Author: Michael P. McKeon

CLEAR AND CONVINCING: DOE V. JACKSON, DEVOS, AND THE FUTURE OF CAMPUS SEXUAL MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS

  On September 7, 2017, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, announced that the United States Department of Education intended to revisit the “Dear Colleague” letter that the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, or “OCR,” issued on April 4, 2011. Although over the years OCR has issued a number of these often draconian Dear Colleague…

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Doggone: False Statements and Free Speech in Clemmons v. Guilford Technical Community College

Sometimes, the motivation for chronicling a court decision is not because it is particularly groundbreaking; rather, it can simply be a confluence of peculiar facts and a reiteration of relevant legal principles.  That is certainly true with Clemmons v. Guilford Technical Community College, a case arising out of the United States District Court for the…

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Stick to the Script: The Consequences of Mishandling Sexual Misconduct Investigations in Doe v. Skidmore College

It would seem fairly self-evident that when a college or university establishes procedures for handling sexual misconduct claims, it should actually follow them.  That, however, was not the case in Matter of John Doe v. Skidmore College, a recently issued decision by the State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division.  Given what it termed…

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Canary in a Coal Mine: Analyzing Title IX, OCR, and On-Campus Sexual Misconduct Adjudications in Plummer v. University of Houston

It is unusual for a dissenting opinion to be more noteworthy than the majority’s holding, yet that is the case in Plummer v. University of Houston, a decision recently handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Except for the unsavory facts upon which the decision is based and Judge…

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IDEA Exhaustion is Alive and Well: Applying Fry in Graham v. Friedlander

A Connecticut Superior Court judge has issued what might be the first decision in the country applying the United States Supreme Court’s recent test for determining whether a party is required to exhaust the administrative remedies available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 [“IDEA”]. The case of Graham, et al. v.…

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Not NORML: Blunt Speech in Gerlich v. Leath

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit serves as a cautionary reminder that once an educational institution creates a limited public forum for speech, it cannot then pick and choose which speech it will permit. The Eighth Circuit’s decision in Gerlich v Leath arose from Iowa State University’s attempt…

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Rebel Without A Stall: Title IX, Transgender Student Rights and Whitaker v. Kenosha

When the Trump Administration short-circuited the United States Supreme Court’s review of Gloucester v. G.G., in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had held that Title IX’s protections extend to transgender students, it seemed that transgender students’ rights were on life support.  Like Jarvis Lorry in Charles Dickens’ Tale of…

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Check Please: OCR’s Future in the Wake of Proposed Budget Cuts

Published reports indicate that President Trump’s proposed budget includes what is approximately a fifty percent reduction in the prior fiscal year’s funding for the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”]. OCR is charged with responsibility for investigating student discrimination claims in public school districts as well as in private schools, colleges,…

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Flushed: Supreme Court Vacates Fourth Circuit’s Title IX Transgender Bathroom Decision in Gloucester County v. G.G.

In a not particularly surprising development, on March 6, 2017, the United States Supreme Court vacated the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s judgment in the controversial case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. and remanded it to the Fourth Circuit for further consideration. Click here to read the order.  The…

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Title IX and Due Process: University Enrollment as Property Interest in DOE v. ALGER

Tuition-wise, public universities have long been considered a better option than private schools, and in Doe v. Alger, a federal court in Virginia held that public university tuition may bring an additional bonus, that being a constitutionally protected property interest in continued enrollment.  In Doe, the court held that the plaintiff student’s payment of tuition…

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