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Miami University Archives

Title IX: When The Defender Becomes The Attacker

In recent years, Title IX-an act designed to prohibit discrimination based on sex-has, ironically, been used to facilitate sex-based discrimination on college campuses. "Title IX" refers to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which states:

Does it help that I'm "a good kid" when I'm charged with a crime?

Many college students that are charged with criminal offenses are quick to point out the highlights of their resume when they first meet with me: a high GPA, a clean record, community service, and a professional aspiration that simply cannot tolerate a criminal conviction. It seems like these accomplishments must count for something in reducing the student's criminal or university sanction. Do they? The answer is generally yes, but with some caveats.

Understanding the Miami University Two/Three Strike Policy

I frequently get calls from individuals facing mandatory suspension at Miami University because they have accumulated "two strikes" or "three strikes" depending on the situation. By this, students are referring to Miami's policy whereby if a student receives two intoxication offenses, three alcohol-related offenses, or two dishonesty offenses, the student must be suspended for at least one semester. Students and parents often do not understand what does and does not qualify as a "strike," and they are further taken aback by the harshness of the sanctions. Unfortunately, I am not able to tell you that Miami's policy is less harsh than it sounds, but I am able to help clarify which situations should concern students and parents, before reviewing some preventative steps.

The Implications of John Doe v. Miami University et. al. (2008) for the Accused, Part 3: Notice and Access to Evidence

In addition to the novel interpretations of the law laid out in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, the Court also reaffirmed the importance of the accused's right to notice of the charges and access to the evidence in University Title IX Hearings. These rights seem so obvious and fundamental, but believe it or not the Court's affirmance of these rights is significant given past deprivations that the accused have faced.

The Implications of John Doe v. Miami University et. al. (2008) for the Accused, Part 2: Erroneous Outcome

When students and their families tell me that they "want to sue" after being found responsible for sexual assault at a University Hearing, they generally believe that the court can be used as a sort of "super appeals court" to have their hearing redecided on the merits; generally this is precisely what the courts will not do, but the recent John Doe v. Miami University decision has given some life to this use of the courts to challenge Title IX sexual assault cases (if you are not familiar with the facts of this case, see Part 1 of this series). The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has said that if an accused can show "'(1) "facts sufficient to cast some articulable doubt on the accuracy of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding" and (2) a "particularized . . . causal connection between the flawed outcome and gender bias,"'" then the accused can challenge the outcome in court with an "erroneous outcome" claim.

The Implications of John Doe v. Miami University et. al. (2008) for the Accused, Part 1: Equal Protection

A blockbuster decision dropped in the Title IX Sexual Assault world last week when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, in part, against Miami University in a case filed by a suspended student. The student had been suspended for sexual assault based on a theory that the alleged victim was "severely intoxicated" (an undefined term in Miami's Code of Student Conduct) when sexual conduct allegedly occurred. There are several layers to this decision that carry important implications for both accused students and alleged victims; perhaps the most interesting involve the constitutional rights of equal protection under the law in terms of who Miami chooses to prosecute for a claim of sexual assault. 

Where we are with Title IX Hearings: The DeVos Interim Guidance

In September of 2017 Secretary of Education Besty DeVos formally announced the withdrawal of the 2014 "Dear Colleague Letter" and replaced it with new "Interim Guidance" designed to bridge the gap until new rules are implemented. Many students who are caught up in a university Title IX Hearing during this interim period have questions about how this decision affects them. Let's talk about what this Interim Guidance is, and what it is not: 

Proving a negative, Part II: Miami University Hearings

Chapter 2.1 of Miami University's Code of Student Conduct ("the Code") explains the standard used by the University to determine if an accused student is responsible for violating the Code. According to the Code, the standard of "preponderance" is satisfied "by the information that has the most convincing force," and that a student will be found responsible if he or she admits responsibility or if the information provided to the University demonstrates "by a preponderance of the available information that the person is responsible."

It's Just a "Drinking Ticket" Right?

Wrong. Students and parents are often under the unfortunate misconception that criminal citations for underage drinking are like speeding tickets: you admit responsibility, you pay the "ticket" online, and you go about your business consequence-free...but this could not be further from the truth!

Drinking (Underage) With Parents: To Do, Or Not To do

Homecoming, Parents' Weekend, and various fraternity & sorority events are a prime opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their college student in the student's natural environment. This sometimes includes parent-student underage drinking. Two important questions emerge:

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