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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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Anti-Male Bias Claims Under Title IX

A former Texas A&M University male student recently filed a claim against the school alleging he suffered gender-based discrimination in violation of his rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. This is another instance of a growing trend. While Title IX has been more closely associated with claims brought by females regarding discrimination in athletics or as victims of sexual assault or harassment, it’s important to remember that Title IX protects all students at federally-funded institutions from sex discrimination and thatof courseincludes male students.

Allegations in the Lawsuit

The following is an overview of the facts alleged in the lawsuit regarding Title IX violations:

  • In 2016, a female student accused the plaintiff of sexual misconduct.
  • In the past, the female accuser was herself accused of sexual misconduct by another male student.
  • Texas A&M allowed the female accuser to remain on campus and participate in all regular activities during the investigation.
  • The plaintiff was suspended from the school for over a year during the investigation, including a dismissal from the Corps of Cadets, a prominent student military and leadership organization at Texas A&M.
  • As a result of his suspension, the plaintiff developed severe anxiety and depression, requiring him to be hospitalized and then checked into a mental health facility.
  • While the plaintiff was at the facility, the university conducted the adjudication proceedings for his sexual misconduct allegations, knowing he was not available to participate and defend himself.
  • The plaintiff was adjudicated guilty of the misconduct and expelled from the school.

The plaintiff claims that his Title IX rights were violated in a number of ways. First, he claims the school treated him differently than the female student after the accusation arose and during the investigation. Next, he claims that Texas A&M violated his rights to due process by denying him the opportunity to defend against the allegations at the adjudication proceedings. Finally, he claims that the proceedings were inherently biased in favor of the female accuser, that there was always a presumption he was guilty, that the adjudicator was prejudiced against him, and that the proper evidentiary standard required by Title IX was not applied as there was insufficient evidence upon which to determine his guilt and apply sanctions.

Whether the plaintiff in the above case will be successful remains to be seen. However, in recent years, federal appeals courts have ruled that this type of anti-male bias claim is problematic under Title IX. With so much pressure on schools to properly respond to sexual assault investigations, many accused male students claim that schools have gone too far in favor of the accuser, resulting in unfair treatment of the male student accused. Anti-male discrimination is just as unlawful under Title IX as anti-female discrimination, so a male student who experienced a biased sexual misconduct proceeding may be able to bring a lawsuit and obtain compensation or reverse a suspension or expulsion.

Consult with Our Experienced Title IX Attorneys Today

Title IX cases can be complicated. They often involve sensitive issues combined with the unique investigative and adjudicative proceedings of colleges and universities, which can differ significantly from criminal matters. Those who believe their rights have been violated should be represented by a law firm with specific knowledge and experience regarding this type of case.

The past educational and professional experience of the attorneys at Duffy Law make them especially qualified to represent clients in Title IX claims. If you want to discuss a possible case, call our Title IX lawyers at 203-946-2000 or contact us online today.

Felice Duffy

Attorney At Duffy Law

Attorney Felice Duffy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for ten years after beginning her legal career at two prestigious firms (one in CT and one in NY) and then clerking for two federal judges. A life-long Title IX advocate, she brought a legal action under the then-new Title IX statute against UCONN while an undergraduate to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer program. She went on to become a first-team Division I All-American, was selected to be on the first U.S. National Women’s Team, and spent 10 years as Head Coach of the Yale women's soccer team. Attorney Duffy has Ph.D. in Education/Sports Psychology and has spoken to, and conducted trainings for, over 50 schools and organizations on a wide range of topics involving athletics, the law, and social justice. You can reach Felice at (203) 946-2000.