The Law and Higher Ed Podcast

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Episode 1: About this podcast and your host, Courtney Bullard

In this first episode, Courtney covers the purpose of The Law and Higher Ed Podcast, what you can expect from each episode, a primer on the law related to Title IX compliance and a little about her own background, including fun facts!

 

 

Episode 2: The intersectionality of the ADA and Title IX with Dr. Michelle Rigler

Michelle, ADA expert and director of the Disability Resource Center at UTC, sits down with Courtney to discuss the ADA and ways that accommodations may present themselves in Title IX matters. Michelle shares how she came to be an expert in the field, how she built a robust DRC at her institution, and the ways her office works with the Title IX process on campus. Her approach is so crucial at a time when more and more members of campus communities are presenting on the ASD spectrum. Legal primers, some basics on the unique considerations on Title IX training for students with ASD and fun facts about Michelle are also part of the discussion.

 

 

Episode 3: A conversation with Tiffany Cox on microaggressions and Title IX

This episode explores microaggressions and the many ways they impact a college campus. Tiffany Cox, Title IX Coordinator for Rhodes College, explains what constitutes a microaggression and how they present themselves in the classroom, workplace, and even Title IX compliance. She provides great resources to consider in educating yourself and your campus to create a more inclusive environment. A former practicing attorney and law student with Courtney, Tiffany also shares how she came into higher education, diversity and inclusion, and Title IX compliance and her experience working at a large state institution versus a small private college.

 

 

Episode 4: The tragic consequences of hazing: Lianne Kowiak shares her story

Tragically, Harrison Kowiak passed away as a freshman in college in a hazing incident. His mother, Lianne, has become an advocate sharing Harrison’s story across the country to hopefully prevent another family from experiencing the same heart break. A moving conversation, Lianne shares not only Harrison’s life, but the moments when they were with him as a family when he passed away – something no family ever expects to endure. Lianne also breaks down the definition of hazing and provides some sobering statistics at the K-12 and college level.

 

 

Episode 5: Informational Episode – Know Your Role in Title IX Compliance

In this informational episode, Courtney provides the foundation for her practice – ensuring everyone on campus knows their role in compliance with Title IX and related laws and regulations.  Courtney shares a few examples of what can happen when folks either do not know their role or do not know that they have a role, in compliance as well as some tips for Title IX Coordinators as they assess their campus compliance efforts. 

 

 

Episode 6: Part 1 — Title IX Investigations the NPRM and more with Scott Schneider

Courtney and Scott had so much to discuss that this Episode is 2 parts!  They have a candid discussion about the highs and lows of being a lawyer and what brought each of them to higher education law.  Scott shares some interesting things that he worked on in-house (hint:  A Camel Use Agreement for Hump Day) and you will hear about both of their experiences interviewing for the in-house position – so if you have any interest in going in-house this episode is for you!  Scott also talks about when an institution should consider hiring an outside investigator for a Title IX matter.

 

 

Episode 7: Part 2 — Title IX Investigations the NPRM and more with Scott Schneider

Courtney and Scott continue their conversation, delving into the NPRM, the traits of a good Title IX investigator and the difficulties of the job.  Do not miss the end where Scott shares what he would be doing if he were not a lawyer – which completely shocked Courtney – and his day of hooky (shhh…) where he learned that maybe there are some cool lawyers out there besides the two of them.   

Contact Scott or follow him on Twitter @EdLawDude

 

 

Episode 8: Part 1 – Due Process, Strong Title IX Policies, How to Create an Effective Title IX Team and More with Leigh Parker

Do you know the difference between due process and a fair process?  In this episode, Courtney and Leigh Parker, Title IX Coordinator for Life University, delve into the many facets of Title IX compliance – there is so much content that it is divided up into 2 parts again!  They touch on considerations for an effective Title IX Policy, conflicts of interest, who should serve on a Title IX team, due process versus a fair process and even self-care.  Leigh brings her passion for the profession and her experience both advising independent colleges and now as a Title IX Coordinator to the conversation in sharing her philosophy on ensuring campuses comply with both the spirit and the letter of the law.  They finish with some fun facts!

 

 

Episode 9: Part 2- Due Process Strong Title IX Policies How to Create an Effective Title IX Team and More with Leigh Parker

In Part 2 of Courtney and Leigh’s conversation, they discuss how to manage conflicts of interest on your Title IX team, the single investigator model against current trends in litigation and self-care.  Be sure to tune in to the end to learn about Leigh’s recipe for self-care and what she would be doing if she were not in higher ed…. Hint – Broadway!!!  Title IX Coordinators and their team do not want to miss these episodes with Leigh Parker, Title IX Coordinator at Life University.

 

 

Episode 10: Informational: Courtney Bullard’s Top 10 for Title IX Coordinators

In Episode 10, Courtney shares the Top 10 mistakes she sees campuses make in their Title IX compliance efforts.  Be sure to tune in to this informational episode if you are a Title IX Coordinator or Title IX investigator in order to be thinking critically about your campus process as you look to enter the new academic year.

 

 

Episode 11: Educating your trustees, the evolution of gender equity in athletics and youth sports with Bill Nuttall

In this episode, Courtney talks with her dad, Bill Nuttall, who is the Chairman for the Board of Trustees at his institution.  They discuss educating your board of trustees from the perspective of a board member who served at a time that his institution faced a Title IX matter, as well as the broader concept of the role of a board member and a board on college campuses. Their conversation then turns to the evolution of gender equity in college athletics in the 70s and concludes with a discussion of youth sports and minors on campus. As always, Courtney ends with some fun facts – and that discussion bleeds into helicopter and curler parents.  Title IX Coordinators, as well as parents of minors in youth sports, should tune in to this episode!

 

 

Episode 12: An interview with Sarah Brown, Senior Reporter at the Chronicle for Higher Education, on the legal landscape in higher ed

Courtney sits down with Sarah Brown, Senior Reporter at the Chronicle, to discuss the complex landscape of higher education and what is grabbing her attention right now.  They discuss the evolution of Title IX since 2011 from her perspective as a college student at the time, the challenges she faces in covering Title IX matters, Sarah’s article about the concept of “passing the harasser”, the hot legal landscape that exists from her perspective reporting on the myriad of issues facing colleges and universities today and so much more (hint: horse jockey!).  If you work in higher ed, you do not want to miss this episode.

 

 

Episode 13: Dr. Laura McGuire on consent, trauma-informed practices and restorative justice

In this episode Courtney talks with Dr. Laura McGuire, sexologist, trauma-informed specialist, consent educator, and inclusion consultant.  They talk about a controversial topic head-on – trauma-informed practices in Title IX cases – starting with the basics of what being trauma-informed means and ending with whether it is appropriate in campus cases involving sexual misconduct.  Laura explains what a sexologist is, why consent is complicated, and the work she has done incorporating restorative justice in cases of sexual misconduct.  She also shares interesting insight into her journey into this work and a fun fact we promise you will not see coming!  If you are a Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Investigator, or a higher ed administrator, in general, this episode is for you.  

 

 

Episode 14: Title IX and International Programs with Jill Creighton

In this episode, Courtney talks with Jill Creighton, Dean of Students & Associate Vice President for Campus Life at Washington State University, about Title IX and Clery compliance abroad. Jill shares her experience navigating Title IX and Clery requirements when she led student conduct efforts at 14 global locations across six continents for New York University. Jill also explains the importance of having an accessible process for international students, training considerations for study abroad programs, and her work on restorative justice. Be sure to tune in to the end where Jill, who is very well traveled (50 countries!) shares some of her top picks.

 

 

Episode 15: Informational Episode on the Circuit Split on Due Process in Title IX Cases

In this episode, Courtney provides an overview of the split between the 1st and 6th Circuit on whether due process in a sexual misconduct matter requires a live hearing and an ability for cross-examination in Doe v. Baum and Haidak v. U. Mass- Amherst.  She also discusses the March 2019 USC ruling regarding what constitutes a “fair hearing” and its implications for private institutions.  So much is happening on the litigation front in Title IX – staying abreast of recent cases is critical for professionals who work in Title IX. 

 

 

Replay: About this podcast and your host, Courtney Bullard

In this first episode, Courtney covers the purpose of The Law and Higher Ed Podcast, what you can expect from each episode, a primer on the law related to Title IX compliance and a little about her own background, including fun facts!

 

 

Episode 16: Tracking Trends, Athletics, and Title IX Compliance for School Districts with Betsy Smith

In this episode, Courtney has a conversation with Betsy Smith, a senior investigator, and consultant at Institutional Compliance Solutions. Betsy brings another unique perspective to their team, having previously served as a district attorney and deputy Title IX coordinator for the University of Tennessee.

 

Betsy shares about tracking trends and data to prevent incidents of sexual misconduct; how her experiences as a student-athlete shape her work today; suggestions on training student-athletes, coaches and staff; and the work coming out of ICS going forward in the K–12 space. If you are a Title IX coordinator in K–12 or higher education, be sure to join us for this insightful interview!

 

 

Episode 17: Kink and LGBTQI+ Culture in the Title IX Space with Stephanie Lott: Part 1

Deconstructing our biases around niched behaviors and sexualities has been important for a long time now, and this urgency is no less great in the context of Title IX law and investigations. This is the first of a two-part episode where I talk to Stephanie Lott, Title IX Coordinator at Arkansas State University. Our conversation focusses on understanding kink and LGBTQI+ culture, and how investigators can be better prepared for Title IX cases involving people from these groups. There are many grey areas that can arise in cases covering situations that have turned from consensual to non-consensual in the LGBTQI+ and kink circles.

 

Stephanie stresses the importance of investigators who can build a good rapport and also the importance of Title IX professionals educating themselves about these communities. We also cover the steps Stephanie and her team have taken toward Arkansas State becoming a campus that is more diverse and accessible to all, and she brings up some amazing seminars and theatre-based education initiatives working toward that end. Stephanie shares a wealth of important information whose relevance reaches far outside of the Title IX space in this brilliant conversation, so make sure you don’t miss out on it.

 

 

Episode 18: Kink and LGBTQI+ Culture in the Title IX Space with Stephanie Lott: Part 2

In this episode, Courtney continues her conversation with Stephanie Lott, Title IX Coordinator at Arkansas State University. The full discussion with Stephanie covers campus accessibility, pronoun use, and her journey in Title IX with regard to LGTBQI+ and kink culture. In this second part of our discussion, Stephanie gets into some of the challenges investigators, witnesses, complainants, and respondents tend to face in Title IX investigations of cases involving kink or LGTBQI+ communities. For example, identity questions in hookup culture make for complex experiences, which makes the ‘truth’ of a case incredibly nuanced.

 

Knowing how to ask the right questions so that trust can be built is an essential part of the investigative process. We also speak about the importance of using and soliciting proper pronouns, and Stephanie shares some pointers about how to go about doing so. Stephanie talks about a few of the strategies that are going down on her campus to make it a more inclusive space in this episode too. Our guest has a unique way of explaining things that a lot of folks will benefit from so make sure you catch round two of this helpful conversation.

 

 

Episode 19: Doug Fierberg, attorney for the Gruver family against LSU, on Fraternity and Campus Hazing, Sexual Assault, and Title IX Violations by Schools

Courtney talks with Doug Fierberg whose legal team at the Fierberg National Law Group focuses on and is dedicated to representing families, survivors and others in lawsuits and other legal proceedings nationwide involving fraternity hazing, sexual assault, Title IX violations, gun violence, serious personal injury, wrongful death and other misconduct in schools. Most notably in recent Title IX litigation, Doug’s team represents Max Gruver’s family in a wrongful death case against LSU using a novel approach to the deliberate indifference theory.

 

In this episode, you will also hear about their criteria for deciding to represent someone, the difference between proving negligence and deliberate indifference on the part of a school, how lawyers and courts can effectuate social and institutional change and his view of the striking safety discrepancies between fraternities and sororities.  Title IX professionals and lawyers in this area will want to tune in to this episode!

 

 

Episode 20: Filling the Title IX and Clery Gap in Universities, with Jody Shipper: Part 1

Title IX and Clery procedures are complex and ambiguous for all parties involved, but the importance of maintaining an institutional culture that upholds these laws cannot be overstated. Following Clery legislation should not stop at mere compliance either. In this episode, Courtney talks with Jody Shipper, a nationally recognized subject-matter expert in Title IX and related fields, about her approach in working with universities and colleges in Title IX compliance.

 

They talk about the intersection of Clery and Title IX, and common Clery mistakes Jody sees in the work she does with clients. Jody talks about the complexities around filing timely reports, typical daily and yearly duties of logging data, and ways schools can get better at their Annual Service Reports. Jody sets the benchmark where it should be as far as Title IX and Clery procedures, so make sure you learn all you can from her in this episode.

 

 

Episode 21: Filling the Title IX and Clery Gap in Universities, with Jody Shipper: Part 2

This episode continues Courtney’s deep dive with Jody Shipper into the complexities that typically arise concerning Title IX, Clery, and VAWA investigations in colleges and universities. Jody is a nationally recognized subject matter expert with more than 20 years’ experience in policies aimed at addressing sexual misconduct on campuses; it has been a privilege to hear her thoughts in this extended conversation. In our discussion today, we continue on the topic of the overlap between Clery and Title IX, particularly around VAWA cases. For example, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault all fall under Clery and VAWA, but not Title IX. They have been adopted within Title IX procedures nevertheless though, which both suggest the necessity for collaboration between fields but also produce grey areas.

 

This segues into a discussion about the pitfalls of siloing, where we stress the idea that Clery, threat assessment, and Title IX teams should all be working together in a closer way than what meets the bare minimum defined as ‘compliance.’ Indeed, many cases that meet compliance are in fact failed cases, and Jody gives an example of how collaboration saved a woman from being murdered by her boyfriend. Our conversation turns to stalking and relationship violence, and we discuss the necessity for professionals to be highly trained and therefore equipped to discern between ‘benign’ and severe cases, and how sending out warnings inappropriately can actually escalate violence. Jody shares many more insights into cautions and best practices on today’s topic so be sure to tune in for it.

 

 

Episode 22: Title IX Compliance in a COVID-19 World

The country (and the world) is facing an unprecedented crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Title IX coordinators face a particular set of challenges during this time. Betsy Smith, a Senior Investigator, and Consultant at Institutional Compliance Solutions joins us today to talk about ways to remain Title IX compliant as campuses move to distance learning. In this short, informational episode, we cover three aspects of Title IX compliance: support measures, ensuring accountability, and how to handle open investigations and hearings.

 

Betsy highlights that it is especially important to support students who were being helped pre-COVID-19. They may be going through some trauma and stress, which is why it is necessary to be intentional about reaching out. We then talk about what Title IX coordinators can do to let students know that despite distance learning, they are still a part of the university. Students need to understand that their actions during this time have an impact on them and the community. Finally, Betsy sheds light on how ongoing investigations can still happen virtually. While this may all seem overwhelming, it is also an opportunity for universities to strengthen their online access, and for Title IX coordinators to have a seat at the table. Be sure to tune in today!

 

 

Episode 23: Title IX Compliance for Faculty, Students and Staff, with Elizabeth Conklin from the University of Connecticut

The complexity of Title IX issues is only compounded by the different parties that are found on university campuses and the regulations for them. Our guest today is Elizabeth Conklin, the Title IX and ADA Coordinator at the University of Connecticut. She has a large amount of experience in the field, and she is here to share her thoughts on the intersection of students, faculty and staff, the overlap between Title IX and VII, and appropriate ways to approach allegations across these different demographics.

 

In our conversation, we hear from Elizabeth about how institutions can consider structuring their policies with the range of cases and personnel present. She also weighs in strongly on the idea of interim measures and what should be done immediately after an issue is reported. We discuss her experiences serving on an appointed committee for the University of Tennessee after a large Title IX settlement in 2016 and how this chapter still influences her work today. For a wonderful chat with an enthusiastic and committed worker in the field, be sure to listen in!

 

 

Episode 24: A Clearer Understanding of Title IX in the School System, with Megan Farrell

During this time of so much change and uncertainty, we are so glad to be able to continue to bring you important information regarding Title IX and the future of institutional practices on campuses and beyond! Our guest today is Megan Farrell, Title IX Coordinator for Palo Alto Unified School District, and advisor and consultant to educational and institutional clients with a focus on Title IX compliance. Title IX Compliance for K-12 is complex and looks different than compliance for higher education in many ways.  In our conversation we cover a lot of ground, looking at the unique aspects of K-12 compliance as well as considering the particular situation in which we find ourselves now, with remote learning and homeschooling.

 

We get into the special considerations and issues in K-12 Title IX compliance including the position of school resource officers, training for coordinators and school administrators, and how to educate students on these issues in appropriate ways. There is guaranteed to be something in here for everyone, so make sure to listen in and catch it all!

 

 

Episode 25: Are the New Title IX Regulations Imminent and What It Means, with John Graff and Scott Schneider

Today we’re flipping the script to bring you an interview where your host Courtney Bullard features as a guest on the Higher Ground podcast with John Graff. In this episode, Courtney, John, and Scott Schneider discuss COVID-19, the NPRM and its implications, and more.  These two men are respected colleagues in the industry; some might recall Scott being a former guest on the show. Scott is a well-known litigator, as well as a sought-after advisor on Title IX, labor and employment law issues, and risk management concerns related to student affairs. He has led several investigations of serial sex abuse allegations, allegations of misconduct involving senior leadership, and other acts of institutional misconduct. Their discussion today involves weighing up the pros and cons of rolling out the new Title IX regulations in the current COVID environment, why it might not be worth postponing, and what these new regulations will mean for educational institutions and students. Be sure to join the conversation to learn everything there is to know about the current status of the new Title IX regs!   

 

 

Episode 26: Reactions to the New Title IX Regulations with Joe Storch

We are living through unprecedented times both nationally and globally.  For those in the Title IX profession, these complicated times have been further exacerbated with the release of the new Title IX Regulations by the Department of Education on May 6, 2020.  Today on the show Courtney is joined by Joseph Storch, a name well-known to most in the field.   Courtney and Joe discuss the new regulations and their impact on institutions and school districts.

 

To say that they have caused a stir would be putting it very lightly! Joe is a regular contributor through NACUA and the wealth of knowledge he brings to the table is indispensable.  He offers his first impressions on the regulations and their preamble, and the foremost of these is related to the document’s length! With the official implementation date of these new regulations looming, two-thousand plus pages to get through is a sizable read, especially considering what is required after the document has been read. Part of what Joe talks about is the efforts he has made to work collaboratively in response to these regulations, in order to help all institutions keep abreast.

 

During such a difficult time where almost everyone has been affected by the pandemic in myriad ways, the fact that these new steps have added another layer of pressure is quite astounding. Join us today to hear Joe’s thoughts on the new laws, how we might approach digesting and reacting to them, and some of the responses that have already begun to surface! 

 

 

Episode 27: Implications of Title IX Regulations for K-12 and Higher Education with Melissa Carleton

There’s no question that these are unprecedented times for everyone, including school districts and institutes of higher education. COVID, killer bees, natural disasters, and now the new Title IX regulations issued by the department of education. My guest this week is Melissa Carleton, a partner at Bricker & Eckler. Melissa advises higher education entities in a variety of areas, including student affairs, student conduct, disability accommodation, student confidentiality, policies, contract, governance, and employment matters. She also has a great deal of experience in guiding the institutional response to allegations of sexual abuse. She regularly works with colleges, universities, career technical schools, and K-12 school districts to comply with Title IX and, where applicable, the Clery Act, as well as implementing guidance and regulations. In today’s episode, we discuss the changes and challenges that the regulations present for school districts, due to Melissa’s experience in that area, and the work we’ve been doing together on the joint guidance. Tune in to find out more.

 

 

Episode 28: Legal Challenges to the New Title IX Regulations with Jack Sapp, Part 1

Joining Courtney to discuss legal challenges to the new Title IX regulations that were issued on May 6th is Jake Sapp! Jake is the Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Compliance Officer for Austin College and holds a JD from Stetson. He is very well versed in the current Title IX landscape as well as the important precedents relevant to the space. Jake has a large amount of experience speaking on the topics of Title IX and its related legal trends, so who better to join Courtney in this in-depth discussion. Since their issuing, there have been procedural and substantive challenges to these new regulations. These legal challenges are complex with many layers with much to unpack so the conversation is broken down into two parts. For this installment, we look into the litigation and the grounds on which it plants its argument. Jake explains the areas that these lawsuits are challenging, including the injunctive relief sought and whether it will impact the August 14th implementation deadline.  We then look into possible outcomes and what can be realistically expected by institutions and Title IX professionals.  Don’t forget to stay tuned for part two!

 

 

Episode 29: Litigation Against the New Title IX Regulations with Jack Sapp, Part 2

In this episode, Courtney continues her conversation with Jake Sapp on the legal challenges to the new Title IX regulations. Jake is the Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Compliance Officer for Austin College and holds a JD from Stetson. He is well versed in the Title IX litigation landscape and provides some synthesis of this complex topic as we talk about the selection of lawsuits that are underway at present, the challenges that Jake foresees for institutions and coordinators, and what exactly has been happening in the Supreme Court in the last couple of weeks! If you have not yet listened to part one of this conversation make sure to double back and give it some ears.

 

 

Episode 30: Informational Episode: What Will Implementation of the New Regulations Look Like?

In this brief informational episode, Courtney discusses prioritizing compliance obligations for meeting the August 14th deadline imposed by the Department of Education for implementation of the new Title IX regulations, her words of advice regarding using model policies as a jumping-off point, the work that must be done after August 14th, her experience working with and talking to Title IX professionals during this time as colleges and school districts juggle these compliance obligations against the planning and decision making for reopening, and more. Expect a new episode each week up through the August 14th deadline discussing different aspects of the new Title IX regulations and updates on the legal challenges to the regulations.

 

 

Episode 31: Prevention is an Olive Tree – Update on the New Title IX Regulations with Joe Storch

We welcome Joe Storch from SUNY back to the show today to chat some more about the new regulations in Title IX and get into some thoughts on the power of prevention. We use this episode as an update on the current goings-on in the litigation around the new regulations but also use it as a jumping-off point for a host of other relevant issues in the space right now. It feels like the year 2020 has so much going on, on so many levels, inside and outside of the Title IX world. The current global context and pandemic have ramifications for us all but there is also the upcoming US presidential election, ongoing issues that have bubbled to the surface in higher education, and the compounding effect of all of these! Joe takes this opportunity to make a strong argument for the importance of prevention and why its longer-term process is what we should all be aiming for. He likens prevention to an olive tree, a crop that takes many years to bear fruit and a symbol of a stable society. Contrasted with the immediate measures that seem to have been favored in the formulation of the new Title IX regulations, prevention will better serve those concerned and society as a whole. At the end of the episode, Joe also shares some useful and inspiring information about the SPECTRUM Conference at SUNY and the amazing outcomes he has already witnessed as a result of the event. We finish off with a message of hope for those of us in the higher education space; it can feel like a particularly difficult time in this line of work at present but the commitment of those working across the country does offer a silver lining and a reason for optimism!