Over the past six years, the issue of campus sexual assault has exploded into the public discourse. While definitive figures are difficult to obtain due to the necessarily private nature of these events, several recent studies estimate that between 20-25% of college women (and a similar proportion of students identifying as transgender and gender-nonconforming, as well as around 5-10% of male students)experience sexual assault. Survivors have come forward across the country with harrowing stories of assault followed by an insensitive or indifferent response from college administrators, launching one of the most successful, and surprising, social movements in recent memory. Statistics are equally disturbing in the middle and high school context. As a result, the federal government under President Obama stepped up its civil rights enforcement in this area, with over 250 colleges and universities currently under investigation for allegedly mishandling student sexual assault complaints. At the same time, students accused of sexual assault have complained of botched processes driven by a “campus rape over-correction” that denied them a fair disciplinary hearing. It is clear that schools are struggling to develop and implement policies and procedures that satisfy their legal obligations in this area. While the future of federal enforcement under the Trump Administration is uncertain, schools are still subject to federal and state law that require them have policies and procedures to address sexual harassment and violence.
This course focuses on the legal and policy issues surrounding the highly challenging area of investigation and adjudication of sexual assault and other gender-motivated violence on college campuses and in K12 schools. It will cover the federal and state legal frameworks governing these procedures including Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Clery Act, and examine current cases as well as the rapidly-evolving legal, federal regulatory, and political environment surrounding this issue. Guest speakers working in the area will help to broaden the class’s understanding of the subject matter. Students in this seminar will have the opportunity to participate in the invitation-only national conference entitled The Way Forward: Title IX Advocacy in the Trump Era, which will be held May 1-2 at Stanford Law School and is organized in conjunction with the National Women’s Law Center. See [http://conferences.law.stanford.edu/thewayforward-title9/] for more information on the conference.