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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

Duffy Law

Female Professors Can Also Face Accusations of Title IX Violations

When many people think of Title IX complaints, they likely think of accusations against a male college student, coach, or professor for harassing, assaulting, or otherwise discriminating against female students. However, the law protects students of all genders from misconduct by others of all genders. Forms of alleged discrimination can occur between members of the same gender, as well as by a female against a male complainant.

A recently publicized Title IX case arose from New York University (NYU), involving a complaint at NYU brought by a male graduate student against his female adviser, both of whom are reportedly gay. According to reports, the student and his advisor shared highly affectionate emails and communications throughout their professor-student relationship. The professor claims the communications were never sexual and the student reciprocated, never complaining that he thought anything was inappropriate. After graduating, the student claimed he never wanted to communicate in this manner but felt he had no choice if he wanted to benefit from working with an esteemed academic in his field of study.

Despite the differing accounts of the nature of the relationship, the Title IX investigators at NYU determined that the professor sexually harassed the student and issued a one-year suspension without pay. She can only meet with advisees while supervised. This case is a good indication that Title IX issues and complaints can arise in any type of educational relationship, despite gender or sexual orientation.

Male Students Should Not Hesitate to Come Forward

Some male students may believe they have an uphill battle when bringing such Title IX complaints. However, male students should feel free to stand up for their rights against harassment, assault, and discrimination, just like female students. It can significantly help to have the guidance of experienced legal counsel who fully understands your rights under Title IX.

At Duffy Law, we know that each Title IX complaint stems from a unique set of circumstances. The law protects all students and employees of federally-funded institutions, whether they are male or female, and despite sexual orientation or gender identity. The law gives rights to both the complainant and the accused, aiming to ensure proper safety precautions and due process. No matter what side of a Title IX case you may be on, you should always discuss the process with an attorney, as these cases are almost always complicated and emotionally-charged.

Contact Our National Title IX Attorneys to Discuss a Possible Case

Title IX is a complex law, and many people—even school administrators and Title IX coordinators—do not fully understand the rights and obligations set out in the law. If you believe you have a Title IX complaint, are the subject of Title IX allegations, or believe a school violated your rights in any way, you should not wait to call Duffy Law. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling this type of case, and we can advise you of your rights and options. Call (203) 946-2000 or contact us online to see how we may help you in your situation.

Felice Duffy

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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.