Massachusetts Senate Moves to Preserve and Expand Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Requirements for Public and Private Colleges and Universities

A bill that would preserve and expand federal requirements for College and University programs to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus is moving through the Massachusetts State Senate. The bill, SB 2081, is, in part, an effort to solidify Title IX regulations and guidance concerning sexual misconduct issued by the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama Administration. The bill also incorporates many recommendations from a report on campus safety and violence prevention commissioned by the state Board of Higher Education. The bill has bipartisan support, is expected to be approved by the Senate and move to the House of Representatives in the upcoming legislative session.

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Educational Institutions Affiliated with Religious Organizations May Be Liable Under Massachusetts Law For Hiring or Firing Based on Religious Principles

Massachusetts statute G. L. c. 151B prohibits, among other things, employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  There are two statutory provisions, however, which limit the scope of the statute as it applies to religiously-affiliated educational institutions taking action based on religious […]

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Trump Administration’s Department of Education Contemplating Changes to Enforcement of Title IX as Applied to Sexual Misconduct

Recent statements by Department of Education officials suggest new guidance is forthcoming with respect to enforcement of Title IX as applied to sexual misconduct on college campuses. During a stakeholders meeting last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized the effectiveness of the current Title IX enforcement guidelines and expressed the desire to implement changes “quickly.” These comments […]

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Federal Court Denies Bid to Dismiss Hostile Education Environment Claim Where Student Was Unaware of Remedial Measures Taken

In the recent case of Doe v. University of North Texas Board of Regents, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied the University’s motion for summary judgment on a claim of hostile education environment harassment.  The student, Doe, had reported a sexual assault by a former adjunct professor who also […]

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DOE Launches New Website for Student Privacy Resources

The U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (OCPO) have launched a new website to provide resources concerning best practices and technical assistance for institutions navigating their obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other student privacy matters, including data security.  The new […]

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OCR Scales Back Scope of Civil Rights Investigations

On June 8, 2017, the Department of Education (DOE) Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Candice Jackson, issued an internal memorandum to staff with new guidance aimed at reducing the scope of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation of complaints.  Under the Obama administration, OCR applied an expansive approach to its investigations, where inquiry into individual […]

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Caught In The Weeds: Reconciling Massachusetts And Federal Laws About Marijuana

In Massachusetts, medical marijuana has been legal since 2013. People need only obtain documentation from their physicians certifying that they suffer from a debilitating medical condition and the use of medical marijuana helps alleviate some of their symptoms. But, without a valid medical marijuana card, it was still illegal to possess or use marijuana. This […]

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