Title IX ALERT: How the New Title IX Regulations Regarding Hearing Officers Affect You
As many higher education officials are aware, the federal government now requires that colleges and universities utilize professionals with training in legal procedures to chair Title IX hearings. We commend to you a forthcoming article on this topic by a Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, “Hiring and Training Competent Title IX Hearing Officers.” The article posits that American colleges are not ready to comply with the new Title IX regulations because even the most diligent faculty could not serve as hearing officers without intensive training that most colleges and universities would be hard-pressed to provide.
Colleges and universities must weigh these important considerations when determining how best to chair its Title IX hearings, whether by trained faculty or staff, or a competent former jurist:
- Complexity of the Matter. In relatively routine cases well-trained faculty or staff would suffice as hearing officers, but complex cases may need a former jurist.
- Concern About Poor Publicity or Further Litigation. If a case is likely to generate publicity or additional litigation, the chances of either are greatly lessened if the hearing officer presiding over the matter has an established reputation.
- Possibility of Reversal. In the event that one party disagrees with the hearing officer’s ruling, there is a distinct advantage to utilizing ex-jurists. Just as in the comparable area of chairing arbitration panels, if one party disagrees with a ruling, the judge who hears the appeal often grants at least a presumption of correctness to the ruling, which may not happen if the arbitrator had not been a judge at one point in his or her career.
- Public Perception of Fairness. Whether or not an ex-judge would handle the matter more fairly than a faculty member, the public may perceive this to be the case.
The trend in New Jersey is moving toward colleges and universities seeking out retired judges to serve as Title IX hearing officers, and we expect that this will become the standard practice.
If you have any questions regarding the new Title IX regulations and how these regulations affect your institution's campus hearings, feel free to contact Teresa Moore, or any of our retired New Jersey jurists, noted below.
Teresa L. Moore
The Honorable Victor Ashrafi
Former Superior Court Trial and Appellate Judge
The Honorable Travis Francis
Former Superior Court Assignment Judge, Middlesex County
The Honorable James Rothschild
Former Superior Court Judge, Essex County
Responsible for complex civil litigation in Essex County