On October 4, 2022, the American Bar Association (ABA) Administration Law and Regulatory Practice Section’s Education Committee hosted a panel discussion on the new Title IX regulations. Patricia Hamill, Co-Chair of Conrad O’Brien’s Title IX and Campus Discipline practice, served as a panelist on the session “Reviewing the Department of Education’s Proposed Title IX Regulations.” Patricia spoke alongside fellow Title IX practitioners.
In June, the Department of Education proposed new Title IX regulations that will change how educational institutions nationwide respond to allegations of sex discrimination. Released just over two years after former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ Title IX regulations took effect in August 2020, and amidst a continuing flurry of litigation, the new rules would once again recalibrate institutional obligations to both reporting victims and students accused of sexual misconduct. At the close of the public comment period, the Department of Education has received more than 235,000 comments to the proposed Title IX regulations (including those filed by Patricia Hamill and Lorie Dakessian). The proposed regulations have been met with both praise and criticism from advocates and attorneys and this panel discussion took a closer look at the proposed regulations.
Patricia noted that some of the most noteworthy changes is the proposed return to the single-investigator model and the return to no requirement of a live hearing. Under the 2020 regulations, a complaint going through the formal process would result in a hearing, including the parties being allowed an advisor, cross-examination, and witnesses. Now schools have discretion not to conduct a live hearing and to return to a single investigator where one person decides whether a student should be found responsible.
“I think the fact that you can have a single person play all of these roles is a recipe for trouble.”
Patricia joined fellow Title IX practitioners Joseph Storch, the Senior Director of Compliance and Innovation Solutions for Grand River Solutions, and Laura L. Dunn, victim rights attorney and campus sexual assault expert, and the panel was moderated by Will Creeley, Legal Director at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.