Title IX Issues for Resident Assistants

Felice and Cristine standing in suits

Experienced Title IX RA Lawyers

  • 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

See More Client Testimonials

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 foundational civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment at schools, educational institutions, programs, and activities that receive federal financial assistance. When a school receives even a penny of federal funding, it is regulated by Title IX. For many different reasons, resident assistants (RAs) are on the front lines of Title IX compliance.

In the modern world, RAs have a challenging, complicated job. If you are serving as a resident assistant, it is crucial that you understand your responsibilities and rights under Title IX. In this article, our highly experienced Connecticut Title IX lawyers provide an overview of the most important things that RAs need to know about federal law.

What is a Resident Assistant (RA)?

Common across colleges and universities in Connecticut and throughout the United States, a resident assistant (RA) is a trained peer leader who helps to coordinate and organize activities among students within a shared residential facility. While RAs are referred to by a wide range of different names, resident advisor, community assistant, peer mentor, their responsibilities are broadly similar.

Beyond the specific duties assigned by their school, RAs are covered by Title IX. Over the last few years, RAs have become important players in the enforcement of Title IX regulations. For a young person who already has to balance many other priorities, this can be quite a burden. It is one that you need to be prepared to take on.

You are Entitled to Proper Title IX Training

All educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance have a basic duty to provide their resident assistants with the proper training. Handling Title IX-related complaints, including but not limited to sexual harassment, stalking, sexual assault, and dating or domestic violence, is immensely complicated. If you are currently serving as an RA and you believe that you did not receive adequate training, you should consider reaching out to the Title IX office at your school.

RAs are Mandatory Reporters Under Title IX

During your RA training, an instructor should advise you of your duties as a mandatory reporter (also known as ‘Responsible Employee’) under Title IX. As explained by the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), a mandatory reporter is required to take action whenever a violation arises.

By law, mandatory reporters are individuals who have a duty to disclose their knowledge of sex discrimination or sexual harassment/dating violence as soon as they become aware of it. Virtually all university personnel are mandatory reporters, including administrators, coaches, professors and teaching assistants. Exceptions are made for mental health counselors, lawyers, and other professionals bound by oaths of confidentiality.

Note: As a mandatory reporter, you must report all Title IX violations to the college or university immediately. In doing so, please use the appropriate protocols established by your institution. To be clear, you are required to submit reports for violations that you personally witnessed, for conduct that was reported to you by another party or for any conduct which may be a possible violation of Title IX of which you may become aware.

RAs Cannot Guarantee Confidentiality to the Victim

Fundamentally, an RA is a peer to the other young people in their dorm or facility. Many students put a great deal of trust in their RA. For understandable reasons they feel more comfortable talking with an authority figure that they can better relate to and rely on.

It may be your natural impulse to want to give your peers the opportunity to share sensitive information with you. Title IX puts some major limits on the information you can hold in confidence. Please know you are legally required to report all Title IX obligations even if the victims would rather the information not be reported. In fact, this is one of the most important things that RAs need to know about Title IX: You cannot guarantee confidentiality to the victim. Never promise or imply confidentiality. It is important to make this clear before the victim shares any information with you.

Mandatory Reporters Can Still Be Discreet

Reporting an issue to officials is not the same thing as broadcasting information to other students or community members. While RAs are legally required to report all Title IX violations to the college or university, they can still help to keep information relatively private.

An RA should certainly avoid loudly or recklessly sharing the sensitive information disclosed by a sexual harassment or sexual assault survivor. That would be an enormous error in judgment and a breach of trust. RAs can take proactive measures to handle complaints as discreetly as possible. Still, there can be no promises of full confidentiality because RAs are mandatory reporters under Title IX.

You Have the Right to Seek Professional Guidance

Navigating the Title IX complaint process can be complicated, especially for RAs who may be put in a difficult position. Indeed, in some cases, RAs find themselves feeling caught in the middle of a serious sexual harassment or dating violence complaint that they themselves did not actually witness.

Professional legal guidance is available. If you are an RA and you have questions about your duties or your rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, or if you need guidance with a specific case, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced attorney. A lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and help you understand your options.

Consult with Our New Haven, CT Title IX Lawyers Today

At Duffy Law, our highly knowledgeable Title IX and Conduct Code attorneys have experience advising and representing students, faculty, and schools across a wide range of matters. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights or obligations under federal law, we are here to help. For your confidential, no commitment initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team today. With an office location in New Haven, we handle Title IX cases in Connecticut and nationwide

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