Sexual Misconduct in Schools

Under Title IX, federally-funded schools must effectively address sexual misconduct and harassment.

We work to strengthen and enforce Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally-funded educational programs.

Historically, Title IX was most often discussed in the context of gender equity in athletics. However in recent years, as college anti-rape activists effectively leveraged Title IX in order to force schools to address sexual misconduct and harassment on campus.

Title IX promotes safety in educational settings–K-12, colleges and any other educational setting that receives federal funding–in ways that are not available through the criminal justice system. Under Title IX, schools are obligated to adjudicate allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment through campus-based disciplinary procedures.

These procedures need to be fair to both victims and the accused. Victims of sexual misconduct have long suffered the consequences of deeply entrenched bias in school adjudication processes, the justice system, and society at large. Historically, institutions of higher education have turned a blind eye to sexual harassment and assault, often discouraging victims from reporting it to school officials. The few victims who manage to navigate the school processes are often denied equal access to information and presumed to be lying. These systems have been stacked against victims, leaving them to suffer at school with the assailant, transfer to new schools, or drop out of school while the person who assaulted them is rarely disciplined.

The Women’s Law Project has brought litigation and filed complaints under Title IX on behalf of students.