How to Avoid a Title IX Litigation Landmine

Cheryl Smith


Cheryl Smith
Western New England University             
General  Counsel and Title IX Coordinator



I have served as General Counsel at Western New England for 16 years, and as Title IX Coordinator since April 2017. Balancing the rights of both the Complainant and the Respondent is a tightrope that every University is facing; Much litigation filed by parties in these cases stems from dissatisfaction with outcomes; therefore, process and appeal rights, and well as detailed and robust investigations are essential. Fairness and equity must be afforded to both parties.

The talk will provide a summary of the legal landscape of this issue in the six years since the OCR issued the Dear Colleague letter; It will then provide hypotheticals for discussion as to the issue of consent; student conduct issues will be discussed wherein there may be Title IX violations, and other conduct issues that may be not be Title IX, but may be offenses under the University’s code of conduct; what types of cases are ripe for informal resolution? what types are cases require investigation and adjudication; what hearing format is best to ensure equity and fairness to both parties.

  • Never assume culpability or innocence.
  • Document to ensure impartiality and fairness
  • Social media postings and texts and voice mail are always  essential evidence in investigating these types of issues for credibility assessments.

Download Presentation File (PDF)



Full 2018 Conference Schedule