Is Your College Treating its Female Athletes Equitably?
- Case Results
- List of Schools
Here are some representative results we’ve achieved for our clients.
Female complainant’s rights, health, and safety protected throughout lengthy proceedings
Our client was sexually assaulted by a male student acquaintance. We became involved to support our client in getting proper medical treatment, preserving and collecting evidence and witness testimony, and securing therapeutic support. We helped her understand and navigate the many complex options available to her, including a criminal complaint, an informal complaint process, a formal complaint process, or doing nothing. We guided her through the informal process and then the formal process, including interviews with various school and law enforcement officials, and worked closely with the school to put in place appropriate accommodations ensuring that all interviews and hearings did not retraumatize her. The male student was found responsible and was expelled.
Large private university
Witness to sexual violence protected from intimidation
We represented a female witness to a dating violence case on campus who was being pressured to speak with the police and the school investigators about a violent matter she had witnessed on her dorm floor. We immediately communicated on her behalf to the local police, school administrators, and the Title IX investigators to protect her right to choose to not testify and ensure her safety on campus. She was very relieved not to be pressured by the school, the title IX office or the police to attend the hearing and testify about fellow students.
Small private college
Investigation of sexual assault complaint concludes with no charges filed
Our client contacted us immediately upon receiving notice by his school that a claim of sexual assault was made against him by a female student. We assisted him in preparing his detailed answer to the complaint, and then prepared him and accompanied him to his interview with the campus safety police officers. We worked with the school Title IX administrators and helped our client find evidence to show inconsistencies with the complaint. The complainant withdrew her complaint when presented with these inconsistencies and then recanted. The investigation ended and our client was not charged with anything.
Midsized private collegeSee More Case Results
I was introduced to Attorney Duffy by my criminal defense attorney because I was fighting both a criminal charge and a conduct code violations charge. Felice's office responded right away and she and I met by Zoom video. She and her team were respectful, professional and super knowledgeable. They made everything clear and easily understandable. They knew exactly what questions to ask the school officials to get them to focus on the facts that supported my case. I was incredibly well prepared. I knew what I was going to say before I went in to my interviews and how to react to the many questions that would have tripped me up. I got probation, which was definitely the best possible outcome and I couldn’t have gotten that without Attorney Duffy’s help.
“When your kid is accused of a serious conduct code violation at his college, you quickly learn that there’s a whole different set of rules in place than in the real world. There are no legal standards, no assurances of a “fair trial.” You're presumed guilty and you have to backtrack and prove why you’re NOT guilty. We pretty quickly realized that we needed strong legal representation and guidance. Our son was completely falsely accused and we were ready to dig in to clear his name.
Felice's truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. She made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). She worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right person in his corner to defend him. Felice gave our whole family a sense a calm and confidence.
Thanks to incredibly hard work by Felice and her team, our son was found “not responsible” (meaning innocent of any wrongdoing). The outcome was everything we could have hoped for.
I have already recommended Felice to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend her to any student or parent without reservation.”
Parent of a private college senior
“I selected the firm after doing extensive research trying to locate an attorney that specializes in sexual assault cases on university campuses. Late one night I emailed her for a consult just to see what she had to say. By 6:30am the next morning she had already emailed me back leaving her information for me to call her. I was impressed by her promptness and early morning response. Our criminal attorney informed our family that this simply wasn’t his specialty and strongly recommended we hire someone who really understood how university disciplinary systems work.
In our culture, we are not often trusting and it took a huge step of faith to consider someone we didn’t know (much less one from out of state) to defend our son.
Based on her collegiate athletic background I felt that she would have a better understanding of our case as our son is a D1 athlete. Based on that and her professional accomplishments I felt like she was driven and determined and she clearly had the ability to understand the laws associated with Title IX.
Bottom line is that our son was found 100% not responsible (meaning not guilty) of the extremely serious charges that were brought against him by a female student.
Felice Duffy and her team were professional, focused, responsive and did a great job throughout the entire stressful ordeal. When we think about how badly and unfairly our son might have been treated by the school, we truly count our blessings that we found Ms. Duffy.”
Parent of a College Sophomore, OhioSee More Client Testimonials
Colleges We Serve
Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:
- Amherst College
- Arkansas State University
- Bowling Green State University
- Charter Oak State College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Dartmouth College
- Fairfield University
- Flagler College
- Florida State University
- Guilford College
- Howard University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Indiana University
- Lesley University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Mississippi University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Plymouth State University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Sacred Heart University
- South Carolina State University
- St. John's University
- St. Lawrence University
- Syracuse University
- Tallahassee Comm. College
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of Connecticut
- University of Kansas
- University of Mass. Med. School
- University of Miami
- University of Missouri
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Texas
- University of Virginia
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- Utah University School of Medicine
- Virginia Wesleyan University
- Washington University at St. Louis
- Wesleyan University
- Westfield State University
- Wheaton College
- Yale University
Through Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, federal law mandates that “equal opportunity” be afforded to men and women in all education programs and activities – including athletics – if the school receives any federal funding. Sounds good, right? But what does “equal” mean? And how close are we in American higher education to meeting that goal? And at a practical level, how can you tell if your school is complying with the law?
While far more women are participating in college athletics now than in 1972, we still have quite a way to go before the opportunities provided to women are actually proportional to their population on college campuses (which is one of the standards set by the law to determine equal opportunity). So how are we doing overall – and how is your school doing?
The most current figures available from the National Center on Education Statistics show that as of 2013, women comprise 56% of American undergraduates. Yet, they represent only 43% of college athletes. And while expenditure differences alone do not necessarily mean a school is out of compliance, it’s interesting to note that as of 2012, Division I Football Schools typically spent around 28% of their total athletic dollars on women athletes. Approximately 31% of recruiting dollars went to women’s programs. And only 42% of athletic scholarship dollars went to women.
As set forth by The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Title IX’s implementing regulations list 10 factors that colleges and universities must take into account to determine whether they are providing “equal opportunity” in both men’s and women’s athletic programs.
- Whether athletic interests and abilities are equally accommodated
- Whether equipment and supplies are equally available
- The scheduling of games and practice times
- Allowances for athletics-related travel and per diem expenses
- Provision of equal opportunities for coaching and academic tutoring
- The assignment and compensation of coaches and tutors
- Provision of locker rooms and practice facilities
- Availability of medical and training facilities and services
- Availability of housing and dining services
- Publicity given to programs and teams
To be sure, Title IX is complex in its application. Indeed, it can be hard to determine if your school is treating its women athletes fairly under the law. For example, while it may, on its face, appear that schools have the number of sports opportunities for females proportional to their enrollment, some of the sports may not qualify as varsity level teams even if they are called “varsity”; and some of the opportunities for females may be double-counted – for example, when a school claims an activity is two programs when it is really one (such as cross-country and track where the same athletes participate in both programs).
As with any federal (or for that matter state or local) law, the details are what matters. It takes a “close reading” of the statute and regulatory language – in conjunction with the specific facts and data of your school’s circumstances – to know whether there are grounds to bring a complaint (either informally or through legal action) against your school.
If you suspect your school is out of compliance, I can help. As an undergraduate at UCONN in 1977, I brought action against the school under the then-still-new Title IX law to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer team. I helped build the team, became its captain, was named a first-team All-American, and was selected to be on the first U.S. National Team. I then went on to serve as the head coach of the Yale women’s soccer team for ten years before going to law school and eventually becoming a federal prosecutor. Now in private practice, I devote half of my time to Title IX law and the many ways it plays out on college campuses across the country.
How Can We Help?