What to know about professor sexual abuse and Title IX

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Firm News

College professors are supposed to help students expand their minds and ignite passion through the subjects they teach. Unfortunately, some have used their authority and influence on campus to sexually abuse students. If a college professor sexually abuses you, you may feel the odds are stacked against you. Like many others, you may have tried to report the abuse to your university, only to have them ignore your concerns. If that’s the case, your university may have made a Title IX violation.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a section of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibiting sex discrimination in all educational activities and programs. That includes programs and activities at public and private universities. Under Title IX, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion are all considered forms of sex discrimination. Colleges and universities are legally responsible for addressing sexual violence of any kind. Under Title IX, they must:

  • Take immediate action to eliminate the source of sexual violence and prevent it from happening to others.
  • Address the effects of the abusive behavior.
  • Investigate and resolve the source of sexual violence, even if students or their parents don’t file a report.

Even if there is a criminal investigation into your case, that doesn’t absolve your university of its obligation to conduct its own.

Can I sue my university for Title IX violations if my professor abused me?

Yes, you can sue your university for Title IX violations if your professor sexually abuses you. If your school receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education, it is subject to Title IX and holds a duty of care to students regarding sexual abuse and violence. So, if you report the abuse to your university and they ignore your claim or don’t provide processes for handling sexual abuse claims, you can sue them for damages. Your school can be liable for the predatory behavior of its faculty and failing to address your situation in a way that complies with Title IX.

Is there a statute of limitations for filing Title IX claims?

In Florida, you must file your Title IX claim within 180 days. However, there may be instances where you can file a claim beyond the 180-day time window. An attorney can help you figure out if your situation qualifies or not.

Make your voice heard

Sexual abuse by a professor can feel demoralizing. When your university fails to provide you with the duty of care you deserve, you can feel like you’re on your own. While you may feel alone when fighting this battle, know that you are not and deserve to have your voice heard. By taking action and holding abusers and abuse enablers accountable, you can protect others from enduring similar mistreatment.