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The New York Times Interviews Justin Dillon About Betsy DeVos’s Proposed Changes To The Title IX Process

On September 7th, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that she would be reviewing 2011 guidance on university sexual assault policies that she blamed for the “sad reality . . . that Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today.”

In its lead article covering Secretary DeVos’s speech, The New York Times interviewed Kaiser Dillon partner Justin Dillon, who has represented dozens of students nationwide in campus sexual misconduct cases.  He told the Times that, although they would never admit it, schools will likely welcome the impending changes.

“I think this is being secretly cheered by every university general counsel in the country,” Dillon said.

The 2011 guidance – which threatened to withhold federal funds unless universities adjudicated sexual assault complaints under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, and imposed many other burdensome requirements that violated basic concepts of due process – has pressured administrators to pursue life-altering disciplinary findings against students despite less than “beyond reasonable doubt” certainty.

In 2016, Dillon sued the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of a wrongly accused UVA law student and Oklahoma Wesleyan University, challenging the Department’s legal authority to issue the 2011 guidance and asserting that it “trampled” on his client’s rights. He told the Times that his clients would be delighted with Secretary DeVos’s speech, which vindicates the battle they have been fighting for more than a year.

“Fundamentally,” Dillon said, “my clients got into this because they felt strongly they wanted to be part of the fight against what they saw as unlawful conduct.”

Justin Dillon can be reached at jdillon@kaiserdillon.com.