Lawsuit Alleging Racial Bias in Title IX Case at Harvard Dismissed

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

Title IX policies on college campuses aim to protect students, faculty, and staff from sexual harassment and gender discrimination. While these policies and the administrators who oversee them often do their job to provide justice to victims of sexual violence and assault, Title IX cases are also regularly mishandled. Sexual harassment is a charged topic and intersects with other issues, such as race and disability rights.

A recent case involving a Harvard student shows how easily university staff can discriminate against students in Title IX cases.

Civil Lawsuit Against Harvard for Title IX Discrimination

On May 24, a federal court dismissed a civil lawsuit filed by an unnamed Harvard student. The civil suit alleged that Harvard discriminated against him on the basis of race and gender, mishandling the case because he is an “African-American male.”

The unnamed student accused Harvard of failing to offer him the presumption of innocence, depriving him of a “meaningful opportunity” to respond to the charges against him, and twice declining him and his accuser's joint requests for informal resolution. Following their investigation, Harvard imposed a sanction requiring the accused student to withdraw from the university for four semesters. The accused student also felt this sanction was “unwarranted and disproportionate” to the circumstances.

This recent Harvard case isn't the only lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in handling a Title IX investigation. A Black football player at Dartmouth also filed suit against his university in January 2021 for racial discrimination, breach of contract, and negligence related to a 2020 Title IX investigation.

As more lawsuits are filed related to racial bias and Title IX, it's becoming clear that there's a race problem with Title IX procedures on many college campuses.

Barriers to Justice for Black Students in Title IX Cases

Title IX experts point out the obstacles Black students are more likely to face as defendants in a Title IX case than their white peers. One factor is a lack of diversity of college administrators. More than 70 percent of Title IX coordinators on college campuses are white women, and it's common for university hearing panels to comprise only white staff members. Past lawsuits filed by men of color who were defendants in Title IX cases have also noted a perceived racial bias in the types of questions administrators ask at hearings and in the demeanor of investigators during interviews.

When university administrators cannot hide their biases in Title IX meetings and hearings, it prevents a fair investigation from taking place and denies Black students justice.

Considering Race in University Sexual Assault Cases

If you're a student of color accused of a Title IX violation at your school, you may feel worried about your institution handling your case justly. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a nationwide legal expert specializing in Title IX and student misconduct and he can help advise you and ensure your rights are protected at schools and in courts across the country. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for more information.

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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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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