This practice ignores the fundamental differences between the workplace and the campus setting as well as the unique issues raised by peer harassment.
Part I of this article provides some examples of the misapplication of peer harassment law on campus, both in the drafting and enforcement of college and university harassment policies, and discusses the ways in which such measures restrict student speech rights.
Some colleges and universities have interpreted these decisions as, firstly, signaling and endorsing a parallel in the law under the respective statutes and, secondly, imposing a broader scheme of institutional liability for peer harassment.
These schools have therefore decided to draft and enforce their harassment policies in a manner which tracks Title VII hostile environment standards for the workplace.
The case law under both statutes has made it clear that an alleged hostile environment must be based on extreme patterns of harassing conduct rather than pure verbal expression.
Properly understood, hostile environment law under Title IX and Title VI has a limited scope and should not be interpreted to encompass various protected expressions.