Title IX is a federal law designed to promote equality on college campuses. The basic premise behind this law is that men and women student are to be treated equally on college campuses throughout the country. In response to this law, many colleges and universities have hired Title IX coordinators and have provided extensive Title IX training to it’s employees. At Foley Griffin, we were fortunate to be hired and trained by St. John’s University to oversee the University Conduct Board investigations of Title IX violations. In this unique position, we have gain valuable experience in the investigation and prompt resolution of these challenging cases.
Recently Florida State University resolved a Title IX lawsuit with a female college student who accused star quarterback, Jameis Winston, of rape. To be clear, the lawsuit settlement did not necessarily have as much to do with the underlying claims of rape as it did with the University’s response to the claims made by the female student. In essence, the settlement agreement was a promise by Florida State to make significant changes to the procedures utilized to respond to a student’s allegations of a sexual offense. Florida State has agreed to hire a “Title IX” coordinator to oversee the handling of these types of allegations. Although many universities have already hired Title IX coordinators, it is better late than never. It appears from news accounts that the University conducted a sketchy investigation of the student’s allegations at best.
The University also agreed to a financial settlement of $950,000.00. Of that money, $700,000.00 is allocated to attorney fees. Finally, it is important to note that this settlement in now way ends the United States Government’s investigation into the University’s handling of the female student’s allegations. Thus, it is possible, that the University will face further sanctions when the US government’s Office of Civil Rights, completes their investigation.