Two months after they hired him and three weeks after we blogged about it, Michigan State University and retired appellate court judge Michael Talbot have announced that they are parting ways.
The announcement comes as a blow to a college beset with problems in their Title IX process, that is on a tight schedule to overhaul its investigation and hearing process for sexual misconduct cases, and that is still reeling from the Larry Nasser scandal.
Michigan State University Parts Way with Judge, Citing Scheduling Conflicts
Michigan State has been scrambling to correct its Title IX process after a federal appellate court ruled that it violated an accused student's due process rights if they were not allowed to cross-examine complainants and other witnesses. In an attempt to remove the tarnish on the school's reputation from the Larry Nasser scandal – the former U.S. national gymnastics team doctor had worked at MSU – the university sought the help of a retired judge from the Michigan Court of Appeals, Michael Talbot.
Judge Talbot had not just risen in the ranks on the bench; he had also served as a chairman at the Archdiocese of Detroit, where he reviewed sexual abuse allegations against the clergy, there.
News that Judge Talbot would join MSU to create a new Title IX process that would investigate and hear allegations of sexual misconduct while still preserving an accused student's due process rights was seen as a good sign.
The relationship lasted a mere two months. The official reasons given for the parting of ways were “scheduling difficulties.” Judge Talbot had been brought on board to oversee six sexual misconduct cases that were being used to test Michigan State University's newly revamped Title IX procedure.
Since being hired, though, he had only conducted pre-hearings on two cases.
Judge Talbot lives in Detroit, while the hearings took place at MSU's campus in East Lansing, a 90-minute drive away.
What Now for Troubled Michigan State?
Michigan State still has to reform its Title IX process to bring it back in line with the constitutional rights of accused students. Without the professional eye of a retired judge on the case – someone whose job it had been to impose due process on a contentious litigation – Michigan State finds itself facing a lot of guesswork, once again. It will have to decide where to draw the line between the interests of the accuser and the rights of the accused.
Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and a national Title IX advisor. He helps accused students navigate a complicated investigation and hearing system that can – and often is – designed so they fail it. Overcoming these problems with the system can be difficult, but preserving your rights, your future, and your reputation is well worth the effort.
If you have been accused of sexual misconduct and are facing Title IX charges at your college or university, reach out to Joseph D. Lento by calling his law office at (888) 535-3686 or by contacting him online.