Who’s more important in Title IX investigations – coaches or students?

You can tell a lot about a school by how it investigates sexual harassment and Title IX claims.  If you are the basketball coach at Georgia Tech and are accused of sexual harassment, the president of the university will retain a specialized team of attorneys from out of state who conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations on the university’s dime, as in the case of Josh Pastner.

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech


On the other hand, if you are accused of sexual misconduct as a student, schools typically assign the investigation to an individual who may or may not have any training or experience in Title IX or sexual misconduct investigations.  Why doesn’t the student get the same treatment?  I get it, no school wants to go through the very public ousting of athletic personnel like Penn State and Michigan State.  But an investigation into allegations against a student is enormously impactful to the student and should be given the same careful treatment. After all, sexual misconduct allegations against students hit them where they live – literally.  They eat, sleep, breathe, study, socialize, and live at the school.  To be accused of sexual misconduct in that environment creates a level of stress that is unimaginable to many of us.  Even if the student is found “not responsible,” the experience of the investigation will forever mark the student’s college experience.  Likewise, the stress of going through a Title IX investigation often impacts the student’s grades, leaving a long-term negative effect on the student’s future career prospects.

Sports may be a source of revenue for colleges and universities.  But the schools ultimately are there to serve the students.  So how about equal treatment in Title IX investigations?

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