Satawa Law, PLLC. recently has won another Title IX hearing, as the office for title 9 and institutional equity at University in Western Michigan “unanimously determined that the preponderance of evidence does not support a finding that the responded engaged in sexual assault or sexual harassment.”Read More

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When Title IX And Title IX Reform Goes Awry

Everyone should be clear about what Title IX disciplinary hearings are about. The typical Title IX case is one student accusing a fellow student of a “date rape” type sexual assault, following a date, or a night of drinking at the bar. They are NOT about Larry Nassar.

Let’s make this clear – Nassar was a monster. I like Elisa Slotkin, and I am not a big fan of Education Secretary DeVoss. But the reforms DeVoss introduced to bring Title IX hearings back under control are a huge step in the right direction – a common sense effort to ensuring a fair hearing and respectful treatment to both sides, accuser and accused, before someone is kicked out of school or off campus.

Under the rules prior to these reforms, the accused was frequently denied basic due process at most colleges and universities. They could not be represented by counsel, confront the accuser, ask her questions, or even be in the same room. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in multiple cases over the past several months that colleges must protect the due process of their students in these hearings, by allowing basic rights such as cross-examination. These changes are long overdue, serve an important check against false accusations, and prevent innocent students from being suspended or expelled. Secretary DeVoss’ reforms mostly codify these rulings.

Rep. Slotkin proposed legislation last week that would prevent the Education Department from implementing the proposed rule changes to Title IX, claiming that these changes could impact victims of Nassar by shielding Michigan State from liability or allowing the university to ignore certain claims.

The Nassar case, and those like it at Ohio State and Penn State, make up a minute fraction of what Title IX does. MSU continues to face numerous law suits for its role in Nassar’s transgressions. However, Title IX is not shielding MSU, or Larry Nassar, from being held accountable to these victims Instead, Rep. Slotkin’s bills would hurt the 19 year old college sophomore, falsely accused of sexual assault, facing expulsion from school for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl he met at the bar one night.

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Mark Satawa

Mark Satawa is a criminal defense attorney specialized in forensic DNA,
sex crimes, child abuse, shaken baby, medical child abuse, white collar,
and federal crimes.