Georgetown Law Hosts Conference on Sexual Assault and Academic Freedom on College Campuses

October 5, 2016 —

Georgetown Law, The Journal of Legal Education and the Georgetown Gender Justice Project will sponsor a day-long conference on the subject of Sexual Assault and Academic Freedom on College Campuses. The conference will bring together academic administrators and legal scholars in the fields of First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment law, sexual violence, and academic law, including Professor Catherine Ross (George Washington Law School), Dean Emeritus Joan Howarth (Michigan State Law School), Alexandre Brodsky (student activist, Yale Law School) and Associate Dean and Distinguished University Professor Kathy Baker (Chicago Kent Law School). The conference is keynoted by Hiram Chodosh, current president and professor of Claremont McKenna College. Scholars will examine and debate the role of the First Amendment in protecting offensive speech on campus; the use of “trigger warnings” in the classroom; the impact of new policies regarding both the processing and reporting of complaints on faculty, staff and students; the nature of speech itself in the college context; the dangers of sexual assault; and the risks to academic freedom and fair process now facing both men and women on college campuses.


Friday, October 14, 2016


Georgetown University Law Center

Hart Auditorium

600 New Jersey Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20001

Media wishing to attend should RSVP to 


Universities occupy a hallowed position in American culture. But numerous studies showing high rates of sexual assault on college campuses, as well as several well-publicized incidents, have spurred not only a wave of concern about students' safety but also new and more rigorous policies for addressing these assaults in universities and colleges across the country. While the importance of protecting students from violence is unquestioned, these new policies call for consideration of issues such as the appropriate role of administrative decision-making, the role of governmental regulations, the need for academic freedom, and the rule of law generally. How can we best ensure an educational environment free from sexual violence but, at the same time, provide for academic freedom and fair processes? How might we best maintain academic freedom without making it a defensive shield against enforcing equal opportunity requirements within academic life? These and related questions will inform the symposium. 


8:45 - 9:00 a.m. 


Robin West, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law

Margaret Woo, Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Jeremy R. Paul, Dean, Northeastern University School of Law


9:00 - 9:40 a.m.

Keynote Address 

Hiram Chodosh, President and Professor of the College, Claremont McKenna College  


9:40 - 10:00 a.m.



10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Morning Panel: Words, Violence, and the Law -- on College Campuses

Brooke Mascagni, Asst. Prof. of Political Science and Feminist Studies, Texas A&M, The Politics of Neutrality: Freedom of Speech and Campus Violence

Katherine Pogin, Ph.D. candidate, Northwestern University, The Politics of Neutrality: Freedom of Speech and Campus Violence

Catherine Ross, Professor of Law, George Washington University, Violent Words and Constitutional Norms (on Campus)

Kathy Baker, University Distinguished Professor, Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Administration, Chicago Kent Law School, What If This Wasn't About Sex? Some Alternative Analogies for Thinking About Injurious Behavior on College Campuses 


11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.



1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Panel Two: Harassment, Abuse, and Fair Processes – on College Campuses

William Kidder, Associate VP and Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Sonoma State University, Below the Surface of the Water in the Title IX Iceberg: Sexual Harassment by College Faculty

Nancy Cantalupo, Associate Professor of Law, Barry Law School, Below the Surface of the Water in the Title IX Iceberg: Sexual Harassment by College Faculty

Brian Pappas, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Director of the ADR Program, Director, Conflict Resolution Clinic, Michigan State University, Abuse of Freedom:  Balancing Quality and Efficiency in Faculty Title IX Procedures

Kelly Behre, Professor of Law, Director, UC Davis Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic, UC Davis, Law Clinics Working Within the Campus Community to Address Campus Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking in a Time of Heightened Scrutiny

Alexandra Brodsky, JD, Yale, 2016, Editor,, A Rising Tide: Learning about Fair Disciplinary Process from Title IX


3:45 - 5:15 p.m.

Panel Three: Speech and Coercion -- on College Campuses

Joan Howarth, Professor of Law and Dean Emerita, Michigan State Law School, Sexual Shaming

Venezia Michalsen, Associate Professor of Justice Studies, Montclair State University, Trigger Warnings: From Panic to Data

 Holly Rider-Milkovich, Director, Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, University of Michigan, Trigger Warnings: From Panic to Data

Francesca S. Laguardia, Assistant Professor of Justice Studies, Montclair State University, Trigger Warnings: From Panic to Data

John Bonine, Bernard Kilks Professor of Law, University of Oregon Law School, Mandatory Reporting and Law 


Commentators, Moderators, Conveners:

Jeremy Paul, Dean, Northeastern Law

Robin West, Professor, Georgetown Law

Naomi Mezey, Professor and Associate Dean, Georgetown Law 

Margaret Woo, Professor, Northeastern Law

Deborah Epstein, Professor, Georgetown Law

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