By: Cindy Morgan, Associate in G&E’s Civil Rights Practice Although Title IX of the of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) includes protections for students from sexual assault and harassment, sexual misconduct remains prevalent across many college and university campuses, including at Stanford University where, according to a 2019 survey, almost 40% of female undergraduate students experience nonconsensual sexual contact by the time they reach their fourth year. 14% of male undergraduates had similar experiences, according to the survey. According to reporting by The Nation Title IX complaints brought by Stanford students are often resolved without a hearing or investigation—offering little means for disciplinary action against the perpetrator. One female Stanford student pursued a complaint by disclosing the details of her experience with her dorm’s resident assistant, who in turn shared the story with the school’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Education (SHARE) Title IX Office. For her assailant to be found responsible, the Title IX office needed to conduct a formal, months-long investigation—implications of which were not clear to the survivor.  “I feel like they latched onto the fact that I really was worried about the cross-examination,” she said. The survivor felt that Stanford deterred from pursuing the formal resolution, and was told by the school that it would be long and emotionally taxing. The Nation notes that in the past two years, there have been only 15 Stanford SHARE hearings or investigations and four other Title IX cases out of 312 reported cases. 30 cases involved nonconsensual sex/relationship violence potentially warranting expulsion; however, only one student was expelled. It may be the result of Stanford’s loose Title IX policies that these alleged perpetrators were not held accountable.  For example, the policy suggests that if there are “significant mitigating circumstances,” disciplinary sanctions (such as separation/termination or expulsion) for severe offenses may be changed. These “mitigating factors” are broad, wide-ranging loopholes including, for example, when the accused student “did not have an intent to violate University policy,” or “has taken responsibility for their actions.”  Under new regulations enacted by the Biden administration, Stanford is set to rewrite their Title IX procedures for the next academic year. The Nation’s in-depth look is illuminating, as students struggle to not only feel safe on campus but heard when they are assaulted. G&E works with students from schools across the nation to assure that all students have equal access to their education and are not treated dismissively by their school. Contact a Title IX Lawyer to Discuss Your Potential Case If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual misconduct or sexual violence at a college, university, or other education institution, it’s important to know your rights and have someone fighting for you to hold those responsible accountable. Hiring a Title IX lawyer may be an option for you. If you feel you have not been heard by your college or university, speak with an attorney experienced in Title IX proceedings by calling 855-244-2031.

Cindy Morgan