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State Legislators React to Proposed Federal Title IX Regulations with State Law Proposals

While college, universities and educational professionals await the Department of Education’s (DOE) proposed new Title IX regulations, which will dictate a revised process by which allegations of sexual misconduct must be handled, the state legislatures in Missouri and Arizona are currently considering legislation that would adopt many of Secretary DeVos’s anticipated regulatory modifications.

The proposed Missouri legislation, contained in Senate Bill 259 offered by Senator Gary Romine and House Bill 573 introduced by Representative Dean Dohrman, would allow students involved in Title IX complaints to appeal findings outside of the university system to the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission, considered a “neutral and independent hearing officer for the state.”

The key elements of the proposed Missouri bill are:

  • All state universities would be required to expedite hearings for students if the investigation and resolution of the complaint deprives their education.

  • Those accused would be provided with the identities of the parties and known witnesses and would have the opportunity to cross-examine parties and witnesses.

  • Denial of appropriate due process in a Title IX complaint would be considered a “breach of contract between the student and the university,” potentially resulting in a $250,000 fine for the institution.

  • If someone is found to have made a false complaint, the accused has the right to seek actual and punitive damages.

The House version of the bill would also “ensure that all parties use the terms ‘complainant’ and ‘respondent’ and refrain from using the term ‘survivor’ or any other term that presumes guilt before an actual finding of guilt.”

Senator Romine commented on his reason for introducing the proposed legislation by stating, “The problem is that a lot of times the accused does not have a proper recourse through the system, and we want to make sure that if there isn’t a proper recourse, that the institution that’s supposed to be upholding Title IX is held accountable for it.”

Representative Dohrman commented on his reasons for introducing the House bill in a press release, stating “due process is vital in both civil and criminal proceedings and Title IX proceedings are no different. I have filed this bill to… protect all students by making sure both the accuser and the accused are in a just proceeding.”

In addition to the proposed legislation in Missouri, Arizona State Representative Anthony Kern has introduced House Bill 2242, the “Campus Individual Rights Act, which is a similar statutory modification to Title IX for students in Arizona. Senator Kern’s proposed legislation would amend existing state law and would provide that an Arizona community college district or university may not prohibit the following:

  • An accused student and an alleged victim from having a legal representative at  disciplinary proceeding

  • The legal representative for the accused student and the alleged victim from having full participation in the disciplinary proceeding

In addition, the bill requires the parties to the disciplinary proceeding to make a good faith effort to exchange any evidence which either party intends to use in the proceeding, without authorizing either party the right to participate in formal discovery. In addition, Senator Kern’s proposed legislation would prohibit a school employee from acting as an adjudicator, hearing officer or appellate officer if that individual has previously served as:

  • An advocate or counselor for an accused student or alleged victim,

  •  An investigator,

  • An administrator presenting arguments and evidence on behalf of the educational institution, or

  • An advisor to a person described in 1-4 above.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2022National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 36

About this Author

Gregg E. Clifton, Collegiate Sports Attorney, Jackson Lewis, disciplinary hearings Lawyer
Office Managing Principal

Gregg E. Clifton is Office Managing Principal of the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as one of the editors of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world. He has advised numerous professional franchises on general labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. He serves as lead counsel for several Major...

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John Long, NCAA Lawyer, Dallas Office of Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Of Counsel

John G. Long is Of Counsel in the Dallas, Texas, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has more than eight years of experience in collegiate sports law as a former university NCAA compliance officer and private practitioner.

Mr. Long counsels institutions, coaches and athletes in a broad range of collegiate sports law matters, including those involving NCAA compliance, the NCAA Academic Performance Program (APP) and Title IX. Mr. Long conducts complex investigations on behalf of universities. Mr. Long represents Division I institutions before the Committee on...

Susan D. Friedfel Employment law attorney for educational instituions in White Plains, NY of Jackson Lewis law firm

Susan D. Friedfel is a Principal in the White Plains and New York, New York, offices of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Friedfel collaborates with clients to find practical solutions for a variety of issues that arise in the workplace. She counsels clients in various industries, including law firms, financial institutions, educational institutions, and not-for-profit organizations, on a wide array of issues.

Susan D. Friedfel  provides advice and counsel on matters such as:

  • employee recruiting and hiring practices
  • family and medical leave
  • reasonable...
Monica H. Khetarpal, Litigation Experience, Discrimination, Wage and Hour Violations, Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Monica H. Khetarpal is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her litigation experience includes cases involving claims for discrimination, harassment, wage and hour violations, FMLA violations, disability discrimination and requests for accommodation in both single plaintiff and class action matters. She regularly handles matters at all levels, from administrative agencies to appeals in both state and federal courts.

Ms. Khetarpal focuses a significant portion of her practice on representing higher education clients and serves as co...