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What Are Title IX Penalties?
- 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
“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 seniorSee 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
- Bowling Green State University
- Brandeis University
- Brown University
- Cal State Polytechnic 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
- 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
- Louisiana State University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Michigan State University
- Mississippi University
- Nichols College
- Pennsylvania 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, College Station
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of Buffalo
- University of California, Davis
- 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
- University of Vermont
- University of Virginia
- 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 Washington University
- Wheaton College
- William Smith College
- Yale University
- Youngstown State University
Title IX is a federal law that was initially designed, as part of the Education Amendments passed in 1972, to protect individuals from gender bias. It was initially intended, among other things, to ensure equal opportunities for individuals in athletics and school admissions. As a result, more doors have been opened to women—the statute has enabled more women to enter colleges and universities and to take advantage of higher educational opportunities.
As Title IX entrenched itself into the American academic culture starting in 1972, young women began to have other women as role models, and the rest is history.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s educational experience was wrought with battles for gender equality. Although she graduated at the top of her class from Cornell University, she met with gender discrimination throughout her entire educational career. Along with the other seven female students in her class of over 500 at Harvard Law, she was constantly reminded they were displacing other qualified males. In 2017, women made up 33 percent of Harvard’s 554 graduate students. One can’t help but think this change is due, at least in part, to Title IX.
The High Cost Of Non-Compliance
The ultimate penalty for non-compliance with Title IX regulations is the withdrawal of federal funds, including monies earmarked for student loans. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, 42.9 million borrowers owed $1.4392 trillion. With this much money at stake, colleges and universities across the country are paying close attention to the mandates of Title IX.
Title IX Violations Are All Encompassing
Title IX applies to:
- Administrative staff
- Vendors doing business at the institution
- Other full and part-time employees
Violations may include scenarios such as:
- Gender bias in athletic programs
- Assault and 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
- Creating a hostile educational environment
OCR Enforces Title IX
Title IX regulations are enforced and investigated by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). Complaints against a school can be filed with OCR. OCR investigates a school’s failure to eliminate discrimination in the following types of issues:
- Athletic programs
- Sexual harassment
- Within science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs
- Pregnancy and parenting issues
- Relationship violence
- A disparity in pay based on gender
Under Title IX, educational facilities can also be held liable in court if it is determined that the institution knew about but failed to address sexual harassment or sexual misconduct issues in any programs or activities sponsored by the school.
The School Has Mandated Obligations Under Title IX
As soon as a school is made aware of possible misconduct, harassment, violence, or discrimination, immediate action should be taken to:
- Determine what happened
- End sexual violence
- Prevent its recurrence
- Address its effects
- Protect the complainant
- Provide a grievance procedure
In addition to filings at OCR or in court, complaints can be made through a school’s internal disciplinary grievance procedure. In those proceedings, the question of sexual misconduct can become a complicated situation, especially when one party alleges nonconsensual sexual activity and the other claims the sexual activity was voluntary.
Consent at colleges typically means there was no force, coercion, or intimidation by either party and most schools apply an affirmative consent standard, meaning that there must be affirmative conduct (words or physical conduct) for each stage of sexual activity and consent for one act does not mean consent for another. Additionally, the addition of impairment from drugs or alcohol can add another layer of complexity to the issue.
A Title IX investigation can involve a fact-finding investigation and frequently a hearing. The purpose of this is to determine if the alleged incident in question involved any form of recognized misconduct. The institution’s Title IX compliance coordinator is charged with ensuring the investigation or hearing is both prompt and impartial and the complainant and the respondent are given the same rights.
Although a private defense attorney’s role is limited in a school’s internal Title IX investigation, if you are accused of misconduct, hiring an experienced Title IX lawyer has definite benefits. Typically you can expect a private lawyer to investigate before the hearing on your behalf, prepare you for the questions you may be asked, advise you as to the best way you should respond to the panel’s questions, and stand with you to ensure you are being treated as fairly and equally whether as a complainant or respondent.
If a respondent is found responsible for violating any Title IX mandates, penalties may include:
- A verbal or written warning
- Disciplinary probation
- A change of residence halls
- Suspension for a designated period of time
- Expulsion from school
- A change in a job position
- Loss of employment
- Loss of tenure
- A requirement to seek counseling
- Loss of scholarships
- The requirement of a formal letter of apology
- Revocation or withholding of a degree
Defending Against an Accusation Can Be Stressful
Both students and faculty alike can feel overwhelmed at the possibility of having to defend themselves against an accusation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. Most will find that their daily academic and professional responsibilities are severely disrupted while they attempt to gather evidence, locate witnesses, and prepare a defense strategy.
In the court of public opinion presumption of guilt is highly likely when someone is publicly accused of misconduct and preconceived notions can be extremely hard to overcome. We can not stress enough the importance of hiring a Title IX attorney if you are the victim of, or being accused of, a Title IX violation.
Contact Duffy Law at (203) 946-2000 today and tell us how we can help you. Our highly experienced Title IX and Conduct Code attorneys stand ready to stand with you during complicated and frightening situations that may impact your reputation, your profession, and your ability to continue your education.