This week, federal judges in the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgments for Emerson College in two Title IX lawsuits brought against the College by former students three years ago.
On Tuesday, September 26, the Court ruled that the plaintiff’s allegations did not constitute deliberate indifference on the part of the College and that “Emerson's response to [Jane] Doe's allegations was timely and reasonable,” and its “investigators were responsive to Doe's claims and took justifiable corrective action in the face of changing circumstances.”
On Friday, September 29, the Court rejected the plaintiff's claims of a violation of Title IX, deliberate indifference, and negligence. The Court held, “The undisputed evidence establishes that Emerson provided all students with information about sexual assault risks, alcohol risks, and resources available related to such risks.” With respect to allegations that the College's response to the rape constituted deliberate indifference, the Court stated, “The record not only fails to support this contention, it proves otherwise.”
While we are pleased that the Court’s ruling confirms that the College handled the complaints in compliance with the law, it is also mindful that sexual assaults, many of which are not reported, are a very serious and troubling issue that occurs too often on college campuses and in society at large.
The College remains resolute in its position that all forms of power-based interpersonal violence, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, stalking, and other forms of gender-based discrimination, violate the rights and dignity of those subjected to the prohibited behavior.
Emerson College remains unequivocal in its commitment to educating its community on the prevention of sexual assault, providing a fair and equitable process for addressing claims of sexual assault, and supporting survivors of sexual assault.
Note: This story was amended to include a second ruling on Friday, September 29.