Court Speaks on Peer Harassment
May 24, the US Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Davis
v. Monroe County Board of Education. The landmark ruling represents
the most authoritative pronouncement by the court on an educational institution's
liability to a victim of peer sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination proscribed by Title
IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. That federal statute prohibits
discrimination based on gender in schools, colleges and universities that
receive federal funds. Federal agencies such as the US Department of Education
have long held that institutions must outlaw not only sexual harassment
against students by employees, but also by other students.
In a 5-4 decision, the Davis court held that an institution may
be liable for such harassment if it "acts with deliberate indifference"
to such conduct and the conduct is "severe, pervasive and objectively
The Davis case is important to the entire education community;
however, most of Maricopa's regular faculty is presently away for the
summer. In Brief, then, will reserve for the Fall 1999 issue a
full examination of the Davis opinion, and will provide at that time a
discussion of the ruling's effect on the higher education environment.
in the Summer 1999 Edition of In Brief