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 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.

College Junior

“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, Ohio

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Schools Where We've Handled Cases

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

  • Amherst College
  • Arkansas State University
  • Belmont Abbey College
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Charter Oak State College
  • Colgate University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Columbia University
  • Connecticut College
  • Creighton Law School
  • Dartmouth College
  • Fairfield University
  • Flagler College
  • Florida State University
  • Furman University
  • Guilford College
  • Howard University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University
  • Lesley University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Marist College
  • Marquette University
  • Miami University
  • Mississippi University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Plymouth State University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • South Carolina State University
  • St. John's University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Syracuse University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tallahassee Comm. College
  • Touro University
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Lynchburg
  • University of Maryland
  • 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
  • University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
  • Utah University School of Medicine
  • Vassar College
  • Virginia Wesleyan University
  • Washington University, St. Louis
  • Wesleyan University
  • Westfield State University
  • Western Washington University
  • Wheaton College
  • William Smith College
  • Yale 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 New Haven 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 in Connecticut and throughout the country.

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