U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights: Federal Lawsuit Challenges April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” Letter


University of Virginia

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On June 16, 2016, a former University of Virginia School of Law student filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Department of Education’s (ED’s) unlawful mandate that colleges abandon due process protections and try sexual misconduct cases using the lowest standard of evidence. FIRE and other civil liberties advocates have continually objected to the ED’s “preponderance of the evidence” mandate since its Office for Civil Rights announced the requirement in a 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter. Advocates have warned that the letter diminishes accused students’ due process rights and violates the Administrative Procedure Act. FIRE is sponsoring the lawsuit.

Following the September 2017 rescission of the “Dear Colleague” letter, this lawsuit was voluntarily withdrawn on February 21, 2018.