How do you defend against Title IX?

Defending Against Title IX Allegations

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities. It states, in part: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”


While Title IX is critically important for promoting equity in educational opportunities, there are instances when individuals and institutions may find themselves facing allegations of violations. These can be challenging times, and a strong defense is vital. In this article, we’ll explore key strategies for defending against Title IX allegations.

What Steps to Take?

  1. Understand the Nature of the Allegation. Before you can mount a defense, it is paramount to understand the specific nature of the allegation. Title IX covers a wide range of issues from athletic funding disparities to cases of sexual harassment or violence.
  2. Hire Experienced Legal Counsel. If you’re faced with a Title IX complaint, it is crucial to retain experienced legal counsel who is familiar with the intricacies of Title IX proceedings. Our firm, Botsford & Roark, specializes in such cases and offers a wealth of experience.
  3. Know Your Rights. As a respondent to a Title IX complaint, you have rights. You have the right to a prompt and equitable resolution of your complaint. You also have the right to present witnesses and evidence. Familiarize yourself with your institution’s specific policies and procedures as they relate to Title IX.
  4. Preserve All Evidence. Retain all communications, such as texts, emails, and social media exchanges, that may be pertinent to the case. This evidence can be invaluable in building your defense.
  5. Engage in Mediation. Many institutions offer mediation as an alternative to a formal hearing. Mediation can be a less adversarial way to address and potentially resolve the complaint. However, both parties must typically agree to mediation.
  6. Prepare a Detailed Timeline. Establishing a clear and concise timeline of events can help contextualize the circumstances surrounding the complaint. This can be instrumental in illustrating inconsistencies in the complainant’s account or providing alternative explanations for alleged events.
  7. Maintain Confidentiality. It’s essential to keep the details of the case confidential. Discussing the case with others, especially on social media platforms, can harm your defense.
  8. Avoid Retaliation. Title IX also protects individuals from retaliation. Avoid any actions that could be construed as retaliatory, as this can result in additional complaints and legal complications.
  9. Seek External Expertise. Consider hiring experts who can offer an objective opinion on the evidence or the events in question. For instance, a digital forensic expert might analyze electronic evidence, or a psychologist might provide insights into the dynamics of the interactions between the parties involved.
  10. Stay Informed of Title IX Updates. The interpretation and enforcement of Title IX are continually evolving. Stay informed about the latest developments by referring to authoritative sources such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.


Facing a Title IX allegation can be a daunting experience, but with a sound defense strategy, it is possible to navigate these challenges. Whether you’re an individual or an institution, understanding your rights, preserving evidence, and retaining experienced legal counsel are vital steps in mounting a strong defense.

Brian Roark, as a partner at Botsford & Roark law firm in Austin, TX, has extensive experience defending against Title IX allegations. For more information or to seek counsel, please visit our website at

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Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Roark

About the Author

Brian Roark is an experienced criminal defense attorney and Title IX lawyer, and former professor of Trial Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law. He has successfully represented clients in a wide range of criminal cases, including DWIs, drug offenses, and violent crimes. Brian has extensive experience representing clients in university Title IX proceedings, helping students navigate these complex and often stressful processes. He is committed to providing his clients with compassionate and personalized legal representation and has a proven track record of achieving positive results.

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