Understanding Title IX and Meeting Obligations
Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, can be quite complex, with numerous requirements and obligations for higher education institutions. Constant changes to the law from each new presidential administration and leadership at the U.S. Department of Education make it harder to keep up and ensure zero slips in compliance. Buchanan attorneys have extensive experience helping colleges and universities navigate the scope of Title IX and providing counsel when claims arise.
We routinely advise clients on a breadth of Title IX obligations including recruitment and admissions, athletics, sex-based harassment and sexual assault, and treatment of LGBTQI+ students. We are also experienced in conducting Title IX investigations and hearings.
With expertise in labor and employment and higher education, our attorneys can assist higher education institutions with the full scope of Title IX-related issues, as well as defending claims of wrongful termination, racial discrimination, unlawful harassment and hostile work environment, and counsel on matters of faculty and student procedural due process rights, senior administration employment contracts, and compliance with additional federal, state and local laws.
Supporting Clients Across All Facets of Title IX
When a Title IX complaint is made, it requires prompt action. Our team will support you from day one. We step in as impartial outside experts and work with your team to conduct internal investigations, lead witness interviews, and prepare facts for determination. In cases where respondents retain counsel to serve as an advisor, we know that campus teams might be on edge. Our attorneys are ready to serve as your partner in any investigation to ensure a fair and impartial comprehensive investigation.
Proceedings and Hearings
When Title IX complaints proceed to a hearing panel for determination, it can benefit colleges and universities to seek outside independent counsel to serve as decision makers. Our attorneys also have a wealth of experience supporting and guiding the hearing process to ensure decisions are made in accordance with Title IX rules and regulations, institutional policies and procedures, and that due process is followed.
Our attorneys are experienced in representing colleges and universities in litigation stemming from the findings of internal investigation and proceedings. We have defended against claims alleging failure to provide due process, failure to follow the institution’s Title IX policies and procedures in handling the investigation and biased investigators.
Compliance and Training
With the ever-changing nature of Title IX rules and regulations, working with experienced counsel to draft Title IX policies is crucial. Serving as outside counsel, our attorneys will help ensure your policies and procedures align with the latest Title IX rules and regulations. We also partner with institutions in the creation of reporting policies and disclosures in accordance with the Clery Act. As changes are made to the law, our attorneys will work with you to update policies accordingly.
Additionally, our team of seasoned investigators and legal advisors can provide client-driven, tailored training to ensure all necessary staff are compliant with Title IX policies and procedures, including:
- Title IX reporting training for faculty and staff
- Legal training for Title IX coordinators
- Investigative, victim-informed training for internal university resources.
Title IX litigation is often paired with allegations of race, gender or disability discrimination. Our attorneys have extensive experience conducting investigations and defending against these types of claims. We have experience helping colleges and universities navigate investigations by the Office for Civil Rights and U.S. Department of Justice. Our team also conducts expansive investigations of academic departments and colleges within universities in cases of discrimination related and unrelated to Title IX.
Our attorneys work with athletics departments on matters of Title IX compliance and NCAA eligibility. We have experience supporting athletics departments in claims of Title IX violations including those of sexual harassment or misconduct and working to ensure a swift response that follows Title IX obligations. Additionally, our team is well-positioned to help colleges and universities navigate NCAA investigations.