Education Civil Rights

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UPDATE: UConn Settles Sexual Assault Lawsuit for $1.3 Million

We recently reported that five former and current students filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Connecticut (“UConn”) alleging discrimination and that the university failed to properly investigate claims of rape...more

Public Bleachers Constructed Prior to the ADA Don't Need Additional Improvements if a Viable Alternative is Offered

Published Case Provides Blueprint for Viable Alternative Seating - The Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not require a public entity to structurally alter existing bleacher seating...more

Summertime Blues: T.M. v. Cornwall and The Mainstreaming of Extended-School-Year Programs

In a decision that will likely result in both practical challenges and financial burdens for public school districts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in T.M. v. Cornwall Central School District...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds the Use of Race in Admissions at the University of Texas

For a second time, the Fifth Circuit dismissed Abigail Fisher’s claim against the University of Texas at Austin (the “University”), holding that the University’s admissions policy, including the use of race as a factor,...more

Race-Based Admissions and Assignment Policies Survive Another Legal Challenge in Fisher v. University of Texas

Last year, I blogged about the impact of a higher education Supreme Court diversity case, Fisher v. University of Texas on K-12 schools. As discussed in that blog, although the decision was a higher education decision, it...more

University of Texas’s Use of Race In Student Admissions Survives Another Legal Hurdle

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided this week that the University of Texas’s consideration of race as a factor among many factors for college and university admissions is legally permissible in Fisher v....more

Fifth Circuit Issues Important Ruling on Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Earlier this week, in Fisher v. University of Texas, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the undergraduate admissions program at the University of Texas at...more

Religious Institutions Update

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that an existing contraceptive coverage mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act statute that applies to for-profit closely held corporations...more

Easy A's for Athletes - UNC committing academic fraud?

The University of North Carolina has been criticized in recent years since it was revealed that they offered hundreds of Afro-American Studies classes that required no attendance and only asked students to write a single...more

Who Got It Right?

Gallaudet University Chief Diversity Officer Angela McCaskill’s job was to promote a diverse and inclusive university community. Not only was she the institution’s first chief diversity officer, she was the first black, deaf...more

Sex Discrimination--No debate. Decision to hire male professor not gender discrimination

Famous college football player and coach Bear Bryant is credited with saying, “I didn’t have a thing to do with picking a coach, and didn’t want to. But I didn’t think they’d pick one I didn’t like.” Bryant’s statement...more

Wells v. Xavier University: Investigating Campus Sexual Assaults and The Perils of Predetermination Under Title IX

The recent wave of Title IX complaints filed with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”], claiming that colleges and universities were either ignoring or mishandling reports of sexual...more

Bullying: Slowly But Surely, the Law Recognizes an Age-Old Problem

How far is too far when it comes to protecting your child from an alleged school bully? A mother in Santa Rosa, California may very well have pushed the limits of good parenting in attempts to protect her daughter earlier...more

School Segregation of Special Needs Students

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) requires public schools to develop an Individualized Education Program for every student with a disability who is found to meet the federal and state requirements for...more

Supreme Court Deals Affirmative Action Another Blow, But Impact on Colleges and Universities Likely Limited

The U.S. Supreme Court continued its decade-long interest in the role of affirmative action in the higher education admissions process, and decided to uphold a state law banning the practice. In Schuette v. Coalition to...more

Chapman University to Pay $75,000 to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Suit

University Fired Black Professor After Being Denied Tenure Due to Race, Federal Agency Charged - SAN DIEGO - Chapman University, a private university in Orange, Calif., will pay $75,000 and furnish other relief to...more

OCR Issues Guidance Reminding Charter Schools of Application of Federal Civil Rights Laws

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, or national origin), Title IX of the Civil...more

School Districts: New York Supreme Court Holds That Public School District May Be Liable For Alleged Bullying Of Private School...

On May 14, 2014, in J.G.S. v. Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County held that the parents of a minor student could proceed with their lawsuit against the school...more

Federal Court Turns Away School District’s Attorney-Fee Claim

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas has rejected a claim for attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b), which authorizes courts to award reasonable fees in actions to enforce civil rights statutes...more

DOJ Enters into ‘Landmark’ Settlement with Law School Admission Council

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a “landmark” consent decree with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to resolve allegations of “widespread and systemic” violations of the Americans with...more

Supreme Court Rules Public Universities In Michigan Can't Consider Race In Admission Decisions - In Schuette v. Coalition To...

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, et al. on April 22, 2014, in which plaintiffs challenged a voter-approved amendment to Michigan's constitution prohibiting...more

Confidentiality and Title IX

In OCR’s April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, OCR referenced a covered institution’s obligations in the face of knowledge of sexual harassment/misconduct and a victim’s request for confidentiality and/or that the institution not...more

Service animals in residence halls – an overview of federal requirements

Increasingly, students with disabilities bring service animals to college campuses. This means that educational institutions must sort through an array of competing federal and state laws governing the use of such animals in...more

Recent Federal Guidance On Title IX And Sexual Violence

Over the last several weeks, colleges and universities have been inundated with new Title IX and sexual violence guidance and enforcement decisions to digest. First, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights...more

Has the SCRA been amended for everyone?

Not only student loan servicers, but all companies, particularly those subject to the CFPB’s supervisory authority, face new compliance risk under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (the “SCRA”) as a result of the stunning...more

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