OU Could Face Title IX Legal Trouble, No Matter Outcome Of Boren Investigation


Tuesday, April 9th 2019, 9:03 am
By: Grant Hermes


No matter what the results of investigations into former OU President David Boren and Vice President Tripp Hall turn conclude, the University and its officials may still face legal troubles over when and how much OU officials knew about the two allegations against the former top men.

Those troubles would likely come in the form of civil suits for violations of Title IX rules. According to the University's Title IX policies, “The University recognizes its obligation to address incidents of sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment on campus when it becomes aware of its existence even if no complaints are filed.”

The policies, however, do not mention any requirement of the Title IX office to notify law enforcement of an alleged crime and instead put that responsibility on alleged victims. In the case of Boren and Hall, OU chose to conduct an internal investigation run by the out of state law firm Jones Day. The decision has been criticized by victim’s rights advocates.

"When a report is coming to Title IX – [the Title IX office] should never be picking up the phone and calling the legal counsel, right? ," advocate Sara Bana said about the investigation over the weekend. Bana is also a close friend of Jess Eddy, one of the two men who have come forward with allegations against the two former University leaders.

“If the university knew and the allegations were made back at a certain time and they didn't do something about it they could suffer some civil damages. Under title IX they're supposed to report those things which is why I say they were quick to act this time.” News9/Newson6 legal analyst Irven Box said, despite the lack of guidance in OU’s policies.

Other universities around the country have found themselves in similar situations in recent years including Baylor University. The controversy there led to the resignation of some of the university's top officials including now-former Baylor President Ken Starr.

At this point in time, there have not been any indications that a lawsuit in the same kind as those at Baylor have been directed at OU. Boren’s attorney continues to deny the allegations and OU officials have refused to comment in depth citing the ongoing investigation.

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