Title IX Issues for Resident AssistantsCONTACT US NOW FOR A CONSULTATION
Experienced Title IX RA Lawyers
- 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 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
“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
“I hired Felice Duffy 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, MassachusettsSee More 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
- Belmont Abbey College
- Bowling Green State University
- Brandeis University
- Brown University
- Charter Oak State College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Creighton Law School
- Dartmouth 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
- Lesley University
- Louisiana State University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Michigan State 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
- Texas A/M, College Station
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of California, Riverside
- 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 Nebraska
- 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
- Youngstown State 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 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 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 National 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