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Trouble on Campus symposium offers higher education clients guidance on crisis management

Attorneys from Saul Ewing’s Higher Education and White Collar & Government Enforcement practices joined forces  for a half-day symposium to better prepare colleges and universities for managing a crisis on campus.

“Trouble on Campus: Playbook for Government Investigations and Crisis Management,” gave the attendees insight on confronting challenges arising from government scrutiny of their compliance with the Clery Act, Title IX and other laws. The event drew more than 65 attendees to The Hub CityView in Philadelphia.

In the past, federal government enforcement of Title IX in the higher education world has largely focused on equality in athletics and equal opportunities for females and males. But recently, the federal Office of Civil Rights is looking more deeply at how colleges and universities handle sexual assaults and sexual harassment claims. Regulations are evolving, legislation that would toughen standards is pending, and enforcement is getting tougher , all of which present added legal challenges for higher education institutions.

The symposium included an impressive panel of outside speakers who are general counsels from the University of Cincinnati, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Amherst College and Penn State. Together, they presented a program that took attendees from issues to consider in preparing a crisis playbook to a summary of more than 200 pages of regulations related to changes to the Clery Act by the Violence Against Women Act released just one day before the event.

The keynote speaker, Geoff Moulton, a former federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, discussed how to use an after-action review in connection with a mock crisis to evaluate an institution’s ability to comply with the Clery Act and other laws. Geoff’s insight on this issue comes in part from his role as a former special deputy attorney general who reviewed the handling of the Jerry Sandusky investigation by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, other law enforcement agencies, and child protective services.

Panelists and moderators from Saul Ewing included partners Joseph H. O’Dea, James A. Keller and James D. Taylor, Jr., as well as associate Joshua W.B.  RichardsChristopher R. Hall, chair of the White Collar & Government Enforcement Practice, and James Keller, co-chair of the Higher Education Practice, welcomed the attendees.