Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits sex-based discrimination and retaliation in education. Although Title IX is most commonly known for its application to athletic programs, the law applies to any education program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance.
Further, and perhaps an issue that has recently garnered more attention, Title IX protects students from sexual harassment and sexual assault. Under Title IX, educational institutions are required to both safeguard their students and make certain that student victims of sexual misconduct remain a viable part of the school and continue to enjoy the benefits of, and participation in, educational, athletic and other extracurricular activities. In addition to issues of student sexual misconduct, Title IX also arises in situations involving athletic department scandals and staff improprieties.
Similar to every employer’s obligation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, upon receipt of knowledge regarding any Title IX-related misconduct, schools are required to take swift and remedial action to eradicate the immediate harassment, manage the aftermath and prevent harassment from occurring in the future. To accomplish these goals, academic institutions are required to have written policies and procedures in place to facilitate student complaints regarding issues related to sexual misconduct and to promptly, objectively and thoroughly investigate any such issue.
The mission of an academic institution is to facilitate an atmosphere of learning, safety, and opportunity. However, when discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or other misconduct occurs and impedes an institution’s ability to carry out this mission, it is vital that the situation be handled properly by those experienced in the area. We are cognizant of the sensitivities and complexities implicated in performing investigations and that each client’s needs differ.
Led by the former Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Honorable Lawrence F. Stengel (Ret.), Saxton & Stump’s Title IX counseling and investigative team has the experience, integrity, independence, and credibility to both advise and aid educational entities – both public and private — in complying with and enforcing their obligations under Title IX. We are adept and proficient in proactively counseling university staff regarding compliant procedural safeguards; responding properly to alleged Title IX violations; conducting comprehensive, documented, and objective investigations; and defending educational entities in trial.
Services provided by the Saxton & Stump team include:
Proactive Policy Review and Audits
Compliant policies and defined reporting procedures are a critical asset to ensure student rights and safety are protected and to avoid crisis situations. Our team recognizes where weaknesses may exist in clients’ practices, policies, and processes. Upon analysis, we can provide recommendations and suggestions based upon our detailed review.
Investigations Involving Alleged Misconduct
Saxton & Stump’s team of experienced investigators includes a retired Federal judge; attorneys who have worked in the Public Defender’s office of a major metropolitan city within the major crimes unit; attorneys who have worked in various prosecutors’ offices conducting criminal investigations including investigations into sexual violence; and attorneys with over 25 years of experience conducting and participating in internal investigations and adjudications in the private sector, on behalf of municipal entities, and on college campuses.
The goal of any investigation is to interview witnesses, determine credibility, document the facts, provide a well-supported conclusion, and provide detailed recommendations. Based on our Internal Investigations team’s experience, knowledge, independence and integrity, Saxton & Stump is well-positioned to fulfill and exceed the expectations and goals of its clients.