Keeping the Community Safe: Preventing and Addressing Incidents of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence
Sexual harassment and sexual violence incidents are serious and troublesome issues for colleges and universities. With the legal landscape constantly shifting, institutions of higher education need to take proactive and progressive steps to assure they are complying with the laws on sexual harassment and violence that apply to their campuses, most notably Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), the Clery Act, and the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA).
The Education Practice at HMBR is well-positioned to counsel clients on complex sexual harassment/violence compliance, enforcement and litigation matters arising within their institutions. Our lawyers have an intimate understanding of Title IX, as well as the Clery Act and the VAWA. Members of our practice possess decades of collective experience working within the U.S. Department of Education, including serving in senior leadership positions in the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). We know how the federal and state authorities handle these types of claims and we help schools navigate these difficult matters with confidence and sensitivity.
Comprehensive Advice to Higher Education Institutions
The attorneys in our practice offer clients a broad range of services aimed at preventing and responding to sexual harassment and violence issues on their campuses, including:
- Conducting compliance assessments and audits of an institution’s sexual violence/sexual harassment programs, including organizational structures as well as sexual violence and sexual harassment policies, procedures and practices
- Developing and revising institutional policies and procedures to assure compliance with Title IX, FERPA, the Clery Act, VAWA and related laws
- Conducting internal investigations of sexual violence and sexual harassment cases
- Reviewing internal investigations and findings
- Assisting schools targeted for program reviews by the U.S. Department of Education
- Providing ongoing advice and counsel to schools responding to OCR investigations and other administrative proceedings and litigation
- Advising and counseling schools on Title IX and related litigation by claimants and accused students
- Conducting sexual harassment/violence training for faculty, staff and administration
Our lawyers advise individuals across the entire institution, from the president and members of the board to senior level administrators, faculty and staff. We emphasize preventative measures and work with clients to assure that they have the proper policies and procedures in place to prevent and address sexual harassment and incidents of violence. When problems surface, our legal team always aims to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. If a swift resolution is unattainable and the problem escalates, our lawyers protect our clients’ rights before administrative agencies and in court.