Can I Sue My College or University for a Tille IX Violation?

Yes, an individual can sue a college or university for a Title IX violation. The Supreme Court has recognized that Title IX entitles a person injured by a violation to sue for damages. In such cases, the plaintiff must demonstrate that an official of the educational institution who has the authority to institute corrective measures has actual notice of the misconduct and is deliberately indifferent to it (Doe v. St. Francis School Dist., 694 F.3d 869 (2012)).

Title IX violations in the educational context have been encountered in several legal proceedings. Examples include Hendrichsen v. Ball State University, where a student sued alleging a professor’s advances created a hostile learning environment, and Doe v. University of Southern Indiana, where a student sued after a Title IX committee found that he had sexually assaulted another student (Hendrichsen v. Ball State University, 107 Fed.Appx. 680 (2004)). Gash v. Rosalind Franklin University involved a former student suing for Title IX sex discrimination after his expulsion for violation of the university’s Title IX policy (Gash v. Rosalind Franklin University, — F.Supp.3d —- (2023)).

The Conviser v. DePaul University case expanded the scope of individuals who can sue for Title IX violations. The court found that a Title IX retaliation plaintiff need not plead that she is a university student or faculty member to have statutory standing. This suggests that individuals beyond students and faculty can also bring a Title IX claim if they witness and report discrimination and face retaliation (Conviser v. DePaul University, 649 F.Supp.3d 686 (2023).

However, it’s important to note that certain circumstances may fall outside the scope of Title IX. For instance, in Shannon v. Board of Trustees of The University of Illinois, the court found that an assault that occurred off-campus and out-of-state did not constitute “Title IX Sexual Harassment” and was not within Title IX’s jurisdiction (Shannon v. Board of Trustees of The University of Illinois, 2024 WL 218103 (2024)). But all off-campus assaults are not necessarily immune from Title IX. Each claim is different and a number of cases have proceeded even though the assault was off campus.

Furthermore, not all entities related to education are subject to Title IX. For example, the Supreme Court held in National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n v. Smith that the NCAA is not subject to the requirements of Title IX merely because it receives dues from its member institutions which receive federal financial assistance (National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n v. Smith, 525 U.S. 459 (1999)).

It’s also crucial to bear in mind that some of the legal principles established in certain cases may no longer be applicable due to their abrogation. For example, Delgado v. Stegall was abrogated by Doe No. 55 v. Madison Metropolitan School District in 2018, and Doe v. Smith was abrogated by Trentadue v. Redmon in 2010. Similarly, Boulahanis v. Board of Regents was abrogated by Trentadue v. Redmon in 2010. These abrogations may affect the interpretation and application of the principles established in these cases to current claims.

Lastly, Title IX, as codified in 20 U.S.C.A. § 1681, prohibits sex-based discrimination in any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, with certain exceptions (20 U.S.C.A. § 1681).By hiring a law firm like Lubin Austermuehle with experience in Title IX and representing high-level management in education positions, you can ensure that you have knowledgeable and effective representation to handle the complexities of such cases. Contact us for a free consultation online or at 630-333-0333.

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