Student Sexual Misconduct

Colleges and universities face special challenges in designing and implementing procedures to respond to campus sexual and gender-based misconduct. These challenges include maintaining an academic community with equal educational opportunities for all students while implementing procedures that are both effective and fair for those who have suffered from such misconduct and for those accused of such misconduct. Through examination of existing disciplinary procedures in colleges and universities (small and large, public and private), relevant regulatory requirements and guidance, critiques of existing practice and procedure, and proposals for improvements, we aim to produce principles and analyses that will help universities and colleges, and their disciplinary boards, thoughtfully, fairly, and effectively respond to such misconduct complaints. – Reporter Vicki Jackson from the press release announcing the project

From the Annual Meeting 2018 Discussion Draft Introductory Note:

This Project is an unusual one. It concerns an important topic of current interest: What procedural frameworks should colleges and universities have in place to respond to sexual assault and related misconduct?

This Project is unusual not only in the importance of the subject and the passionate debates generated within and beyond the community of lawyers and judges, but also in the many sources of law with potential bearing on the issues: contracts between universities and their students; state law governing higher-education institutions and concerning, in particular, public colleges and universities; state and federal constitutional law, including the Due Process Clause, which imposes constraints on the procedures of at least public colleges and universities; constitutional and statutory criminal procedure, which may be implicated, indirectly, in investigations and proceedings in campus disciplinary procedures; state common law of torts and contracts; and Title IX of the Civil Rights Amendment Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1681 et seq., which prohibits sex discrimination in any federally funded “education program or activity,” as well as related federal and state legislation, pending and enacted (such as the federal Clery Act, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.), that address or have implications for schools’ responses to campus sexual assault issues.

The Project is also unusual insofar as it involves sources of law that are in the midst of rapid evolution. In recent years, new case law has emerged, and legislation and guidance at the federal level, as well as in several states, continues to shape and reshape the legal landscape for colleges and universities handling these issues.

The Student Sexual Misconduct project is a separate project from the Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault project.

Project Reporters

Thomas Sullivan

Reporter (from 2021), Principles of the Law, Student Sexual Misconduct: Procedural Frameworks for Colleges and Universities

Thomas Sullivan is president emeritus and professor of political science at the University of Vermont. He is a nationally recognized authority on antitrust law, complex litigation, constitutional law, and federal court matters.

Vicki C. Jackson

Consultant (from 2021), Reporter (2015-2021), Principles of the Law, Student Sexual Misconduct: Procedural Frameworks for Colleges and Universities

Vicki Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, has written on constitutional aspects of federalism, gender equality, election law, free speech, sovereign immunity, courts and judicial independence, methodological challenges in comparative constitutional law, and other topics. Her scholarly projects include normative conceptions of the role of elected representatives in a democracy; proportionality in constitutional law and interpretation; gender equality and the interaction of international and domestic law; and the co-evolution of the constitutionalization of international law and the internationalization of constitutional law.

Suzanne B. Goldberg

Associate Reporter (2015-2021), Principles of the Law, Student Sexual Misconduct: Procedural Frameworks for Colleges and Universities

Suzanne Goldberg is the Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, as well as the Executive Vice President for University Life, Columbia University. She is one of the country’s foremost experts on gender and sexuality law and a leading advocate for the LGBTQ community. In 2015, she was appointed to serve as Columbia University’s first executive vice president for university life. In this role, she works to reinforce and broaden the university’s commitment to respect, inclusion, and ethical leadership among students, faculty, and administrators. She is a frequent commentator and analyst for news media on sexuality and gender law, and on discrimination law and litigation issues.

October 2020 Council Meeting Updates

At its meetings on October 13 and October 22-23, 2020, the Council reviewed and discussed Council Drafts of seven projects and approved drafts and portions of drafts as listed below.* Children and the LawCouncil approved Council Draft No. 6, containing §1.60 from...