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

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

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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Tonya Gentry, Esq. to join University EEO as Title IX National Training Director

University EEO, Inc. welcomes Tonya Gentry, Esq. to its Title IX Training Unit.  Tonya is a trained mediator and former attorney with the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and currently provides consulting services as the founder of Equality Experience, LLC.  In over 13 years of service with OCR, Tonya brings a wealth of knowledge in civil rights enforcement, having resolved a number of complex higher ed. cases, conducted site visits, trained senior level staffers on OCR compliance, and investigated Title IX allegations. Tonya is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, and will lead University EEO’s Title IX Training Unit nationally.

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Michigan State kept ties to coach accused of sexual abuse

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

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

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

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…   

Auburn University re-evaluating Title IX policies and procedures

Auburn University is re-evaluating its Title IX policies and procedures in the midst of a national movement combating sexual assault and misconduct.  Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct in educational institutions that receive federal financial aid. Title IX coordinators at Auburn and other schools have the responsibility to determine whether allegations may constitute prohibited sexual conduct, and appointing a team to investigate each Title IX claim.  For the full article, click here… 

The University of Michigan will now allow “alternative resolutions” to resolve certain sexual violence cases, a step some survivor advocates have opposed.

In of the first major schools to adopt the September 2017 Title IX policy changes, the University of Michigan will now allow certain cases of sexual assault to be resolved with mediation and other methods, such as sexual violence classes for accused students, a move the university believes could help victims who don’t want to pursue an arduous formal process.

Survivor advocates, however, caution that colleges often steer students toward what could be a less complicated path for the university, but one that could go against victims’ wishes.  For the full article, click here…

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