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Title IX in California

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Title IX in California

With more colleges and more students—both per capita and overall—than any other state in the country, California is often at the epicenter of education trends and a testing ground for students’ rights. The state can also have a greater concentration of campus problems, including Title IX sexual misconduct cases.

Title IX is a federal law that protects against discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, including gender identity and sexual orientation. The law gives students, faculty, and staff who have been subjected to sexual assault or other violations the ability to seek help and file a complaint for relief on campus.

As a firm focused on promoting the mission of Title IX, Duffy Law has helped individuals on campuses throughout California enforce their rights, whether they are filing a complaint or defending against an accusation of a Title IX violation. We assist students, faculty, and staff during investigations and disciplinary proceedings on campus as well as with lawsuits and appeals. Because we dedicate our practice to the protection of rights on campus, our firm offers an in-depth understanding of the issues and a knowledge of procedural effectiveness few firms anywhere in the country can match.

Title IX Sexual Misconduct

While Title IX provisions aim to protect rights on campus regarding a variety of issues affecting students, faculty, and staff, the provisions are frequently used to address situations involving allegations of sexual misconduct on campus. This includes accusations of:

  • Sexual assault or battery
  • Rape
  • Stalking
  • Sexual coercion
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Harassment

Title IX requires educational institutions to provide effective means for students to file a complaint and for the institution to carry out an investigation and adjudication process to determine whether the individual is responsible for misconduct. Schools are required to take certain actions to assist those subjected to abuse, to eliminate behaviors, and to prevent future recurrence of harm.

Moreover, if a student, faculty, or staff member acts to assert their rights under Title IX, the educational institution is not allowed to retaliate in any way. Retaliation is also a Title IX violation.

Title IX Proceedings in California

The California Education Code contains specific provisions to ensure that individuals are able to identify and contact the person designated as the Title IX coordinator at a school responsible for overseeing the handling of complaints. Provisions in the California Code also require schools to publicize the required steps to take to file a Title IX complaint both on campus and with the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education.

Resources online make it clear that Title IX rights are a priority in the state of California, yet the sheer number of students and educational programs in the state can make it difficult to ensure that students, faculty, and staff receive the protection they are entitled to under the law. For instance, after the chancellor of the California State University system was forced to resign over allegations of mishandled Title IX sexual misconduct issues, the incident triggered an extensive review of Title IX procedures within that extensive state university system.

The resulting report indicated that Title IX policies have been applied unevenly across the 23 campuses in the California State University system. Reviewers frequently found that the conclusions reached by Title IX investigators on campus were often incoherent and unreliable. The firm that conducted the external review recommended creating positions to oversee Title IX complaints throughout the university system.

When a complainant or respondent in a Title IX case believes that the school mishandled a complaint, including applying incorrect standards or faulty reasoning, then the individual often has legal grounds to appeal the campus findings in court.

Common Issues in Title IX Complaints Regarding Sexual Misconduct

Students and others on campus have a right to enjoy the opportunities offered without discrimination or harassment on the basis of their sex. Certainly, students have a right to be safe from sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct.

However, sometimes allegations of sexual misconduct are raised in situations where they are not warranted by the circumstances, such as where accusations are made for revenge. In other cases, it may be unclear whether a student consented to sexual activity, yet a campus proceeding fails to consider evidence properly before ruling on this critical issue. For many different reasons, individuals accused of sexual misconduct violations may be found responsible wrongfully.

During campus proceedings, when a respondent is represented by an experienced Title IX attorney, their legal advisor can often spot inequities or errors in the application of policy and act to address the issues before the disciplinary proceedings conclude. In other instances, a review of the record reveals errors that can be addressed on appeal.

Issues and questions that commonly arise in these cases include:

  • Did the process respect the due process rights of the respondent?
  • Do school policies comply with current Title IX guidance?
  • Did the adjudicator apply the appropriate evidentiary standard?
  • Did both parties have equal access to investigatory evidence?

Working with an experienced attorney during a Title IX proceeding gives you an advisor who can help you take informed actions and an advocate who can help you take advantage of the best opportunities to receive justice in your case.

Duffy Law Helps with Title IX Cases in California

Because Title IX is a federal law, the legal requirements are universal. However, courts often vary regarding their interpretation of Title IX in different judicial circuits.

The experienced team at Duffy Law has helped complainants and respondents in Title IX cases in six of the nine undergraduate campuses of the University of California system, as well as numerous other schools such as California State Polytechnic University, Touro University, University of Redlands, and the University of Southern California. We understand how Title IX issues play out in this unique state.

Our dedicated attorneys know how to protect your rights and help you gain the justice you deserve whether you seek to file a complaint, defend against accusations, or appeal a wrongful decision. For a confidential consultation to discuss the ways we can assist, contact us online or call 203-946-2000.

How Can We Help?

How Can We Help?