Federal Court Reaffirms Institution’s Responsibility for Off-Campus Activity Under Title IX

In Farmer v. Kansas State University (“KSU”), a federal district court revisited the issue of when off-campus activity that would violate Title IX becomes the responsibility of a college or university to investigate and, if necessary, remediate. In this particular case, the plaintiff alleged that she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus fraternity party. Under Title IX, coverage is only triggered when harassment occurs within an “education program or activity.” Stated another way, “‘there must be some nexus between the out-of-school conduct and the school to impose Title IX liability.'” (Citations omitted). For KSU, the off-campus fraternity satisfied this nexus requirement because (1) it is a student housing organization that is available only to KSU students and fraternities and sororities are promoted as such by the University; (2) the director of the fraternity was a KSU instructor; (3) KSU employs individuals to support fraternities and sororities; and (4) KSU had the authority to regulate fraternity houses and to promulgate rules of conduct.

Client Tip: Title IX responsibilities for colleges and universities do not end with campus boundaries. The potential for off-campus activity to create Title IX exposure is obvious. Therefore, colleges and universities need to be aware of when off-campus activity triggers Title IX responsibility to investigate and potentially remediate.  

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David M. Felper

David Felper is a senior labor and employment lawyer, focusing his practice on advising colleges and universities, nonprofits and social service agencies, primarily in central Massachusetts. David also represents employers in the manufacturing sector along with other traditional businesses. “My clients vary in size, ranging from a few employees to several thousand. Regardless of their size or type, I strive to be highly responsive.”

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David M. Felper

David Felper is a senior labor and employment lawyer, focusing his practice on advising colleges and universities, nonprofits and social service agencies, primarily in central Massachusetts. David also represents employers in the manufacturing sector along with other traditional businesses. “My clients vary in size, ranging from a few employees to several thousand. Regardless of their size or type, I strive to be highly responsive.”

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