Title IX Violations
- 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
In June 1972, President Richard Nixon made Title IX the law of the land. Who knew that 37 words would have such far-reaching implications?
“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.” — Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act ( read the full text here )
The Impact of Title IX on Athletes
Almost every college and university in the country receives some federal funding. With the passing of Title IX, female athletes were able to leverage the law and convince the powers that be to begin to elevate female sports to the same level as the men’s. In 1972, there were just 30,000 women participating in NCAA sports, as opposed to 170,000 men. Today’s numbers are more than impressive. According to the NCAA, in the 2017-2018 academic year, 10,586 women’s teams compete in NCAA championship sports, compared with 9,159 men’s teams.
Although leveling the athletic playing field in terms of gender equality has continued to receive the lion’s share of media attention, in the past 46 years we have seen all of the ways in which Title IX applies to bias and discrimination. Thanks to Title IX, in most schools across the nation, we now have a mechanism for addressing sensitive issues about sexual harassment and misconduct. The protection offered by Title IX extends to both the accuser and the accused. This includes students, faculty, administrators, employees, and any other person doing business with or for the institution.
Reaching well into the community, this law prohibits gender discrimination in academic programs and activities in institutions or facilities receiving federal funds. This can include:
- Public and private elementary schools
- Middle and high schools
- State school districts
- Colleges and universities
The list of violations is extensive and ever-changing.
- Gender bias
- Sexual misconduct
- Relationship violence
- Sexual coercion
- Housing discrimination
- Gender bias in the workplace
- Sexually motivated verbal and non-verbal conduct
- Discrimination against pregnant or parenting students
Sexual assault on campus is violent, terrifying, humiliating, confusing, and a Title IX violation. Statistics reported by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) reveal only 20 percent of female student victims (age 18-24) will report the incident to the police. Some of the reasons these students have for remaining silent include:
- Fear of retaliation
- The act was too personal
- Believed it was not important enough
- Did not want to get the perpetrator in trouble
- Believed the police would not, or could not, help
In 2017, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was quoted by CNN as saying, “One rape is one too many, one assault is one too many, one aggressive act of harassment is one too many, one person denied due process is one too many.”
In 2018, a national study on sexual harassment and assault reported 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime.
Failure To Address Federal Guidelines Is A Title IX Violation
In addition to any criminal charges, Title IX requirements are very specific. Schools have a mandated responsibility to recognize instances of sexual assault and harassment, address the issues, eliminate the situation, and develop a plan to prevent further problems.
To be in compliance, every federally-funded institution must develop, keep current, and distribute a written policy concerning sex discrimination. This document must state that all questions concerning Title IX be directed to a designated Title IX coordinator.
Every school or institution must assign one or more persons as a Title IX compliance officer or coordinator, and every student and employee must be given the name of the coordinator and told how to reach them. This person is to be held responsible for overseeing all complaints of discrimination and be aware of any emerging patterns of violations.
Every school must develop, publish, and distribute procedures for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, harassment, or violence. Schools may use established disciplinary procedures to address the complaints and these procedures must provide a prompt resolution.
Know Your Rights
Under Title IX guidelines, every person with a complaint has a right:
- To present his or her case
- To expect an adequate and impartial investigation of the charges
- To present witnesses
- To present evidence
- To know how long it will take the school to investigate the charges
- For the complaint to be decided by a preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidence
- To be notified in writing as to the outcome
Sanctions against the respondent found responsible may include:
- An order to stay away from the complainant
- Transfer to a different class or residence hall
- Being prohibited from attending classes for a specified period of time
- Probation for a designated time
- Suspension from school for a designated time
The Title IX Legal Manual from The U.S. Department Of Justice is a comprehensive and complex document (see full text here) detailing all of the nuances and case laws pertaining to the statute.
Title IX Is Full of Controversy
Connecticut allows unrestricted competition for transgender athletes. Recently the Alliance Defending Freedom organization has filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of three female athletes. The basis of the claim is that allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in the girl’s division of high school sports constitutes a Title IX violation. Does allowing a biological man to compete in a women’s division of a sport reduce opportunities for the biological females? This is food for thought, and possibly the subject of another blog.
Call Duffy Law if Someone Violated Your Rights Under Title IX
If you believe you are a victim of a Title IX violation, if you are accused of one, if you work for an organization or company that wants to create a policy that complies with Title IX, or if you want to learn more about your rights, contact Duffy Law at (203) 946-2000.
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