News & Events

Justin Dillon and Matt Kaiser Author Washington Post Op-Ed on the Future of Title IX Investigations

In a recent op-ed published in The Washington Post partners Justin Dillon and Matt Kaiser welcomed coming changes to federal rules governing how universities investigate alleged sexual misconduct.

“This is extraordinarily good and long-overdue news for anyone who cares about due process on college campuses,” Dillon and Kaiser wrote of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s announcement this week that her department would reconsider 2011 guidance that imposed sprawling investigatory duties on university officials.

As Dillon and Kaiser explained, the Department of Education “has essentially required college administrators — few of whom have any legal training — to be police, lawyer, judge, jury and often executioner for both sides whenever an allegation of sexual misconduct is raised.  Unsurprisingly, schools aren’t very good at this.  They err often . . . usually in favor of the accusers, not the accused.”

Although DeVos did not say what the Education Department’s new rules might look like, Dillon and Kaiser cheered the even-handed tone of her speech.

“As lawyers who have represented scores of students in campus sexual misconduct proceedings across the country,” they wrote, “we applaud the secretary’s careful, evenhanded, and sympathetic approach to a very difficult problem.  Her compassion for both those who have been affected by sexual violence, and those who have had their lives shattered by a false complaint was moving and inspiring.”

For Dillon and Kaiser, the coming public discussion of the future rules is a victory in and of itself and a vindication of their decision, along with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, to sue the Department over its illegal promulgation of the previous guidance.  “Last year, we sued the department to have the prior regulations disregarded because they weren’t subject to notice and comment,” they wrote.  “The secretary is right to follow the law with these proposals.”

The current guidance “is gone; that much is clear,” Kaiser and Dillon concluded.  “What isn’t clear is what will replace it as the notice-and-comment process marches on.”

Justin Dillon can be reached at [email protected]

Matt Kaiser can be reached at [email protected]