Higher Education

Barbara Lee Joins Bond, Schoeneck & King’s Higher Education Practice 

August 4, 2020

By Barbara A. Lee, Ph.D.

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Barbara A. Lee has joined the firm as of counsel in its New York City office. Prior to joining Bond, Lee served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for Rutgers University where she still holds the position of Distinguished Professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations. Her background in the law and as both a faculty member and academic leader uniquely positions Lee to effectively counsel clients.

Read More >> <p>Barbara Lee Joins Bond, Schoeneck & King’s Higher Education Practice </p>

Sixth Circuit Loosens Pleading Standard for Title IX Wrongful Outcome Cases

July 28, 2020

By Howard M. Miller, Monica C. Barrett, and Sarah A. Luke

Sexual assaults on college campuses are an issue to be taken seriously. Colleges and universities are well aware of their responsibility under Title IX to address and remediate sexual abuse; but with that responsibility comes an obligation to identify unsubstantiated claims. To fulfill these obligations, colleges have enacted comprehensive anti-harassment and sexual misconduct policies, conducted training and promulgated adjudicatory procedures that serve to provide protection and redress for victims of sexual assault, while ensuring that those accused of sexual assault are provided with fair protections from unsubstantiated allegations. 

Read More >> <p>Sixth Circuit Loosens Pleading Standard for Title IX Wrongful Outcome Cases</p>

ICE Reverses Course Again – International Students May Now Attend Online-Only Institutions in the U.S. During the Fall 2020 Semester

July 15, 2020

By Joanna L. Silver

As we reported last week, on July 6, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant students attending schools operating entirely online were not permitted to remain in the U.S. and take a full online course load during the fall 2020 semester. As a result of this directive, students in the U.S. currently enrolled in entirely online schools and/or programs for the fall 2020 semester would have had to depart the U.S. or transfer to another institution with in-person instruction to remain in valid student status. Further, this modification would have applied: (i) where a school pivoted from in-person or hybrid instruction to online-only instruction mid-semester (like what occurred during the spring 2020 semester); and/or (ii) where a nonimmigrant student changed their course selections from a combination of in-person and online courses to online-only courses. 

Read More >> <p>ICE Reverses Course Again – International Students May Now Attend Online-Only Institutions in the U.S. During the Fall 2020 Semester</p>

ICE Reverses Course, Prohibits International Students from Attending Online-Only Institutions in the U.S. During the Fall 2020 Semester 

July 8, 2020

By Joanna L. Silver and Caroline M. Westover

As COVID-19 forced colleges and universities across the country to abruptly close their campuses and pivot to online-only instruction models for the remainder of the spring and the entire summer semesters, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) instituted a welcome -- albeit temporary -- regulatory exemption permitting F and M students to take more online courses than allowed under the federal regulations in order to maintain a full course of study and their nonimmigrant status in the U.S. during the pandemic.

Read More >> <p>ICE Reverses Course, Prohibits International Students from Attending Online-Only Institutions in the U.S. During the Fall 2020 Semester </p>

Reopening Higher Education

June 22, 2020

By Gail M. Norris

On Saturday, June 20, the state released Interim Guidance on Reopening and Operating Higher Education Campuses. As with prior industry guidance, institutions of higher education (IHEs) will need to adopt a Safety Plan that meets state guidance. The Interim Guidance outlines the following considerations that should be used in developing a Safety Plan for campuses.

Read More >> <p>Reopening Higher Education</p>

National Labor Relations Board Reverses Obama-Era Decision Regarding Standard for Asserting Jurisdiction Over Faculty Members at Religious Institutions

June 17, 2020

By Mary E. Aldridge

On June 10, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (the NLRB or the Board) issued a decision that reversed a 2014 Board decision regarding the test for exercising jurisdiction over faculty members at religious institutions.  In Bethany College, the Board held that the test for exercising such jurisdiction that was established by the Board in Pacific Lutheran University was inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals precedent, and restored the test established by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in University of Great Falls v. NLRB.

Read More >> <p>National Labor Relations Board Reverses Obama-Era Decision Regarding Standard for Asserting Jurisdiction Over Faculty Members at Religious Institutions</p>

State Attorneys General Bring Challenges Against New Title IX Regulations

June 8, 2020

By Mallory A. Campbell, Peter A. Jones, Jane M. Sovern, and Philip J. Zaccheo

On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) released final regulations under Title IX. These regulations significantly change how higher education institutions, and to a lesser extent, school districts, must respond to sexual assault and harassment on campus. 

Read More >> <p>State Attorneys General Bring Challenges Against New Title IX Regulations</p>

Tenth Circuit Decision Reminds Educational Institutions to be Wary of Whistleblower Retaliation Claims

May 26, 2020

On April 24, 2020, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals revived a former college coach’s retaliation claim brought against his previous employer. The case, Marc Benjamin v. Board of Trustees of Barton Community College, involves a former women’s softball coach who claimed he was terminated by the college because he “blew the whistle” on other college coaches who had violated league rules. The district court that first heard the case granted summary judgment in favor of the college, effectively finding that no reasonable jury could find in favor of Mr. Benjamin’s claims. Mr. Benjamin appealed, and the Tenth Circuit subsequently reversed the district court’s decision. 

Read More >> <p>Tenth Circuit Decision Reminds Educational Institutions to be Wary of Whistleblower Retaliation Claims</p>

Application of Common Law Negligence to Cases of Peer Sexual Misconduct: Potential Implications for the Scope of Institutional Liability

May 11, 2020

By Sarah A. Luke

In a decision on April 10, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a college’s motion to dismiss a claim of common law negligence in a lawsuit challenging its administrative response to allegations of sexual assault. Application of this common law standard to such cases is infrequent, and the court’s analysis highlights important differences between a common law theory of negligence and the federal “deliberate indifference” standard applied under Title IX.

Read More >> <p>Application of Common Law Negligence to Cases of Peer Sexual Misconduct: Potential Implications for the Scope of Institutional Liability</p>

Strict Reporting Requirements and Taxability Information for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students

May 7, 2020

By Monica C. Barrett, Jane M. Sovern, and Philip J. Zaccheo

Here are two breaking developments we do not want you to miss. On May 6, 2020, the same day the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued its sweeping Title IX Final Rule, the Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid announced that all recipients of funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act must post on their primary websites specific details about how they allocated funding for emergency grants to students. This posting must be done within 30 days of receipt of the funds from the federal government. 

Read More >> <p>Strict Reporting Requirements and Taxability Information for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students</p>

Federal Courts Weigh In: Title IX Proceedings During COVID-19

April 30, 2020

By Samuel G. Dobre and Jane M. Sovern

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for college administrators as they evaluate whether to continue Title IX investigations through telephone and video conferences or postpone interviews and hearings until “stay at home” orders are withdrawn by state and local governments. 

If Title IX investigations are postponed, victims of alleged sexual misconduct on campuses may sustain prolonged trauma. On the other hand, students accused of wrongdoing may be at a disadvantage if cases proceed through telephone or videoconferences. The mounting uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic poses unique scenarios for institutions committed to prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. 

Read More >> <p>Federal Courts Weigh In: Title IX Proceedings During COVID-19</p>