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Task Force on Campus Sexual Misconduct

Chair: Andrew S. Boutros

Partner & National Co-Chair White Collar, Internal Investigations & False Claims Team Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, IL & Washington D.C.

Reporter: Tamara Rice Lave

Professor of Law, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

Task Force's Recommendations & Report

The ABA Criminal Justice Section has established the Task Force on College Due Process Rights and Victim Protections to develop guidelines and best practices to ensure due process for both the victim and the accused in college campus sexual misconduct cases.

With nearly 5,000 colleges and universities and almost 21 million students, higher education institutions face challenges and responsibilities on how to respond fairly and effectively to allegations of campus sexual assault.  A school’s failure to adapt to changing times, predict and respond to new (and evolving) guidance, implement improved best practices and adhere to expanding legal mandates can spell disaster. Indeed, schools that misstep face Department of Education enforcement actions, criminal prosecution, litigation, reputational damage and an erosion of trust among the school’s many constituents.

The findings of the task force were unanimously endorsed by the Criminal Justice Section Council, but are not formal ABA policy at this time. The endorsed findings urge the nation’s private and public colleges and universities to adopt a disciplinary system in sexual misconduct cases that includes procedural and substantive due process protections for the accused while protecting the rights and interests of the victim.