January 15, 2020

Federal District Court Permits University to Delay Title IX Investigation Until Local Law Enforcement Review is Complete

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A federal district court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently issued two favorable rulings for Dillard University, highlighting (1) the difficulty of conducting Title IX investigations at post-secondary institutions and (2) an opportunity for the Department of Education to further clarify institutions’ Title IX obligations.

Two Dillard male students were accused of raping a fellow Dillard student based on an April 20, 2019, accident. The students were arrested but never charged with a crime. In early May, the University suspended the accused students, pending an investigation which would not begin until resolution of the parallel criminal investigation. Before the Fall 2019 semester began, the University’s online class registration system allowed the students to choose classes and secure on-campus housing for what would have been the first semester of their senior year. In September, the University denied the students’ access to dormitories and classes. The students sought a temporary restraining order to prevent Dillard from blocking the students’ access.