In April 2022, two non-profits and a group of attorneys took a stand for the thousands of students hurt by investigations of allegations of sexual misconduct. They did so by filing amicus briefs in Doe v. MIT – a case pending in the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals. Our Attorney, Julie A. Nociolo signed onto the amicus curiae brief submitted by education law attorneys in support of the anonymity of the accused student.
Doe v. MIT
The amicus curiae briefs focus on protecting the anonymity of students involved in litigation over their school’s Title IX violations. Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is an advocacy organization that contributed to the brief and highlighted the severity of many universities’ gross violations of anti-harassment and sexual assault laws. It provided crucial details including the research of Brooklyn College Professor KC Johnson who identified at least 225 court decisions that were issued since 2011 that favor plaintiffs filing Title IX type lawsuits against their universities.
SAVE also detailed how the district court in MIT knowingly covered up these violations and prohibited plaintiffs to use a pseudonym. This means that if a student was involved in the case, their privacy and identity would be revealed despite precedents that allow pseudonyms to be used in such cases.
The brief also detailed the harm students to suffer when pseudonym status is denied by outlining numerous court decisions that prove that the educational and professional harm inflicted on students who are identified publicly as being involved in university sexual misconduct disciplinary proceedings. These students are ostracized and criticized for their involvement as a result.
The amicus highlighted how this harm is magnified by the internet, social media, and the current political climate. Real-life evidence of this harm was explicitly detailed in the brief filed by Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE). FACE is a non-profit that has advocated with nearly 2,000 accused students, professors, and families who have been adversely affected by inequitable Title IX disciplinary processes.
The 17 individuals listed in the brief were victims of the backlash and consequences of the school’s lack of consideration for their privacy. These students were key witnesses in the case against schools that cover up these violations and continue to break the law. The fallout from privacy violations can be fatal. FACE found that eight of these 17 individuals considered suicide; three attempted suicides; and how FACE is aware of students who committed suicides as a result of university investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct.
This type of harm will only increase if students cannot use pseudonyms in lawsuits filed to remedy the discrimination, they face on college campuses. Accordingly, supporters hope the First Circuit reverses the district court in MIT.
Attorney Julie A. Nociolo
Attorney Nociolo is a fierce defender and advocates who fights for her clients and their rights. She works tirelessly to protect their interests and educate them on the realities of a criminal case. Her compassion and experience are the pillars of her success and set her apart from her peers.
As an advocate, she cares deeply about the interests of her clients, especially the potential stigma or backlash from accusations of misconduct or violations of Title IX. Attorney Nociolo understands what is at stake in these cases and protects her clients’ rights every step of the way.
When you need legal counsel from a respected, compassionate, and successful attorney, choose Julie A Nociolo. E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy LLP is committed to excellence in legal practice. Our team is well respected and proudly serves our community by helping those who need it most.
Contact E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy LLP to find out how we can fight for you.