Students Sue Hillsdale College for Inadequate Response to Sexual Assaults, Testing the Limits of Title IX

Two students have filed a federal class-action lawsuit accusing Hillsdale College, a small but influential religious institution in rural Michigan, of failing to establish and enforce proper policies for preventing and responding to sexual assaults, thereby creating a hostile educational environment and exposing students to a high risk of sexual assault.

While Hillsdale boasts of its adherence to conservative Christian values and the safety of its campus, the students claim the college conducts inadequate sexual assault investigations without transparency or accountability, issues arbitrary decisions, and silences and blames survivors. 

Loopholes in Licensing Agreements Discriminate Against Female College Athletes

Beginning in 2020, many state legislatures began to pass laws that declared that college athletes had the right to sell or license their names, images and likenesses (NILs), and that their eligibility for athletics could not be taken away due to their exercise of those rights.

The monetization of athlete NILs through legitimately independent third parties is not problematic—but once there is university cooperation and involvement, Title IX requires equal treatment of women. There is ample evidence of close and growing university involvement with the collectives, and various estimates put the share of NIL money going to male athletes ranges to be between 80 and 95 percent.

Female Athletes Sue University of Oregon for ‘Hurtful, Outrageous Sex Discrimination’

Thirty-two current and former female student athletes at the University of Oregon filed a Title IX class-action lawsuit, alleging sex discrimination in athletic participation opportunities, financial aid, benefits and publicity.

“Title IX has been the law for more than 50 years. Oregon needs to comply with it, now,” said Arthur Bryant of the law firm Bailey & Glasser, which represents the plaintiffs. “The history of Title IX has shown: If women want equality, they need to fight for it. So that’s what the women at Oregon are doing.”

Students and Advocates ‘Frustrated’ With Biden Administration’s Slow Response to Finalize Title IX Changes

Democrats in Congress, students and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are growing frustrated with the Biden administration’s slow pace to finalize proposed updates to Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools. More than 60 House Democrats sent a recent letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, calling on the agency to act. 

“So for the last three years, and now fourth school year, student survivors have fewer rights. Now it’s getting close to 2024 and we don’t know when a final rule will come out. So students are frustrated, and we’re frustrated as advocates.” 

Sexual Assault Accusers Can Be Sued for Defamation. This Will Discourage Survivors from Coming Forward.

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has allowed Saifullah Kahn, a student accused of sexual assault, to sue his accuser for defamation, relying on a Connecticut Supreme Court opinion finding that the accuser was not entitled to absolute immunity for statements she made during a Title IX proceeding.

This decision will have a chilling effect on sexual assault survivors’ willingness to come forward, as they are now vulnerable to defamation and other civil suits, which are increasingly used to silence and intimidate victims. But the ruling also could impact how schools conduct future Title IX proceedings, and influence proposed new Title IX regulations, which the Biden administration has been working on since 2020.

Why Sororities Should Admit Nonbinary Members 

Fa Guzmán, a nonbinary student, was thrilled to join a sorority in August 2022. Thus, they were shocked in April 2023, when the national sorority organization decided to interpret their policies differently: Fa was banned, kicked out of the sorority with no opportunity to appeal, due to being nonbinary. 

Gender nonconforming, nonbinary and transgender children, teens and adults have been increasingly subjected to restrictive legislation and policies that deny their gender, their bodily autonomy and their agency. On college campuses, sororities could offer close friendships and a deeper sense of belonging on campus—if it weren’t for national policies that often restrict membership based on sex assigned at birth.

Demand IX Student Fellows Urge Campus Leaders to Rededicate Themselves to Title IX

Focused on Title IX education and advocacy, Women X’s cross-campus fellowship has engaged 35 diverse women college students from 20 campuses across 10 U.S. states. For 12 weeks, the fellowship leads a select number of undergraduate students across college campuses. Those accepted into the cohort receive a scholarship covering the full cost of tuition, along with a stipend. Fellows spend the semester learning about Title IX with other student leaders across the country and collaborating on initiatives to spread its message on their campus.

Applications are currently open for upcoming cohorts of the Women X Demand IX fellowship, and the fellowship continues to expand.