Dean of Harvard Faculty ‘Concerned’ About Proposed Federal Changes to Title IX

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, title IX

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay said in an interview Wednesday that she is currently reviewing proposed changes to federal Title IX policy and would be “concerned” about any alterations that make it more difficult for people who have experienced sexual misconduct to report it.


The proposed regulations — released last month alongside a statement from U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — provide a new framework for interpreting Title IX, an anti-sex discrimination law that shapes the way universities address sexual harassment.

Under the new proposed rules — which could take effect in 2019 following a notice-and-comment period — universities would choose what standard of evidence to apply to cases of sexual misconduct, complainants and respondents of formal investigations would have the opportunity to question each other in a live hearing, and complaints of misconduct could not center on incidents that take place outside the bounds of a school “program or activity.”  To read the full article, click here…


Illinois federal court rules—again—that “a school policy that subjects a transgender student to different rules, sanctions, and treatment than non-transgender students violates Title IX”

title IX


Student who reported a rape to WashU is still waiting for answers


ST. LOUIS • It’s been more than 130 days since soon-to-be sophomore Katy Hutson reported to Washington University that she was raped.

She’s still waiting for the school to produce even a precursory report of the incident, let alone a conclusion about her allegations.  See full report here.


IU settles lawsuit over Title IX violations


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University Bloomington has settled a lawsuit with a battery victim who alleged the university fostered an environment of dangerous activity.  Jane Doe filed the federal lawsuit in June 2016, accusing IU and the Delta Tau Delta fraternity of ignoring then-student John Enochs’ history of sexual assault.

As part of a plea agreement in the criminal case, Enochs pleaded guilty to battery in exchange for prosecutors dropping two counts of rape against him.  IU Bloomington released a statement Tuesday on the settlement with Jane Doe.

“While Indiana University is bound by the confidential provisions of the settlement, the university remains strongly committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all members of its community and continues to believe its Sexual Misconduct Policy provides a fair, impartial and robust investigation and adjudication process…”


Jane Doe’s attorney Jeff Herman also released a statement on the former student’s behalf.  “My client is pleased to resolve the matter with IU,” said Herman. “She looks forward to her day in court and holding the Delta Tau Delta fraternity accountable.”  

Doe filed a civil suit against Indiana University Bloomington officials and administrators saying they condoned Delta Tau Delta fostering an environment of dangerous activity, ignored Enochs’ history of sexual assault and failed to put in place measures to protect a ‘foreseeable’ sexual assault at Delta Tau Delta social event at the fraternity house.  Jane Doe’s lawsuit against Delta Tau Delta is still pending.

“The National Fraternity will soon be filing a Motion To Dismiss, as it had no knowledge of and nothing to do with the event and certainly had no expectation that a former member might be accused of sexual assault,” said Jim Ewbank, attorney for Delta Tau Delta. “Indiana state courts have routinely thrown out similar cases against the National organization and we will ask this judge to do the same.”

Enochs was initially charged with raping two separate women while at IU, one in October 2013 and another in April 2015.  The federal complaint filed by Jane Doe alleges a Title IX violation based on an April 2015 incident with Enochs.  Previously, Enochs had also been accused of sexual assault by another female student in October 2013.  He was charged with two counts of rape in September 2015 based upon the two incidents.  Indiana University Bloomington expelled Enochs on July 10, 2015, according to the court filing in the Jane Doe lawsuit.

Feds find CCSD violated Title IX in case of special education student


The Clark County School District (Nevada) violated Title IX, the federal law that protects students from sexual harassment and guarantees gender equity, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights concluded in December.  The violation stems from the system’s handling of a 2011 complaint from a special education student who claimed he was harassed by a teacher and peers and then suffered retaliation once his parents complained.  The U.S. Department of Education identified additional problems with the school district’s Title IX compliance — and the system never publicly disclosed the violation.

The district failed to respond promptly and equitably to the student’s complaints and never took steps to address harassment from peers that staff knew about, according to the Office for Civil Rights investigation.  “The delay of approximately 45 days between the time the accused received written notice and the alleged victim received verbal notice was nor prompt or equitable,” the report states.  But the office also found inconsistencies with the district’s policies regarding Title IX, noting that the district did not have a clearly designated Title IX coordinator to handle such complaints until the spring of 2016.


The district also had an unclear procedure for the public to file such complaints, with at least two grievance procedures and at least three different regulations that address harassment complaints, the investigation found.  “Finally, these regulations, when taken together, create an ambiguity regarding where a student or parent who wishes to file a complaint regarding harassment should go,” the report states.  The district agreed to a resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights, which required the system’s administration to fix a number of issues by January and March.  The agreement was bundled into the consent agenda of the School Board’s Dec. 8, 2016, meeting, but was labeled confidential and did not disclose any details to the public.

Trustee Carolyn Edwards said complaints against the district are not usually made public or discussed at a meeting.  Edwards said the district tries to follow all laws and do everything according to protocol.  “We’re a large district,” Edwards said. “Sometimes individuals make mistakes and we have to correct them.”

Under the agreement, the district must revise its grievance procedures and its notice of non-discrimination.  The district also must provide Title IX training for employees at the complainant’s school — which is not identified. Students at the school must receive instruction on harassment and how to report it.  John Clune, a Colorado attorney who specializes in Title IX cases, said the investigation’s length was unusually long.  “The length of the investigation has more to do with the speed of (Office for Civil Rights) rather than the school, and there is no consequence for anyone for the length,” he said.

Trump singles out historically black college funds in signing statement



The White House pushed back Sunday on questions about a signing statement President Donald Trump added to the latest government spending bill Friday that said his administration would treat minority spending programs — including one to help historically black colleges pay for construction — in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

The signing statement “simply indicates that the President will interpret those provisions consistent with the Constitution” and is not dissimilar to signing statements issued by past presidents, a White House official said Sunday.  “The important thing to realize is: The President was able to secure big wins for his top priorities in this spending bill, including more than $25 billion in additional funding for the military, $1.52 billion for border security, a permanent extension of health coverage for retired miners, and a three-year extension of the DC school choice program,” the official said.


Trump signed the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill Friday, adding the statement: “My administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender … in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.”  Those programs included historically black college financing, Native American housing block grants and minority business development, the statement said.  Such statements are often used to flag provisions an administration might disregard.  The aim of the Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program is provide low-cost capital to finance improvements to the infrastructure of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities, including for the repair or construction of classrooms, libraries, dormitories and the like, according to the Department of Education.

Federal civil rights agency, investigating Title IX compliance, requests 40-plus years of UND documents


The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has requested that UND submit numerous documents by May 12—some dating back to 1972—as part of its investigation into UND’s Title IX compliance.

The OCR numbered 18 specific requests in a letter to UND President Mark Kennedy, which was obtained by the Herald, giving a window into the type of information the OCR will examine and into the depth of the investigation.
The OCR also said in the letter, which UND received on April 20, that it will be making at least one on-site visit as part of the investigation. Typically, the OCR does thorough evaluations of facilities while on campus.
There’s no indication yet on how long the process will last.

The OCR declined to release the initial complaint that led to the investigation via an open record request, because it is not required to release documents during the case investigation or enforcement process.
It did confirm that the complaint alleges that UND discriminates against female students on the basis of sex.
The investigation was officially launched on April 14—a little more than two weeks after UND announced that it was cutting its women’s hockey and men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.
UND made the cuts as part of a campus-wide financial restructuring in anticipation of a dip in state funds.
Kennedy asked the athletic department to cut $1.3 million out of its annual budget. The budgets of women’s hockey and men’s and women’s swimming and diving total roughly $2.9 million, but some of the money and scholarships from those sports will be reallocated into other sports.

The year 1972 frequently pops up in the OCR’s request for information because that’s when Title IX went into effect.
The 18 items requested by the OCR include:
1. A list of all teams, the league and division they play in, the number of athletes on each roster and the year of their eligibility.

2. The university’s enrollment of full-time undergraduate students by gender.

3. A copy of any athletic gender equity studies conducted since 1972, a copy of all reports prepared since 1972 that discuss actual or possible growth and/or contraction of men’s or women’s teams or contemplated changes in division or conference affiliation for any sport.

4. A copy of all Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act reports submitted by the school.

5. The start date of the each athletics team and why the university added each sport.

6. An explanation of why and when any athletics team has been eliminated since 1972, including the number of athletes on each eliminated team.

7. A copy of all written requests and a summary of all verbal requests, since 1972, by any individual or group to expand new sports teams, and a description of the university’s response.

8. A copy of all surveys conducted in the last three years gauging the interest level of students’ or incoming students’ interests and abilities.

9. A copy of any reports, assessments or findings prepared by or for the University in the last three years regarding the school’s Title IX compliance with respect to participation opportunities.

10. A copy of results of any research conducted in the last three years to determine regional or national interest about sports not currently offered at the school.

11. A copy of any historical sport-by-sport participating data maintained by the school.

12. A description of all changes to the athletics department, either anticipated or implemented for 2016-17 and future years, including the dropping of more teams.

13. If available, copies of written policies, procedures and criteria—or if unavailable, descriptions of the school’s process for determining whether sports teams will be added or eliminated.

14. A current list of all club and intramural sports and the number of participants by gender, a list of which of those teams have asked for elevation to varsity status in the last five years and copies of all records pertaining to the requests and responses.

15. The game and practice schedule of all teams for 2016-17, including the start date for the first practice, whether there are organized practices scheduled outside the regular season.

16. A full list and schedule of postseason competition during 2016-17—and a list of teams, by gender, that had opportunities for postseason competition but did not compete.

17. A list of all teams, by gender, that competed or will compete in exhibition or scrimmage games in 2016-17, the schedule of competition and those teams, by gender, that had opportunities but didn’t compete.