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Title IX Considerations for Parents

Felice and Cristine standing in suits

What Should Parents Know About Their Child’s Title IX Case?

  • Case Results
  • Testimonials
  • List of Schools

Case Results

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 college

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Client Testimonials

"I am writing to let any college student who gets accused of something serious by their school know that they need a lawyer like Felice Duffy to defend them.  I was accused of something terrible by a student that I would never do and didn’t do.  Even though I knew exactly what actually happened, I was very scared that my university might not find me innocent. It was terrifying to think that I might lose my full basketball scholarship or could have been suspended or expelled and that me and my family’s name could have gotten a horrible reputation.

I can’t even put into words how I excited I was when I got the letter from the school that cleared me completely of the charges against me and I have Felice to thank for that 100%. Since I’m not in Connecticut, Felice and her investigator used video conferencing to interview me and my witnesses, talk with my parents, and get me fully prepared for every meeting I had with my school.  They got all my texts and email that proved my innocence and organized them perfectly for the Dean and the discipline committee.

Felice was always very direct and respectful even though the subject matter was very personal, and she was always ahead of the school in terms of getting me and them important information at every step.  It was like having the best scouting report ever." Felice obviously knows her stuff but she also deeply cares.  You can tell that she loves the work she’s doing to help college kids in really difficult situations."

College Sophomre, Colorado

“I hired Duffy Law in the middle of a Title IX sexual assault proceeding. While I had initially retained another attorney on a recommendation, it turns out they did not have much insight to the inner workings of university policy, which I learned is NOT required to follow the basic laws of due process. Felice was absolutely incredible, and as an athlete, she understood my thought process and feelings the entire way. This is what stood out the most to me. At the beginning of my school’s adjudication process, I was an absolute mess. Not only is Felice extremely knowledgeable in law and how school adjudication processes work, but she also really does care about her clients and their well-being.

It was initially extremely tough for me to speak about what I was facing. Felice was able to assist me not only in compiling the proper evidence and responding to the school, but also put me in the right state of mind to defend myself and move on with my life after it was all completed. Prior to hiring Duffy Law, I was concerned that I would be relegated to working with a legal assistant or secretary being that my case was in a college setting as opposed to a state court. However, Felice always found a way to make time and was there every step of the way.

I feel like an important part of hiring an attorney is being able to trust them to fight for you no matter what the scenario may be and you can rest assured you will be getting that with Duffy Law. I would recommend Felice Duffy of Duffy Law 10 times out of 10 to anyone that may be put in a tough situation like I was”

Female College Freshman, Massachusetts

“The claims leveled against me were terrible, but the wonderful news is that I was fully cleared of all the allegations because of the outstanding work Christine Brown and the team at Duffy Law did on my behalf. The first thing that really impressed me was that from the very first call Christine quickly understood what was going on and was able to read between the lines to understand the complicated dynamics of the situation. Despite my entire career being spent in academia, I didn't know much about Title IX procedures. Her expertise and knowledge of the process was immediately apparent and critically helpful in guiding me and giving me as much peace of mind as possible..

Christine knew how to spot the important subtext throughout the process and made sure I understood the strategic options I had at every stage going forward. I felt very confident in the decisions we made together. I felt vindicated by the decision and that this situation will have no further effects on my career. I am very grateful to Christine and Duffy Law for guiding me through this stressful process and recommend them without reservation to any faculty member facing a similarly challenging situation. ”

Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at a midwest university

“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.

Duffy Law’s truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. They made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). They worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right people in his corner to defend him. They 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 Duffy Law to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend them to any student or parent without reservation.”

Parent of a male southwest private college senior

See All Client Testimonials

Schools Where We've Handled Cases

Here are some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:

  • Amherst College
  • Arkansas State University
  • Bard College
  • Bates College
  • Belmont Abbey College
  • Black Hills State University
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Brandeis University
  • Brown University
  • Cal State Polytechnic University
  • Campbell University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Charter Oak State College
  • Colgate University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Colorado State University
  • Columbia University
  • Connecticut College
  • Creighton Law School
  • Dartmouth College
  • Dartmouth Medical School
  • Elim Bible Institute and College
  • Emmanuel College
  • Fairfield University
  • Flagler College
  • Florida State University
  • Fordham University
  • Furman University
  • George Fox University
  • Guilford College
  • Howard University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • LaSalle University
  • Lesley University
  • Long Island University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Marist College
  • Marquette University
  • Miami University
  • Michigan State University
  • Mississippi University
  • Mount St. Mary's University
  • New College of Florida
  • Nichols College
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Pittsburgh State University
  • Plymouth State University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • South Carolina State University
  • Southern Connecticut State University
  • St. John's University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Syracuse University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tallahassee Comm. College
  • Texas A&M Univiersity
  • Touro University
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Buffalo
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Hartford
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Lynchburg
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Mass. Med. School
  • University of Miami
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of New Haven
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Pittsburg
  • University of Redlands California
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of Texas Austin
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
  • University of Wyoming
  • Utah University School of Medicine
  • Vance-Granville Community College
  • Vassar College
  • Virginia Wesleyan University
  • Washington University, St. Louis
  • Wesleyan University
  • Westfield State University
  • Western Connecticut State University
  • Western Washington University
  • Wheaton College
  • William Smith College
  • Yale University
  • Youngstown State University

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in educational programs and activities, including sports, Greek organizations, and extracurricular clubs. Specifically, Title IX says: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Parents can often feel detached from their child’s college or university education, especially when the child has traveled a great distance to attend a particular institution. Many parents are also unfamiliar with Title IX and how it applies to their child as a college student. Accordingly, when parents learn that their child is involved in a Title IX investigation as a complainant or a respondent, they are often alarmed and in need of guidance as to how to help support their child. Parents often want to be involved in the process. However, depending upon the state law where the child’s school is located, the specific Title IX policy at that institution, and the individual desires of their child, a parent’s role in the process may be limited. Our national Title IX attorneys will provide you with more information that is relevant to parents whose children are involved in a Title IX investigation at a college or university.

Parental Role in the Title IX Process

Each college or university will have its own policy concerning Title IX investigations and how outside parties can be involved. Generally speaking, many Title IX policies will include the following types of provisions:

  • College level Title IX offices will not contact parents of any involved parties in the Title IX investigation
  • College or university has a duty to the student and not to the parent, which means that the Title IX office is not obligated to report to the parents of the children involved in the Title IX complaint, and are in fact prevented from doing so
  • If a parent contacts the Title IX office, the Title IX coordinator will not speak to the parent without obtaining express permission from the student (the parent’s child) involved in the process;
  • Parents cannot access their child’s educational records under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) if the child is aged 18 or over unless the child gives permission
  • If a student gives permission for the Title IX office to discuss the proceedings with his or her parent, the Title IX office then will speak with the parent about the Title IX complaint after the parent has signed a University FERPA release form
  • A parent may serve as the student’s sole “advisor” during a Title IX hearing, but if a parent serves in this role, the child cannot also have an attorney present.

Most colleges and universities allow parties in a Title IX hearing to have a single advisor, who can be an attorney, a faculty member, an employee of the institution, a parent, or another trusted party. However, the student cannot typically have both an attorney and a parent present. It is important to learn more about the specific Title IX policy at your child’s institution when you make determinations about how to proceed.

Title IX Process: Disciplinary vs. Criminal Proceedings

Parents often are concerned about the interrelation between a college or university’s Title IX proceeding and criminal proceedings. It is important to understand that the Title IX process is entirely separate from any type of criminal case. A student or university employee can file a Title IX complaint without ever making a report to the police, and a student or university employee can face Title IX allegations, and even can be found responsible for a Title IX violation, without ever facing criminal consequences. While a student or university employee who is found responsible from a Title IX violation can face penalties outlined by the college or university, those penalties are not tied to any type of criminal penalties.

At the same time, however, parents are frequently concerned about their child’s educational record, and whether Title IX allegations and any related findings of responsibility will have serious consequences for the student later in life. Generally speaking, the outcome of a Title IX investigation is not public. Although the Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides information about sexual misconduct cases under Title IX, that information is general and does not provide specific information about a particular case or the people involved in the case. However, if a lawsuit is filed later in relation to the Title IX case, that information may be public.

This, however, does not prevent the institution from including a finding of responsibility on a students’ record. This finding can include a notation on the transcript which will follow the individual forever. Students typically need to disclose disciplinary findings to transfer or apply to any other educational institution, including graduate programs, and schools are permitted to share this information with the requesting school.  Many certifications and licensing boards as well as certain employers require this information.   This emphasizes the importance of involving an attorney early on in the case so that every effort can be made to try to maintain a clean record.

How Our Title IX Lawyers Can Help with Your Child’s Case

Our highly experienced Title IX attorneys can help you to navigate the complicated Title IX process, and we can advise you about your child’s rights and protections under federal law. Given that many students live on-campus or near the college or university, parents tend to play less of a day-to-day role in the lives of their children once they leave for college. Of course, some students live at home and commute to classes at their college or university, but a significant number of students are living away from their parents while working toward a college degree. As such, information about a Title IX process can be difficult to process. Our Title IX attorneys are based in Connecticut but provide representation to students across the country. The following are some of the ways in which our team can help your child through the Title IX process:

  • Assess your child’s case and discuss possible outcomes of the Title IX process
  • Answer your questions about the Title IX process and the role parents can play
  • Investigate the Title IX allegations—either those made by or against your child
  • Gather evidence related to your child’s Title IX case
  • Serve as your child’s advisor in a Title IX hearing
  • Discuss options for protecting your child’s rights, including the possibility of an appeal if necessary

Contact Our Experienced Title IX Attorneys for More Information About How We Can Assist You

At Duffy Law, we know it can be extremely difficult for parents to learn that their child is involved in a Title IX investigation at his or her college or university. While Title IX protections have been in effect since 1972, schools did not have the same robust Title IX policies then that they do now. As such, many parents have questions and concerns about the Title IX process more generally, and they want information about how they can be involved in their child’s case. Our highly experienced Title IX and Conduct Code lawyers can discuss options that may be available to you as a parent, and we can help you to understand the role you can play in your child’s case as federal and state law, as well as university policy, permit. Contact Duffy Law today to learn more about the Title IX services we provide to university students and staff throughout the country.

How Can We Help?

How Can We Help?