UNIVERSITY MISCONDUCT DUE PROCESS & TITLE IX – STUDENTS & FACULTY
We are recognized leaders in the representation of college and university students and faculty facing allegations of misconduct.
We are strong and effective advocates for the rights of students and faculty members accused of sexual misconduct to justice and due process of law.
Led by Andrew Miltenberg, our team has vigorously and successfully defended students and faculty at disciplinary proceedings facing suspension or expulsion from colleges and universities. We have also filed numerous civil lawsuits against universities in connection with mistreatment of accused students and professors.
We have represented more than 200 students in 30 states in this emerging area of litigation, at higher education institutions ranging from small, elite liberal arts colleges to large public universities.
We are currently representing nearly 20 professors facing disciplinary action, including dismissals despite having earned tenure. The reputational damage suffered by tenured professors can be devastating which is why strong legal support is critical.
Our work on behalf of students and faculty has generated attention from local and regional news sources as well as top national TV, radio, print, and online media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, CBS Sunday Morning, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Fox News, and National Public Radio. See recent representative articles.
We believe – unconditionally – that sexual assault is unacceptable under any circumstance.
We also believe that accused students and faculty must be afforded their civil rights and due process under the law, and that many colleges and universities are falling far short of this standard.
Higher education institutions have become extremely aggressive in pursuing sexual misconduct investigations since the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a letter in 2011 discussing how schools are to address sexual assault and misconduct to comply with the Department’s view of Title IX. What’s more policies developed by the current Secretary of Education meant to clarify federal objectives seem to have exacerbated reactions by higher education institutions, who are drawing a battle line: “The administration is trying to roll back protections for women, and we’re not going to let them do that.”
Accused students typically find themselves in the midst of a veritable minefield in which institutions of higher education are using their internal disciplinary procedures to try students for claims of sexual misconduct and assault and to mete out penalties, including expulsion, suspension and a permanent scar on their academic record.
Tenured professors have an additional step meant as an extra level of protection through their academic senate. However, this process can be undermined in a rush to judgment.
Disciplinary processes on college and university campuses differ dramatically from civil and criminal cases handled in court. These campus proceedings have taken on the characteristics of arbitrary tribunals, with students denied the right to a fair hearing, access to an attorney or the ability to question their accuser.
The consequences of such a flawed process are serious and often life-altering for those wrongly accused. Among other serious repercussions, those found guilty of sexual misconduct on campus may find themselves effectively cut off from acceptance at a law, medical or other graduate school despite having good grades and an otherwise unblemished academic record. For faculty, the ability to find new employment can be next to impossible. Without a court order countermanding the school’s sanction, neither the student nor the professor has any recourse.
We are committed to advocating for accused faculty and students’ rights: due process under the law is a right, not a privilege. We believe that the serious nature of the accusations and the adverse consequences of being found responsible make this a critically important fight.