Social media is a multifaceted medium for people to express themselves, market, date, gain access to information, and more. It comes as no surprise that the likes of this platform and federal laws like Title IX have become interwoven, creating a web of complex issues that won't be easily resolved.
Much like the upsides mentioned above, in terms of misconduct, it is evident that social media has been an effective tool in combating toxic behaviors like sexual harassment and sexual assault. Powerful movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp were established on the internet, and they went on to generate widespread awareness of the gravity of sexual harassment and assault rates across the globe. But with such a boundless platform also comes inherent downsides. Social media has become a breeding ground for wrongdoers to further perpetuate inappropriate conduct and behavior at sometimes a more impactful degree.
College and university administrators are seeing a prevalent issue with students using social media sites to harass each other and/or create a hostile environment. As they receive complaints, social media has been cited as a factor in these incidents frequently. Likewise, social media platforms have been commonly identified as supporting evidence in a victim's claims, or in the defense of an accused student in the Title IX process.
Social media platforms like Yik Yak, have made it exceptionally difficult for schools to gather enough information to deter instances of bullying, harassment, and hostile behavior from affecting students. Yik Yak is an iOs and Android application that allows individuals to post anonymous messages that can be seen by anyone within a set radius. It's been heavily adopted by college students who have been known to display pretty profane messages.
The difficulties administrators face with Yik Yak and similar apps lie in determining if this harassment rises to a level that denies or limits a student's ability to participate in school and if it technically creates a hostile environment. These factors dictate if a school is liable for adjudicating any incident of misconduct under Title IX. Sometimes the harassing behavior may not have been initiated on campus (because it is on social media), but it interferes with a student's ability to receive an education.
These loosely defined markers in what constitutes misconduct have been the crux of multiple lawsuits brought by both accusers and the accused. Until these details are clarified, these problems will remain.
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.