Harvard Law School Professor Vicki C. Jackson will serve as project reporter for a project examining college and university procedures surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct on campus. The project, titled Project on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct on Campus: Procedural Frameworks and Analysis, is sponsored by the American Law Institute.

“For more than 90 years, The American Law Institute has worked to clarify, modernize, and improve the law,” said ALI Director Richard Revesz. “The Institute often takes on topics that are at the forefront of legal discourse. Recent national events have raised awareness of legal issues in the investigation and adjudication of campus sexual assault, making now the perfect time for ALI to tackle this subject.”

This project will examine college and university responses to complaints of gender-based and sexual misconduct, including sexual assault. A partial list of issues to be considered includes reporting procedures; confidentiality; relationships with police and local criminal justice, including obligations to report; interim measures and support for complainants and fair treatment of the accused; investigation and adjudication, including training requirements for investigators and adjudicators; the role of lawyers; the creation and maintenance of records; sanctions or remedies; and appeals. The project will also examine informal resolutions, as well as the nature of hearings (including, for example, admissible evidence and methods of taking testimony).

“The American Law Institute has long been a great resource to courts,” said Margaret H. Marshall, former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and a member of the American Law Institute’s Executive Committee. “ALI’s process allows our project Reporters to distill accurately a broad cross-section of legal precedents and practices, which a single judge could not accomplish. We are excited to apply our process to this timely and important topic to help colleges and universities in the same way that we have assisted the courts over the years.”

Suzanne B. Goldberg, Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Columbia Law School; and Executive Vice President for University Life, Columbia University, will serve as Associate Reporter.

“Colleges and universities face special challenges in designing and implementing procedures to respond to campus sexual and gender-based misconduct. These challenges include maintaining an academic community with equal educational opportunities for all students while implementing procedures that are both effective and fair – for those who have suffered from such misconduct and for those accused of such misconduct,” said Jackson. “Through examination of existing disciplinary procedures in colleges and universities (small and large, public and private), relevant regulatory requirements and guidance, critiques of existing practice and procedure, and proposals for improvements, we aim to produce principles and analyses that will help universities and colleges, and their disciplinary boards, thoughtfully, fairly, and effectively respond to such misconduct complaints.”

Project ideas are generated from many sources and reviewed initially by the ALI’s Director and Projects Committee.  Once the ALI’s Council votes to begin a new project, the initial draft is prepared by project Reporters in close consultation with Advisers and an ALI Members Consultative Group (MCG). When the Director determines that the Preliminary Draft is ready for consideration by the Council, the Reporter prepares a Council Draft, incorporating revisions made in light of the previous review by the Advisers and MCG, for review, discussion, and approval by the Council. If the Council approves this draft, the Reporter prepares a Tentative Draft, incorporating any revisions directed by the Council, for review and approval by the membership at an Annual Meeting.  Courts, legislatures, and government agencies have come to rely on the ALI’s work due to its careful drafting process, its independence and integrity, and the intellectual caliber of those who participate in the projects.

ALI Project Preliminary Drafts and Council Drafts are available to project participants and to the Council. Tentative Drafts, Discussion Drafts, and Proposed Final Drafts are publicly available. Only drafts approved by both the Council and the membership at an Annual Meeting represent The American Law Institute’s position on the subject and may be cited as representing the ALI’s views in opinions or briefs.

The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law. The ALI drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, Model Codes, and Principles of Law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education.