Boston, MA — Twenty-seven law school professors filed an amicus brief today supporting a lawsuit filed by prominent civil rights organizations and victim advocates in federal district court in Massachusetts challenging new Title IX regulations issued by the US Department of Education.
The new Title IX regulations, slated to take effect on August 14, would establish a process for school investigations of sexual misconduct. The new regulations reduce protections for students who are victims of sexual harassment, including sexual assault, and make it harder for their schools to respond to them. These changes, the law professors assert, run contrary to Title IX’s mandate that no person will be subjected to sexual harassment in an educational program.
“Sexual harassment and sexual assault in schools impose lasting damage on students, faculty, and the learning environment,” the law professors state in their brief. “To fulfill their Title IX mandate, schools can and must ensure fair process for the accused without—as this Rule does—imposing hurdles to reporting.”
Further, arguing that the new Title IX regulations are arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, the amici professors request the court enjoin or stay the new regulations.
“Schools have an obligation to protect students against threats to their safety and well-being on campus,” said Samuel R. Bagenstos the Frank G. Millard Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School, “The new Title IX regulations restrict the ability of our schools to uphold this critical obligation and eliminate protections for our students who experience sexual harassment or assault.”
Washington, DC-based law firm Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, assisted the professors in writing and filing the amicus brief, which can be viewed here.