Feminist Majority Foundation v. Hurley, No. 17-2220 (4th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their civil rights actions under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and 42 U.S.C. 1983, seeking the reinstatement of three claims: a Title IX sex discrimination claim against the University of Mary Washington; a Title IX retaliation claim against UMW; and a section 1983 claim against UMW's former president, Dr. Richard Hurley, for violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the section 1983 claim and held that, at the time of President Hurley's challenged conduct, the equal protection right to be free from a university administrator's deliberate indifference to student-on-student sexual harassment was not clearly established by either controlling authority or by a robust consensus of persuasive authority. The court vacated the dismissal of the retaliation claim insofar as it is premised on UMW’s deliberate indifference to student-on-student retaliatory harassment. The court affirmed the dismissal of the aspect of the retaliation claim that relied exclusively on President Hurley's June 2015 letter. Finally, the panel vacated the dismissal of the Title IX sex discrimination claim against UMW where plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged a sex discrimination claim under Title IX, predicated on UMW's deliberate indifference to the specified student-on-student harassment.