This presentation occurs amidst a growing national controversy stemming from the Federal Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights’ (“OCR”) threats to withhold federal education funds to compel colleges and universities to address “sexual violence” on their campuses. At the urging of OCR and other high-ranking officials in the Obama Administration, colleges and universities are relying on Title IX to crack down on alleged perpetrators. The result is that schools treat students accused of sexual misconduct with a presumption of guilt. The Federal government has instituted approximately 315 investigations of colleges and universities schools for possible Title IX violations, including notable schools such as UC Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago. Sexual assault survivor activists have used the Education Department’s public list of Title IX cases to spur community pressure on schools to make reforms and prioritize a response to sexual violence, and the assistant secretary of education who heads the department’s Office for Civil Rights, has told college officials that schools need to make “radical” change.
Engel has brought a large number of civil rights and Title IX lawsuits against colleges and universities nationwide, including the University of Cincinnati, the Ohio State University, the University of Houston, William and Hobart Colleges, the College of Wooster, Wright State University, and Bellarmine University. He is recognized for his experience and knowledge in this area. Engel has presented at a number of national conferences on the issue and is a frequent commentator in the media.