Podcast

MoFo Perspectives: Keeping Title IX Protections in Play

MoFo Perspectives Podcast

25 May 2021

In this special pro bono episode of MoFo Perspectives, moderated by MoFo’s Caitlin Crujido, partners Natalie Fleming Nolen and Christine Wong are joined by Equal Rights Advocates senior counsel Brenda Adams to discuss two important Title IX matters and the role the law plays in ensuring gender equity and protecting individuals from sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and in our schools.

Transcript

Speaker: Welcome to MoFo Perspectives, a podcast by Morrison & Foerster, where we share the perspectives of our clients, colleagues, subject matter experts, and lawyers.

Caitlin Crujido: Welcome to MoFo Perspectives. I’m your host, Caitlin Crujido, and on today’s episode, we’ll be discussing two different cases MoFo is involved with, both about Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination and federally funded educational programs or activities. One case concerns new regulations that change how schools respond to sexual harassment and sexual assault. The other concerns a woman athlete who lost a scholarship and had to leave her school because of a rude gesture she made. We will learn more about both cases and explore how stereotypes about women play into each. We’re here today with Natalie Fleming Nolen, a partner in the litigation department of MoFo’s Washington D.C. office. Natalie is a trial lawyer and advocate who focuses on complex civil litigation and regulatory proceedings with an emphasis on antitrust issues that arise in the financial services industry. We are also joined by Christine Wong, a partner and co-chair of the securities litigation enforcement and white-collar defense group in MoFo’s San Francisco office. Christine focuses her practice on investigations, white-collar criminal defense, and cross-border compliance matters. And finally, we will also speak with senior counsel from equal rights advocates, Brenda Adams, to get her insights regarding the changes to the Title IX regulations and what her organization is doing to ensure gender equity and protect individuals from sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and in our schools. Let’s start by getting some background on each case. Natalie, can you start by telling us about Title IX? What is it and why were these rules first established?

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Sure, hello, and thank you for inviting me to speak on this important topic. Title IX is a federal regulation. It was passed over 45 years ago, and it says no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. It applies to schools in pre-K through 12th grade, as well as post-secondary schools that receive federal financial assistance.

Caitlin Crujido: Great. Thank you, Natalie. Can you explain the connection between Title IX and sexual harassment and assault?

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Yes. So, in the late nineties or so, the Department of Education, and then also affirmed by federal courts, including the Supreme Court, recognized that students who are subjected to sexual harassment and sexual assault in schools can be denied the full benefit and equal access to education and educational programs, and so they interpreted Title IX to include responsibilities of schools to investigate, deter, and prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault in schools so that all students could have the benefit of equal access to education.

Caitlin Crujido: Great. Thank you. Last year, the Department of Education and former secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, released a complete revision to the Title IX regulations. Can you explain how these new regulations depart from the department’s previous policies?

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Yes, so the new regulations, which had an effective date of August of 2020, they dramatically departed from the previous standards that the Department of Education had used. To cite just a couple of examples, there was a narrowing of the definition of sexual harassment. Instead of the traditional way of defining harassment as conduct that is severe or pervasive, it changed it to severe and pervasive. This took it out of line with other civil rights statutes that schools were also tasked with, and so harassment on the basis of race, for instance, harassment on the basis of disability, those kept the same standard of severe or pervasive, but only sexual harassment was singled out to be severe and pervasive. It also included burdensome procedures that, again, apply only to allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment and not to other forms of harassment and not even to other forms of sex‑based discrimination, just to harassment. And so t really singled out this one form of potential harm and created very burdensome procedures, both at the K to 12 level and even more burdensome procedures at post-secondary schools that received federal financial funding.

Caitlin Crujido: Okay, so briefly, how did the new regulations change how schools respond to Title IX offenses? So, for example, how do hearing procedures and the standard of proof change under the new regulations?

Natalie Fleming Nolen: The new regulations created for the first time a presumption within Title IX of non-responsibility by the person who’s accused of sexual harassment and assault. It had, previous to that, been just the school committee or the people that were making the determination about whether or not conduct had happened were coming to it without a presumption one way or the other. The senator proof had been preponderance of the evidence, and the rule requires, in some cases, for schools to use a clear and convincing standard of evidence, which is much harder to meet. And on top of that, in the post-secondary schools, there are new mandated procedures for hearings. There has been discretion that schools have used to tailor proceedings based on the unique circumstances of schools across the country, but that discretion was taken away by these regulations, and the new rules include provisions requiring direct live cross-examination of witnesses in order for evidence to be admissible in these proceedings. The cross examination can be conducted by an advisor of choice of the respondent or the complainant.

Natalie Fleming Nolen: That could be anyone. It could be a friend. It could be a parent. It doesn’t have to be an attorney or anyone who has any specialized training in conducting cross examination or questioning witnesses. If a witness doesn’t answer every single question that’s deemed relevant by the body that is deciding these hearings, then all of their testimony is excluded, including any documentary, evidence, videos, blog posts, et cetera. In addition, there would need to be witnesses coming and being subjected to direct cross-examination in order for evidence such as police reports to come in, so you would have to have police officers coming in or rape kits. You would need to have the nurse or the doctor who filled that out. If there’s a video of the event that is taken by the respondent’s friends, and the respondent says to his friends, “Please don’t come and testify,” and they don’t come and testify—

Natalie Fleming Nolen: —then the video itself would be inadmissible. There’s a lot of ability to game the system. Under the federal rules, a statement against party interest, for instance, is not hearsay, but these rules just—they don’t have that exception, so if the respondent wrote a bunch of blog posts saying, “I definitely did this” and then chose not to testify, all of those blog posts, even if they’re public knowledge, would be inadmissible in these hearings. And so it’s really quite unworkable and unfair. It’s a mini trial without the guardrails that normally go into it and a coherent evidentiary rule so that you can get in admissible evidence that is reliable and that is heard even in criminal trials, but they could not be heard in these proceedings. It creates quite a burden for someone to prove their case in these proceedings, and it must be remembered that the people in these hearings, both sides, neither side has subpoena power. You can’t force anyone to come and testify, and so you’re excluding evidence if people cannot or refuse to come and testify when there’s no basis to compel them to do so. So the rules are quite a dramatic deviation from the previous way the Department of Education had viewed how these proceedings should occur.

Caitlin Crujido: Can you provide some background on the case that MoFo is working on and kind of explain how MoFo got involved?

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Sure, so MoFo brought a lawsuit challenging the new Title IX rules, and we have a number of individual plaintiffs. The individual plaintiffs are students who have unfortunately been subjected to sexual harassment and assault at their various schools. They vary in age. There’s one K to 12 student, and there are several students who are in post-secondary school, and all of our clients were concerned about the impact that these new rules would have on their ability to have equal access to education, and so they were bringing this case against the Department of Education. Additionally, we have four organizations who work directly with students who are victims of sexual harassment and assault in schools, help them to navigate through this process. And those organizations are also impacted and harmed by these new rules, and their missions are frustrated by these rules, and they’re not able to do all the great work that they want to do on the ground.

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Those are our clients. We co-counseled with the National Women’s Law Center and also Diane Rosenfeld, who is a professor at Harvard Law School. And we all came together, and we really were very concerned about the impact that these rules were going to have on students across the country, K to 12, and post-secondary, in every single state, and we thought the rules were extremely harmful. We also thought that the department had failed to follow the procedures under the Administrative Procedures Act, and that these rules were contrary to the purpose of Title IX. They would undermine Title IX, and so we decided to bring a lawsuit challenge in it.

Caitlin Crujido: With respect to your case, who from MoFo did you work with?

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Well, we had a large and really excellent team, including you, Caitlin, who was a member of our team. In addition, we had former MoFo partner, David Newman, as well as Vanshika Vij, Evan Harris, Robin Smith were the main trial court team. And we also had help from our appellate group for a successful appeal on an intervention issue that went to the first circuit. We had partnered James Sigel and associate Michael Qian who helped on that. Michael actually argued the successful motion in front of the first circuit.

Caitlin Crujido: Thank you, Natalie. It was very informative and we appreciate your insight. So now I wanted to turn to Christine Wong. Thank you for joining us, Christine. Would you please tell us a little bit about the context of your case, specifically what did Noriana Radwan do and what happened to her as a result?

Christine Wong: Sure, and thank you so much for including me on this podcast. It’s very exciting to talk about this really important matter. Ms. Radwan was a soccer player with a full scholarship at the University of Connecticut. In the fall of her freshman year, her team had just won an extremely important game. It was the American Athletic Conference championship game, and it was the first time in 10 years that UConn had done so, so the team was feeling particularly excited about this win, and it was a game that was televised on ESPN. Ms. Radwan, together with her teammates, were celebrating on the field and she was filmed smiling and celebrating with her teammates. And for less than a second, she showed her middle finger to the camera, and you can see it in the context that it wasn’t intended to be a rude gesture.

Christine Wong: It was just youthful exuberance. She got caught up in the moment, and you could see her almost be taken by surprise that she had done this, and she quickly put the middle finger back down. Nonetheless, the picture of the gesture was televised, and it was sent to several UConn administrators, including the women’s soccer coach, who confronted Ms. Radwan, as she apologized profusely that he suspended her for all team activities. But that wasn’t enough. The coach issued a public statement apologizing for her behavior. She received a letter of reprimand from the league regarding the sportsmanship matter, and all the while she was continuing to apologize for her behavior. And again, that wasn’t enough. The UConn athletic department then canceled her scholarship due to a quote “serious misconduct issue.” In short, for a gesture that lasted less than a second that harmed no one, UConn took the unprecedented act of terminating her full-year scholarship halfway through the school year.

Caitlin Crujido: Wow. That’s incredible. So, Ms. Radwan claims that male athletes were treated less harshly, is that correct?

Christine Wong: Absolutely. There were several examples of male student athletes who had committed far more serious misconduct and were not disciplined at all. For example, there was a male football player who was penalized by game officials for the same unsportsmanlike conduct, but what he did was kick a football in the stands during a televised football game. And this is a situation where a spectator could have been hurt, but there was no disciplinary action against the player. There wasn’t even a statement from the school apologizing for his behavior, and it gets worse. During the same school year that UConn terminated Ms. Radwan’s scholarship, a member of the men’s soccer team committed theft, and UConn only gave him a warning and required him to attend a remedial behavioral workshop. And around the same time that UConn initiated these disciplinary proceedings against Ms. Radwan, there were four male UConn basketball players who were at an overseas tournament, and they missed curfew. They were sent home early, no subsequent discipline. And in fact, UConn has admitted in the course of discovery in this case that it has never terminated a male student athlete scholarship for a first offense of unsportsmanlike conduct.

Caitlin Crujido: Wow, that’s pretty alarming. So, the brief that you filed on behalf of Ms. Radwan discusses stereotypes of women athletes. Can you fill us in on that?

Christine Wong: The issue is that antiquated notions of women continue to be applied to women athletes. In the Victorian era, the ideal woman was gentle, passive, frail, and as women started to get more active and involved in athletics, the goal was always healthful beauty, not aggression, and that stereotype just persists to this day. There was a famous incident in 2018 where Serena Williams received three penalties during the U.S. Open for unsportsmanlike conduct. She hit her racket on the court. She referred to the umpire as a thief. There were two male professional tennis athletes who put out statements in support of her saying they each had committed far more serious conduct and had never been penalized. Female athletes get criticized for poor sportsmanship for not cheering hard enough for their teammates, for frowning during a competition. I mean, God forbid that they’re focusing on playing the actual sport rather than how they look for the camera.

Caitlin Crujido: This portrayal of women in sports certainly has a negative effect of how they’re treated by coaches and fans and the media. So I’m sure in the course of this case, you’ve considered how might we change these perceptions of female athletes? Can you speak to that?

Christine Wong: Sure, and just starting with the media coverage, it just really has supported traditional female stereotypes. Just thinking about what the camera focuses on in covering women’s sports, for example, in a recent women’s softball playoff game, the camera focused on the winners and the dugout, you’re showing them cheering and supporting their team. That’s all fine and good, but in comparison to coverage of male games, there was far less emphasis on the great plays. There were no replays showing the great catch in six different ways and slow motion, which is what would’ve happened for a men’s game. And Ms. Radwan’s case is an example of the concrete ways in which the generalized stereotype about women can really be damaging. She failed to conform to the stereotype of a gentle, passive female athlete. She celebrated in, I don’t even think it qualifies as a raucous way, but some people may say it was raucous, and she was punished severely for it. So how do we change that perception? Starting with demanding more and better coverage of women’s sports parody with how men’s sports are covered. Let’s focus on athletic ability, on training, not on the soft skills that women supposedly have in abundance over men.

Caitlin Crujido: Right, and that would certainly be a start. I wanted to turn back to Natalie quickly. Are stereotypes of women part of your challenge to the new regulations, as well?

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Yes, Caitlin, they are. There is this kind of underlying stereotype that women lie about sexual assault and sexual harassment, and that concept that women cannot be trusted when telling a story about sexual harassment and sexual assault really underlies, we think, the rationale, not the stated rationale, but what we think is the actual rationale for many of the rules changes. So changing the standard of proof requiring these live hearings, making a presumption for the respondent, and excluding all hearsay evidence, even if it would be admissible in other forms. We think that there is an underlying current there, both within the regulations and in statements that were made by high-ranking people within the Department of Education, as well as the former president, contemporaneous with when these rules were being contemplated and rolled out that really show that one of the animating ideas behind needing special rules for this type of conduct, as opposed to, as I mentioned earlier, discrimination on the basis of race or on the basis of disability, or even discrimination on the basis of gender that’s not sexual harassment or sexual assault is because of this completely false and very damaging stereotype that women lie about this.

Natalie Fleming Nolen: Even though study after study shows that there are not more false accusations about this conduct than any other type of conduct, and that it is just completely false to assume that women lie about this.

Caitlin Crujido: Right? So these stereotypes are widespread across both cases, it seems. Generally, Natalie and Christine, just curious, what does it mean to you to be involved in your respective cases? Have you worked with these types of cases before, and what encouraged you to take on these particular cases?

Christine Wong: I can go ahead and start. I, frankly, was really honored to be part of Ms. Radwan’s case, and I worked on a team with really great associates, Randy Zack and Lily Smith. On a personal level, I have a daughter who played soccer. She retired early, she retired at age nine, but I think a lot about her future, and I think about her having to face the stereotypes that women have faced, even beyond athletics, beyond soccer, this gentle, passive notion versus in the workplace as well. And I think helping to dismantle stereotypes for female athletes, which are based on antiquated notions and ideals of women, will help all women going forward.

Natalie Fleming Nolen: I was also very honored to be able to be part of this case. I have done various work with the National Women’s Law Center over the past several years. I’m one of the co-chairs of the leadership advisory committee of the National Women’s Law center, and they have really helped to open my eyes to the real world practical impact of these rules. I think, reading them on their face, I could see that they were problematic, but hearing from the experts at the center, as well as our wonderful clients, our very brave survivors, and the amazing organizations who just fight a day in and day out to provide all students with equal access to education. These rules were a priority of the previous administration, and I think very harmful. And when I was really thrilled to be able to join with—there were various other lawsuits brought by various other parties around the country and just this team of extremely smart, extremely passionate experts in the field, it humbled me to be in their presence because they definitely have more on-the-ground experience with these laws than I do, and I’ve learned an extraordinary amount, and it’s been a real honor and a privilege.

Caitlin Crujido: Thank you, Natalie and Christine. We so appreciate all the hard work that you’ve put in to these very important cases and really appreciate your insight. As I mentioned earlier, we are very excited to also have with us Senior Council, Brenda Adams, from Equal Rights Advocates. MoFo has partnered with ERA on a number of pro bono efforts, including the evaluation of Bay Area school districts’ compliance with Title IX, and participating in the launch of equal rights advocates, pro bono attorney networked, and sexual violence and education. Brenda joined the ERA in 2018 after spending 12 years working for nonprofit organizations, such as the Bay Area Legal Aid, to provide access to justice for some of the most marginalized groups, including immigrants, members of the LGBT+ community, and low-income communities of color. Today, Brenda leads ERA’s impact litigation and education equity work, oversees their direct services programs, and engages with ERA’s partners to end sexual violence at work and in school. Welcome, Brenda. Would you mind telling us a little bit more about equal rights advocates and their mission?

Brenda Adams: I’d love to. Thank you so much, and thank you all for having me here. I’m honored to be here today. Yeah, ERA’s mission is to expand educational and employment opportunities for women and girls. And we use the term women and girls expansively to encompass individuals who identify as gender bare or non-binary. One of my favorite things about working at ERA is the way that we approach achieving this mission, which is we take a multifaceted approach to the work. We provide direct legal services to employees and students who are experiencing sex discrimination. We bring impact litigation. We engage in state and federal policy work. We conduct education and outreach and engage in communications campaigns. I think that’s really important because I think it puts us in the best position to fight against these pretty strong forces, as you’ve heard already, that we’re fighting against at the moment.

Caitlin Crujido: Thank you, Brenda. Given your vast experience in this space, could you tell us a little bit about the implications of the changes to the Title IX regulations?

Brenda Adams: Yes. Do you have five hours? I’m just—where to begin? I think, probably first and foremost, for me, the greatest implication that I see and that I anticipate is a chill in reporting of sexual harassment. As you probably already know, sexual harassment and assault are severely underreported. There’s not even really clear numbers on how bad the underreporting is, but one in four college women are raped, which you can just take that statistic as an example. And yet, for example, in 2016, 89% of colleges and universities reported zero rapes to the federal government. You can do the math on that. The bottom line is that these reports of assault are very few and far between. There are already so many barriers preceding these new regulations, and the new regulations that unfairly, as Natalie mentioned, tilt the scales in favor of respondents, I think will only worsen that problem.

Brenda Adams: That means that the changes are resulting in a decrease in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in schools, which, as actually was noted by the judge in our case during Natalie’s oral argument, the Department of Education’s mandate is to prevent, address, and remedy sexual harassment. Rules that narrow the field of conduct, for example, that qualifies as sexual harassment, as Natalie mentioned, limiting the definition of harassment to severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive conduct rather than the traditional “or,” or that limit harassment to only conduct that physically takes place on campuses rather than the previous standard, which was to focus on conduct that impacts the student’s access to education. All of that clearly does not serve the goal of preventing or addressing sexual harassment. It serves the goal that actually was overtly stated in the rule, which is to reduce the number of complaints that schools are obligated to investigate. I think there’s zero doubt that this rule, one of the major implications of that, is that it will further chill reporting of sexual harassment.

Caitlin Crujido: As Natalie discussed, the new regulations create all kinds of loopholes in the system. Can you kind of discuss those loopholes and maybe explain why they’re so problematic?

Brenda Adams: Sure. I mean, there’s really, like, too many to mention, in the several thousand pages of the final rule. And I wouldn’t—I don’t know if I would even label them as loopholes. They’re very overt provisions that limit the scope of conduct that falls under Title IX and therefore limits the enforcement rights of victims of sex discrimination. But one that comes to mind is, for example, there’s no longer a time requirement for investigating and adjudicating these allegations. Previously, under Obama-era guidance, promptness requirement was defined as 60 days, absent, you know, a good reason for an extension or a delay. There’s still this promptness requirement, but it’s now undefined. Where previously, investigations very routinely did go beyond the 90 days, and sometimes there were legitimate reasons and sometimes not, but when the delay was not for legitimate reason, at least the victim had some sort of recourse.

Brenda Adams: Now, there’s no time limit at all and no enforceability. So these investigations can go on indefinitely. And, as another example, a school now, under the new regulations, can choose not to pursue an investigation if the respondent has graduated or is otherwise no longer enrolled. Maybe they transferred. If you combine these two loopholes, a school has every incentive to delay an investigation of a case until the respondent graduates so they just don’t have to deal with it anymore. Again, none of this serves the department’s mandate to prevent and address sexual harassment. It just sweeps it under the rug or ignores it completely, which is not only harmful in the sense that it doesn’t prevent or address sexual harassment, but it’s also incredibly traumatic for the people who’ve experienced the harassment.

Caitlin Crujido: Right. And this kind of goes into my next question, which was how did these new regulations affect women and girls in our education, in both the short term and the long term?

Brenda Adams: Yeah, the effects, both short and long term, really just cannot be overstated. Students experience PTSD, not just from the assaults, but from the campus adjudications themselves, and this was already the case before these new regulations. So it was not a pretty picture before DeVos got involved. But, in fact, there’s been quite a bit of study and research on the topic of institutional betrayal, which is a term that was coined by professor Jennifer Fried, who, as a side note, experienced her own sex discrimination in employment, as she was paid unequally. But the importance of institutional betrayal is that it not only prevents the victim from healing from the initial trauma, which is the assault of the harassment, but it also causes its own harm and trauma to the person. So I will tell you, this is the truth.

Brenda Adams: 100% of the people that I have represented in these cases have said that what they experienced as a result of their school’s process of adjudicating the report of assault harmed them more than the experience—the initial assault that they experienced. The process makes them feel blamed, disbelieved. It retraumatizes them, the direct live cross-examination feature that Natalie mentioned earlier, it causes victims to actually re-experience the event in the moment, which causes serious emotional trauma. In addition, they get pushed out of school, meaning that there is an extremely high dropout rate resulting from victimization, and we call that pushout. And besides all of that, there are lots of studies that show that there is a financial—a very serious financial cost to sexual assault. It’s somewhere in the range of $250,000 per victim. And that’s tuition fees, housing costs, medical costs, therapy costs.

Brenda Adams: It also includes lost or delayed wages. When a person experiences sexual assault and then has to deal with that and is further harmed by their school’s process, et cetera, their grades slip, they have trouble concentrating. These are symptoms of trauma, and that means that they may have to retake classes, or now, all of a sudden, their graduation is delayed. So that $150,000 they were going to make the year after they graduated, they’re not making that now. Now, they’re actually paying more in in tuition and in housing, and they’re not making that money. And that doesn’t even take into account. That’s just the individual, that doesn’t take into account the massive cost to our society to women, girls, and non-binary communities overall for this, for our country, our government’s failure to prevent and adequately address this disease, this rampant problem of sexual harassment on our college campuses and in our K to 12 schools, as well.

Caitlin Crujido: Yeah. I mean, those effects are certainly alarming. Not only do the new Title IX regulations have a detrimental effect on women and girls, but I would imagine that they impact organizations like ERA’s ability to provide services. Can you kind of explain how the new regulation has affected ERA?

Brenda Adams: Yes, absolutely, and this is the reason why we’re an organizational plaintiff in the case that you all have brought. It’s had a massive impact on us and our ability to achieve our mission. We’ve had to divert time and resources away from other efforts like our entire employment practice to focus more on education. We just imagine this is a multi-thousand—this is thousands of pages with just this one rule. We’ve had to digest it, train our pro bono attorneys and others out in the field about the new rules. We’ve had to redo entire collaborations with school districts and other institutions of higher education learning. We’ve had to adjust the policies that we’ve worked on in the past. We have to now redo—we have had to overhaul our know-your-rights materials.

Brenda Adams: As Natalie mentioned earlier, these rules represent a total 180 from how cases were adjudicated before that. You can just imagine what that entails. And meanwhile, we’ve been flooded with questions from students and school administrators who are struggling to understand the rules and how they apply to various types of gender-based misconduct. One question we had at the beginning was, well, does this apply only to conduct that took place after the date that the rules went into effect, and the DOE later clarified that, but it—we spent months trying to answer that question, and the additional amount of time that we’ve spent providing this technical assistance to folks on these issues has diverted us from the other important legal programs and activities that we engage in.

Caitlin Crujido: So, we’ve talked a lot about the impact of the Title IX regulations on both individuals and organizations. Recognizing that these regulations are already in effect, what kinds of changes do you expect the Biden administration to implement in the near term to kind of combat some of these negative effects of the new regulations?

Brenda Adams: Well, it’s hard to say at this point. We’re obviously encouraged by the statements that have been made and the mandates that have been made in terms of the Department of Education being ordered by President Biden to immediately review and rescind and replace, essentially, the Title IX regulations. But that doesn’t mean we know what the new regulations will say. President Biden was a big reason that we saw better protections for survivors during the Obama administration. I remain hopeful that President Biden’s administration will return Title IX to its original purpose, which is a civil rights law that protects women and people of marginalized identities from sex discrimination. The new regulations have basically taken Title IX and flipped it entirely on its head. Our hope is that the new administration will return it to its original purpose, will overcome—will sort of acknowledge and overcome the stereotype that Natalie was referring to earlier, which, by the way, is completely unfounded, that women lie essentially about rape. The statistics show that the false accusations about sexual assault are no higher than any other type of crime or misconduct.

Brenda Adams: We hope that they will acknowledge those biases and affirmatively set them aside and not have our classrooms turned into courtrooms, especially when they do so without all the protections as Natalie mentioned earlier. That’s our hope.

Caitlin Crujido: Thank you, Brenda. Thank you for joining us, and thank you for the super important work that you do. We certainly appreciate it, and it really has been an honor working with you and your organization on this Title IX lawsuit. This concludes MoFo Perspective’s episode on Title IX. Once again, I’m your host, Caitlin Crujido, speaking with Natalie Fleming Nolen, Christine Wong, and Brenda Adams. Thank you all for joining us.

Speaker: Please make sure to subscribe to the MoFo Perspectives podcast so you don’t miss an episode. If you have any questions about what you heard today, or would like more information on this topic, please visit mofo.com/podcasts. Again, that’s MoFo, M-O-F-O.com/podcasts.

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