2023 Conference Agenda

Legal Issues Schedule

2 1/2 Days on Campus – Concurrent Sessions – Roundtable Discussions

Sample Topics

    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    • Hazing
    • Labor and Employment Law
    • Mental Health
    • Speech on Campus
    • Student Health
    • Substance Use
    • Threat Assessment
    • Title IX

Select session descriptions for the 2023 UVM Legal Issues Conference:

The Anatomy of Employment Litigation:  Getting to the Heart of the Matter and Mitigating Risk
Anne Bilder, Dan Kaufman

Dissecting employment cases can provide invaluable lessons learned and highlight best practices that administrators and other employees of colleges and universities can utilize to supervise employees effectively, as well to mitigate the risk and exposure of employment complaints and litigation – both against the institution and individuals. This session will discuss various considerations for developing and implementing sound policies and practices, including tips for fostering effective management and helping to ensure compliance with the current state of employment law, based upon experience with litigation and before administrative agencies.  We will review a scenario based on real cases involving issues related to employment discrimination, disability accommodation, and retaliation to help translate these tips into practice. We hope to engage the audience with the scenario, and that the best practices will elicit comments and questions.

Balanced Attention to Respondents: Understanding Procedural Due Process Considerations and Approaches to Respondent Resources
Patricia Hamill, Maureen Holland, Erin Oliver, Lin-Chi Wang

Campus processes that consider and integrate the needs of respondents may increase engagement, reduce incidents of retaliation, and identify emerging concerns about safety or well-being. Panelists will discuss the importance of adhering to procedural protections and providing balanced approaches to care and support for all parties.

Controversial Speakers and the First Amendment
Tamla Lewis, Danny Shaha

Speakers will share the ways in which Penn State has worked to navigate first amendment issues connected with controversial speakers on campus. Topics will include relevant policies on free expression, communication strategies with various University and community populations, and lessons learned.

Cultivating Resilience: Addressing the Mental Health Impact on Students and Faculty
Steven Bulger, Jeremy Butler

This presentation aims to enlighten higher education professionals about the significant influence of mental health on students and faculty in the aftermath of the pandemic. By exploring the challenges faced by the academic community, we will delve into the latest research and practical strategies to foster a culture of well-being in educational institutions and share information on our creative collaboration with Herkimer College. From recognizing and assessing mental health concerns to promoting inclusive environments and proactive interventions, participants will gain valuable insights to support the mental well-being of all stakeholders.

How Reality-Based Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Harm-Reduction Education Helps IHEs Meet DFSCA Requirements
Barbara McCall, Kristin Nash, Hannah Ross

The use of psychedelics and cannabis is at an all-time high among young adults while accidental overdose deaths from Fentanyl laced pills are skyrocketing. In the face of these trends, what can colleges and universities do to create a culture of wellness and safety on campus, reduce harms, and be compliant with the expectations of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989?  The William G. Nash Foundation, with support from Middlebury College, and through a grant to Students for Sensible Drug Policy and University of New Mexico’s Dr. Nina Christie, has developed a toolkit of harm reduction strategies tailored for the higher education context, which has been reviewed by the United States Department of Education.  This set of practical resources for college campuses offer constructive suggestions for outreach and programming specific to college students by focusing on developmentally appropriate ways to support safer decision-making. The presentation will review the contents of the toolkit along with results from interviews with 25 student health and prevention professionals in higher education offering first-hand perspectives from the front lines of AOD education on campus, including barriers and facilitators to the most effective programming.

Pregnancy and Students: Supporting Pregnant Students, and the Laws That May Apply
Jody Shipper, Andrea Stagg

The changing landscape of student disabilities and conditions often impacts the application of Title IX, 504, and ADA support processes. Pregnancy, under certain circumstances, can implicate both disability law and Title IX, creating situations ripe for miscommunication and misapplication of either or both. The coordination of efforts between Title IX and Student Accessibility/Disability offices when addressing a pregnant or parenting student’s request for assistance is key to successfully resolving concerns before they rise to the level of conflict and complaint. Compliance with pregnancy protections is a signature issue of current ED enforcement. This essential session will:   ensure that you can identify and implement improvements to your institution’s policies and communications about rights and resources for pregnant students;  share best practices in responding to pregnant students’ needs, in accordance with institutional obligations under Title IX; prepare participants for additional obligations toward pregnant students under the forthcoming Title IX regulations and explain the difference between the current compliance landscape and what’s expected going forward.

Responding to Other Conduct of Concern: Shifting Responses to Bias Incidents
Leora Freedman, Leslie Gomez, Gina Maisto Smith, Felicia Washington

Campuses across the country are struggling with how to respond to reports of conduct that might not rise to the level of protected status discrimination and harassment.  Panelists will discuss effective models, recent case law decisions, and the intersection of free speech and other considerations.

Sex, Gender, Identity, and Expression: Law, History, Practice
Emma Hempel, Joseph Storch

A half century since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, we have seen significant advances in understanding the language and law around sex and gender. In this session, we will provide some of the legal, historical, and practical background from the perspective of counsel and a practicing Title IX Coordinator.  We will host an Ask Me Anything covering the history of language in this area, what the law and cases in point are telling us, and what the future may hold. A key component will be discussing how to put these legal standards into practice for your college and university communities. While there will be some content provided, the emphasis of this discussion is on open and honest dialogue and conversation.

Due to the changing nature of legal topics impacting higher education and speaker schedules, all topics and schedules are subject to change.


Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference: Denzil Suite Talks About How He Approaches Topics for the Conference

Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference: Joshua Richards on Title IX Topics for 2022

Richards will present at this year’s conference.