Sexual assaults and violence are two of the most prominent issues that colleges now face. Subsequently, stronger, stricter regulations have been put into place to protect students from violent sexual assaults. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. Discrimination on the basis of sex includes sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault. A college or university can be held liable for ignoring instances of sexual harassment and assault that occur within their jurisdiction.
To be held responsible for Title IX violations, the college or university must have authority over the harasser and the environment where the harassment took place. According to the Supreme Court, schools become legally liable when their response to sexual harassment or assault is “clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.” It has also been ruled that colleges or universities receiving federal funding will have to pay damages to the victims of student-on-student sexual harassment or assault. However, it must be shown that the college acted with "deliberate indifference to known acts of harassment in its programs or activities."
Recently, sexual assault survivors have been able to successfully sue universities in both federal and state courts. In 2007, the University of Georgia was sued for recruiting, admitting, and neglecting to supervise a student athlete who later raped a fellow student. Plaintiffs were able to successfully argue that the school’s administrators knew the athlete had harassed women at other colleges and had been removed from those schools. Similarly, the University of Colorado at Boulder was sued under Title IX for rapes that were associated with the school’s football recruiting program.
Do you have more questions about Title IX or sexual assault law? Contact one of our West Palm Beach Title IX lawyers, or call (561) 349-4856 to find out how we can help you today.