Title IX/Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment 

Ice Miller has a long history of representing colleges and universities. Decades of experience equates to a solid understanding of the complex environment in which these colleges and universities exist. However, Title IX, its governing regulations and guidance from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (DOE/OCR) present special problems.  Allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment involving students require a full and complete investigation. The institution must then pass judgment on allegations, which often may constitute a serious crime. In essence, a college or university is called upon to depart from its core objective of education to investigate, prosecute and adjudge a set of circumstances without the tools or experience demanded by these circumstances.  

Ice Miller is fully prepared to provide those tools and that experience. To commence, Ice Miller drafts, reviews and revises higher education policies and procedures that both comply with applicable law and strike the appropriate balance between the rights of the victim and those of the accused. We consult with colleges and universities during investigations and hearings held by sexual misconduct boards empaneled to hear and ultimately pass judgment on the allegations. In the event the DOE/OCR may become involved, we work with DOE/OCR to confirm the policies and procedures in place are appropriate and the institution followed these policies and procedures and conducted a fair investigation and hearing. In addition, we can serve as an independent outside investigator of sexual misconduct allegations under circumstances in which the institution finds that engaging outside assistance is appropriate.

Of late, it may appear to many colleges and universities that Title IX has a mind of its own: the law is constantly changing or morphing into new areas of emphasis; regulations and governing documents issued by DOE/OCR are periodically revised and reissued and our courts have now joined the fray with opinions intended to be further guidance on conducting investigations or hearings. Ice Miller works to stay well ahead of the learning curve in this developing area of the law. Our college and university clients may then continue to focus on the education mission at hand.   
 

Title IX/Gender Equity in Athletics

Many U.S. colleges and universities have a continuing challenge complying with Title IX, the federal legislation requiring gender equity in athletic programs. Ice Miller helps colleges, universities and primary and secondary schools understand and comply with the requirements of Title IX. Our compliance assessment includes the following four steps: 
  • Comprehensive audit of the school’s athletic program, including a written opinion of the school’s compliance with all areas of Title IX, including participation opportunities and benefits, sexual harassment policies, pregnancy policies and retaliation 
  • Course of action, including development of a written plan to achieve gender equity 
  • Educational sessions in which we provide administrators with an overview of Title IX and guidance on continuing compliance with the law.
  • Ongoing evaluations to chart the school’s progress and monitor issues as they arise
 
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