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Title IX and the Clery Act: Student Misconduct and Sexual Harassment Laws

While Title IX and The Clery Act are two separate and distinct statutes, they both seem to largely overlap similar concerns and issues. As such, while your student misconduct lawyer representing you as your attorney-advisors in your college disciplinary proceeding and student suspension hearing is no doubt versed in these statutes, it is important that you also familiarize yourself with the laws as well. Broken down to its foundational purpose, Title IX seeks to promote equal opportunity among students, teachers and staff at educational institutions and universities by, among other things, requiring that no person be discriminated against on the basis of sex. This includes being the victim of sexual harassment or sexual violence at the hands of another member of the school community. The Clery Act, on the other hand seeks to promote safety on school campuses but by requiring that students and the entire school community is informed about public safety and crime prevention issues relevant to the college or other academic institution. This goal is achieved via mandatory disclosure of crime statistics regarding incidents on or near the school campus. Further, the act mandates that schools also disclose campus safety policies and procedures regarding sexual assault prevention. While both of these statutes are concerned with the safety of students, faculty and staff, especially in the context of sexual violence and sexual harassment, their terms, rules, and application inevitably vary in both significant and subtle ways.

Clery Act Jurisdiction and Locational Relevancy

Jurisdiction and where an incident occurred is relevant to both laws. The Clery Act, for its part, covers three geographical categories in its reporting requirements. These include:

  • Campus
  • Non-campus buildings or property
  • Public property

“Campus” is a fairly straightforward term and is defined as any building or property that the school owns or controls within the area that directly relates to school educational purposes. This includes dorms, as well as third party food vendors. “Non-campus property” goes further to include property that is owned or controlled by a student organization, or by the school but is not necessarily adjacent to or even near the campus. Lastly, “public property” includes all public property adjacent to or accessible from an area or building that the school owns or controls, such as sidewalks, streets and parking facilities nearby.

Title IX Jurisdiction and Locational Relevancy

Title IX, on the other hand, looks more to the nature of the activity or context in which the alleged sexual harassment occurred, rather than literal geographical areas. School must respond to allegations and complaint regarding conduct that allegedly occurred in the context of the school programs and activities, whether educational, extracurricular, athletic or other programs whether or not those programs and activities took place on campus or elsewhere. In fact, the long arm of the statute goes further to include alleged off-campus conduct even if it did not take place in the context of an educational program or activity if the purported conduct might create a hostile environment on campus or in educational or extracurricular programs. Clearly, an educational or academic institution has the ability to cast a wide net.

Enforcement of Both Statutes

Who is charged with maintaining the requirements under the two laws, and enforcing the remedies afforded by the legislation? Under Title IX, colleges, universities, and other schools must appoint administrators who have authority over and conduct the investigations and hearings. These are, typically, not administrators who are otherwise involved in any kind of law-enforcement capacity. Often, at the top of this proverbial food chain is the Title IX Coordinator. The Clery Act, on the other hand, puts the onus on campus law enforcement officers, or campus safety officers, as well as local municipality police or law enforcement to document the facts of an incident and report it appropriately.

Your Case, Your Education, Your Career, Your Future

For practical purposes, Title IX is often the legislation directly relevant to a complainant making a formal complaint and respondent accused of committing sexual harassment or assault both on campus and off. That said, the Clery Act is nonetheless significant as well. Whether demanding that personal protections and an safe educational environment are provided to you as a complainant or your ability to adequately protect yourself and exercise your rights as a respondent are maintained, without the proper legal foundation and support you will compromise your ability to succeed. No matter where you find yourself and irrespective of the role, the advocacy, knowledge and experience of an advisor and legal counsel is critical, if not central, to securing the just resolution you are entitled to and deserve.

Do not let an abuser derail your education or an unwarranted accusation lead to your suspension or expulsion. As many students have done so before you, contact the student misconduct attorneys, Title IX advisors, criminal lawyers and former prosecutors at Saland Law to best ensure the future you worked so diligently towards is as preserved and healthy as it is promising and bright.

Call our student attorneys, disciplinary hearing lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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