Students at Dickinson College are staging a sit-in to protest deficiencies in the college's Title IX process. Those issues, after simmering behind the scenes for years, were thrown into the limelight by an article published in the school's student newspaper. If true, they are a glaring example of how drastically different a Title IX case can be, depending on the school investigating it.
Students Protest Title IX Policies at Dickinson College
More than 250 students at Dickinson College are protesting with a sit-in at the Holland Union building – the school's center for student life. They are demanding immediate changes to the college's Title IX policies, and insist that they will not leave the premises until their demands are met.
Protest Follows Scathing Newspaper Article Written By Alleged Victim
The protest comes on the heels of an article published in the school's student newspaper, The Dickinsonian. That article, “I'm Done Waiting for Dickinson to Take Sexual Assault Seriously,” was written by a student and details her Title IX case after a male student allegedly sexually assaulted her in a campus dorm.
According to the article, the Title IX case took 209 days to complete – far longer than the recommended 60 days until Title IX's federal regulations. The length and stress of the investigation, according to the author, caused her to nearly drop out of school.
Even more damning than the long investigation, though, are the allegations that Dickinson College violated Title IX in numerous other ways, including:
- Not mentioning the sexual assault in the annual campus crime report as mandated by the Clery Act
- Not having a dedicated Title IX Coordinator at the school for seven years
- Using the Dean of Students as the “interim” Title IX Coordinator
The article also claims that the school forbids accusers from accessing the investigation report, and even rescinded the No Contact Order they had issued against the accused student, even though a panel had found him guilty of the assault.
Inconsistencies Like This are Widespread
Unfortunately, without a set of mandatory national guidelines for how colleges have to handle and investigate Title IX allegations, discrepancies like this are going to be rampant as each college cobbles together its own set of rules for investigating and hearing cases. With little more than loose requirements from Title IX regulations, colleges have lots of different options for lots of different situations. The result is a Title IX procedure that can look radically different between one school and another.
The lack of uniformity is not just a source of confusion: It is a source of conflicting and sometimes even contradictory results. Similar cases can have drastically different outcomes, just because they happened on different campuses.
Title IX Advisor and Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
The lack of a set Title IX process across all schools means each case is handled in a new and unique way – something that does not always bode well for people who have been accused of sexual misconduct.