Over the past week, millions of Americans have been on the edge of their seats watching the explosive hearing involving Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford. Both Kavanaugh and Ford gave their testimony of their account of an alleged sexual assault before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, and they now await confirmation delayed by a week-long FBI investigation.
The accusations surfaced when Ford told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh had attempted to rape her at a house party the two attended in Maryland in the 1980s. She alleges that Kavanaugh drunkenly took her into a bedroom and tried to take her clothes off, using his hand to cover her mouth as she screamed for help. This disclosure triggered a flurry of allegations against Kavanaugh from women with strikingly similar accounts of sexual assault perpetrated by him. The allegations, all of which he has denied, have deferred the nominee's confirmation process.
The allegations have undoubtedly affected Kavanaugh's life in many aspects, including his professional life. Before the hearing, he was due to teach a three-week law course at Harvard University this year. But more than 800 alumni and current students signed a letter asking Harvard to cancel the class.
Additionally, nearly 50 student activists joined forces around campus to file Title IX complainants against Kavanaugh. Students claimed that they felt that Kavanaugh's presence would create a “hostile environment” on campus - a definition of sexual harassment as defined by Harvard guidelines. Students activists weighed in on the decision to take matters into their own hands and file Title IX complaints.
“It would be pretty terrifying for any survivor or any person to walk into a building on campus and see someone who has been alleged of a very serious crime,” Harvard student Julia Weiner said.
Title IX of the Education Amendments mandates sex equality in education. Under current guidelines, colleges and universities are responsible for adjudicating sexual misconduct.
Obviously, advocates feel that filing complaints is the most effective way to get the school to prevent Kavanaugh's attendance on campus. They feel that filing formal complaints against known perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment is exactly what the process is intended for. Critics, on the other hand, feel like the process is being weaponized to unwarrantedly silence people who they don't like.
Regardless of one's stance on this use of Title IX, one thing is for sure: the Department of Education is taking note. Secretary Betsy DeVos is currently reforming current guidelines, and given her political values on issues such as this one, we might see changes based on this occurrence.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.