How Do Title IX Offices Respond When It is a Man Who Says He's Being Harassed?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jan 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

A professor at the University of Florida reluctantly brought a Title IX claim against the institution in an attempt to stop persistent sexual harassment.

The big difference between this case and all of the others: the professor is a man and the alleged harassers are women.

The way that the Title IX office and the school handled the case highlights how heavily the system relies on gender-based presumptions, rather than neutral fact-finding efforts.

Male Professor's Allegations of Sexual Harassment Get Brushed Aside

The claims come from the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida. There, a male assistant professor claims that he was repeatedly subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of two female staff members at the college.

The alleged harassment began in November 2017, at a conference in Atlanta. There, the two female staffers allegedly touched the male professor's “upper thigh” under the table during a dinner. They also suggested that he come back to one of their rooms. He reminded them that he was married and rejected their advances.

That incident led to an anonymous complaint with the school from a fellow professor in the college who had witnessed the ordeal. The male professor also went to the dean of the college.

They didn't stop, though, according to the eventual investigation's findings. The professor's office shared a wall with one of the staffers, providing lots of opportunities. When he asked for a new office, he was shut down. When he told the deans of the school (both of whom were women), he was confronted with aggressive skepticism and was accused of lying, with alleged quotes that included:

  • “That couldn't have happened”
  • “What did you do to make her feel she could do that?”
  • “Why didn't you stop this more?”

Even though the deans were mandatory reporters, neither one promptly notified the Title IX office.

Even though he didn't want to make a Title IX case out of it, he eventually filed complaints against both women. Those investigations confirmed that he'd be subjected to sexual harassment.

Response Betrays Gender Bias in Title IX Investigations

These incidents happened from 2017 through 2019, so it's not as if the Title IX revolution had yet to begin. Nevertheless, the professor was subjected to the very same kind of distrust and suspicion that lots of alleged victims used to say was the problem with Title IX. The only difference between the claims that he was making and those that a lot of other alleged victims make was that he was a man.

Title IX Defense Lawyer and National Advisor: Joseph D. Lento

Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and a national Title IX advisor who legally represents the accused in allegations of sexual misconduct. The vast majority of these cases involve women claiming that a man harassed or assaulted them, with victim's advocate organizations rallying around accusers, insisting that they be believed.

When the alleged victim is a man, though, all of that energy seems to have fizzled.

Call attorney Lento at (888) 535-3686 or contact him online for help.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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