the following information in order to be compliant with the Clery Act and Title IX.  Does your Notice of Rights and Options inform victims that the institution will provide written notification to students and employees about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, and other services available for victims, both within the institution and in the community?

Assembling a team – has your home institution assembled a Title IX policy implementation team in anticipation of the expected 2018 Title IX policy changes?  Many public institutions, for example, require Board of Trustees approval, public notice, and other procedural steps before changes to institutional policy can be achieved which may delay implementation.

Setting aside/securing funding for any additional Title IX training, etc., needed to effectively implement changes.  This step is key.  While the exact date of the upcoming Title IX policy changes is unknown, best practice indicates following these initial steps now will place your institution on more solid ground in order to achieve Title IX Compliance in accordance with the upcoming 2018 expected changes.

Contact University EEO, Inc. today to assist your institution in comprehensive Title IX, Clery Act Compliance/Assessments & Investigations

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Is there a link between Title IX, Campus Labor Unions and the Duty to Collectively Bargain Terms and Conditions of Employment?

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, human resources, Labor Relations, title IX, title VII

This vital question has not been examined fully by the courts with regard to the duty to bargain the terms and conditions of employment in light of the Title IX interim guidance set forth in September 2017.  As institutions now enjoy the right under the interim guidance to choose between preponderance of the evidence and the heightened clear and convincing evidence to determine a campus sexual assault violation, the question now turns to whether campus labor unions have a seat at the table when institutions make this decision.  Which standard of review is applicable if a unionized campus employee is alleged to have violated campus Title IX policy? Campus labor unions may, in fact, argue that agreed upon collective bargaining agreement controls (many of which require the clear and convincing evidence standard), while the campus administration may well rely upon the potentially lower standard (preponderance).  Thus, a term and condition of employment.  The following document analyzes this issue under the 2011 DCL, and remains heavily applicable and relevant to the upcoming 2018 Title IX Guidance. Title IX, Labor Unions and the Duty to Collectively Bargain.

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Male student sues Ball State University in Federal District Court for Title IX violations, Gender Bias and raises 5th Amendment, Due Process concerns

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, title IX

The student alleges that, during a Title IX investigation, the Ball State University administration failed to follow its own policies and created an environment in which male students accused of sexual misconduct are “fundamentally denied due process to be virtually assured of a finding of guilt.”  The student further alleges that preferential treatment was given to the Complainant in the method and manner witness statements were provided and the investigation was conducted, including the fact that Ball State failed and/or refused to provide the student with the same protection in his complaints against Jane Doe that was afforded to her. According to the lawsuit, the male student was owed a duty of reasonable care by Ball State to allow him an equal opportunity to present information and witnesses in support of his defense, a duty of care to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation of the allegations of sexual misconduct, a duty to adequately train its investigative staff, and a duty of care to utilize the preponderance of the evidence standard in reaching a determination.  Click here for a copy of the lawsuit.

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Michigan State kept ties to coach accused of sexual abuse

human resources, title IX

CHICAGO — Michigan State University, already reeling from the scandal involving a gymnastics doctor who molested young athletes, has maintained ties to a prominent volleyball coach for decades after he was publicly accused in 1995 of sexually abusing and raping six underage girls he trained in the 1980s.

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Letters obtained by the Associated Press from advocates for the accusers reveal the school has been under pressure for at least a year to sever its relationship with Rick Butler. He runs training facilities in suburban Chicago that for decades have been a pipeline for top volleyball recruits, including Michigan State. MSU also held exhibition games for successive years at his facilities, at least through 2014, according to online records.  For the full article, click here…. 

Fmr. Professor files Defamation, Retaliation and National Origin Discrimination claim vs. Duke University

Equal Opportunity, human resources, title VII

June Cho, former professor with Duke University has filed a Retaliation, Defamation and National Origin claim against Duke University in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Durham) on April 13, 2018.  The original Guilford Co. Superior Court complaint can be seen here… Duke Complaint

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Pierre R. Berastaín Ojeda to lead Harvard Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

Equal Opportunity, title IX

Pierre Berastaín Ojeda ’10, M.Div. ’14, has been appointed director of the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR), starting in June, Harvard University announced today.  Berastaín returns to Harvard from the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities, a federally funded, Latino-specific institute for gender-based violence in the U.S. In his role as assistant director there, Berastaín led multiyear federal grant programs under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice and conducted training nationally on sexual assault, intimate-partner violence, and stalking. He worked with federal agencies, colleges and universities, state coalitions addressing domestic and sexual violence, shelters, and community programs on violence intervention and prevention initiatives.  For the full article, click here… 

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Head of sexual assault and discrimination office at USU removed following report of unchecked misconduct, harassment

Equal Opportunity, human resources, title IX

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State University announced Wednesday that the school’s president had removed Stacy Sturgeon from her position as Title IX coordinator in response to an investigation that found gender discrimination and sexual misconduct went unchecked for years in the school’s music department, according to Tim Vitale, a spokesman for the university.

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The move comes nearly two weeks after the school released the findings of an independent investigative report which reflected interviews with 60 witnesses and hundreds of pages of documents. The report stated that between 1994 and 2012, students or parents complained of a series of incidents involving sexual harassment by four members of the music department faculty.   

The move comes nearly two weeks after the school released the findings of an independent investigative report which reflected interviews with 60 witnesses and hundreds of pages of documents. The report stated that between 1994 and 2012, students or parents complained of a series of incidents involving sexual harassment by four members of the music department faculty.

In conjunction with the report’s release, USU President Noelle Cockett announced changes to the piano program faculty and said that the office that oversees harassment and sexual misconduct complaints would be reorganized.  For the full article, click here…