Katz, Marshall & Banks recently settled a Title IX claim against the University of Colorado, Boulder on behalf of its client, a Ph.D. student in CU-Boulder’s Philosophy Department. KMB alleged that CU violated Title IX by exposing the student to a sexually hostile academic environment and to retaliation by a tenured Professor in the Department after her Title IX claims were validated by the University’s Office of Discrimination and Harassment. In settlement of her claims, CU-Boulder agreed to pay the graduate student $825,000. In addition, the University has taken steps to support her academic career and to eradicate the sexually hostile environment in the Department.
KMB and CU-Boulder released a joint statement that described the University’s efforts to adopt new practices to reform how CU-Boulder addresses gender discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. CU-Boulder has also hired a new Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator, Valerie Simons, to assist with these reforms. CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano issued both a written statement and a University-wide video statement in which he underscored the University's commitment to Title IX compliance. In the written statement he stated, “This settlement is part of our ongoing, intense effort to combat gender discrimination and sexual harassment across the campus.” In the video statement released to the University community, Chancellor DiStefano noted that settling the graduate student’s claims was “the right thing to do.” In conjunction with the settlement, KMB Partners Lisa J. Banks and Debra S. Katz, who represented the graduate student, stated: “Often, we interact with institutions that would rather fight in the courts than attempt to reach solutions in everyone’s best interests.” They noted that, “In reaching a settlement in this case and in taking appropriate corrective measures independent of those required in the settlement, CU-Boulder’s administration has demonstrated responsible leadership and has taken important steps to ensure that our client and others like her will not have to endure a sexually hostile academic environment.” KMB Senior Associate Matthew Stiff and KMB Associate Colleen Coveney also represented the graduate student in this matter.