Foster v. Board of Regents of University of Michigan, No. 19-1314 (6th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Foster and the respondent were classmates an off-site executive MBA program based in Los Angeles through the University of Michigan. Students participated in once-a-month, weekend sessions at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Foster developed a friendship with the respondent but the two did not have a dating or sexual relationship. The respondent began sending complimentary texts, giving Foster unsolicited gifts, expressing romantic interest. and making unwanted physical contact. He came to her hotel room and removed his clothing. Foster reported that the respondent had sexually harassed her to the University, which made arrangements so that the two would not stay in the same hotel, eat together, attend social functions together, or interact in class. Foster was not satisfied with the arrangements. During the next “residency,” the respondent sent vulgar text messages to administrators, violated the restrictions, and was barred from the second day of classes. His communications became increasingly aggressive. Foster obtained a restraining order but the respondent appeared at graduation in Michigan. The district court rejected Foster’s deliberate-indifference claim under Title IX, 20 U.S.C. 1681–1688, on summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Foster established a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the University was deliberately indifferent by alleging that the University’s response to the respondent’s unwillingness to comply with its orders was clearly unreasonable and caused her to undergo further harassment.