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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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Title IX and Minority Rights

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, students and employees of colleges and universities are protected against discrimination on the basis of sex. Under Title IX, those protections extend to educational programs and activities, including campus athletics, Greek organizations, and other university clubs. Any college or university that receives federal funding, unless it is specifically exempt from Title IX, must comply with its requirements. Accordingly, schools are required to have a Title IX policy, and to conduct and complete Title IX investigations promptly when a person has filed a complaint. Title IX is designed to provide protections from sex discrimination, which can include sexual harassment and sexual assault, as well as from retaliation when a person exercises their rights under Title IX.

Individuals have brought claims under Title IX that contend that Title IX policies ultimately discriminate on the basis of race and that there is a disparate impact on minority communities.

Title IX and Disparate Impact on Minority Communities

Does Title IX have a disparate impact on minority communities? According to an article in the Nevada Law Journal, “increasingly muscular Title IX enforcement—launched with the best of intentions in response to real problems—almost certainly exacerbates yet another systemic barrier to racial justice and equal access to educational opportunities.” This article links the disparate impact of Title IX enforcement on Black Americans to a much longer history of disparate treatment of Black students across the K-12 and university system. What policies and practices does this article speak to?

Commentators argue that Title IX guidelines, along with other issues of discrimination on the basis of race, have more significantly harmed minority communities. More specifically, more Black students at colleges and universities have disproportionately faced allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct under Title IX.

For example, in an article in The Atlantic, Emily Yoffe explains that statistics concerning race and Title IX complaints have not been clearly tracked, but there is much anecdotal evidence to support the idea that more Black men on college campus face Title IX allegations than other students. This is happening even while Black men make up a much smaller percentage of the student body. Yoffe cites a Harvard Law Review article from 2015 in which Janet Halley, a Harvard Law School professor, explains how “case after Harvard case that has come to my attention, including several in which I have played some advocacy or adjudication role, has involved black male respondents.”

Protections and Rights for Members of Minority Communities

If racism and racial biases, whether explicit or implicit, do play a role in Title IX allegations and/or Title IX complaints, then students facing sexual misconduct allegations as a result of discrimination on the basis of race must have protections. Title IX does not provide any specific protections for those accused who may be victims themselves of discrimination.

Yoffe explains that a number of students who have been in such a position have filed civil lawsuits against their colleges or universities, alleging that discrimination on the basis of race played a role in their Title IX case. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protections to students against discrimination on the basis of race. Under Title IV, all public education institutions, including public colleges and universities, are prohibited from discriminating against a student on the basis of race. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in any programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, which includes nearly all colleges and universities in the country.

Contact a Title IX Attorney to Seek Representation in Your Case

At Duffy Law, our Title IX attorneys have experience representing students, faculty, staff, and other employees in cases pertaining to discrimination on the basis of sex. We regularly advise clients on matters pertaining to Title IX violations and sexual misconduct allegations, and we are prepared to answer questions you have about Title IX and any disparate impact on minority communities. It is important to understand the protections that may be available to students and faculty of color on college and university campuses. One of our Title IX attorneys can speak with you about those possibilities. While we are located in New Haven, Connecticut, we provide representation to clients throughout the U.S. concerning Title IX cases. Contact Duffy Law to learn more about how our attorneys can help with your case.

Christine Brown

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Attorney At Duffy Law

Christine Brown has a comprehensive understanding of Title IX and how it impacts students, faculty, and staff on college campuses. Before joining Duffy in January of 2020, Christine held the dual roles of Director of Legal Services and Title IX Coordinator at Fairfield University, where she was responsible for developing the school’s Title IX policies and due process procedures. She presided over hundreds of university matters including dozens of Title IX hearings and conduct code violation claims ranging from sexual assault to hazing to racial bias.