I used to be a student at a certain NYC public college, I graduated, and after graduation, I still had access to the school because I was a "research assistant". However I never was paid, nor did I ever sign a contract. My ex is a student (and was a student at the beginning of the investigation) in a masters program at the same school.

He filed a complaint against me saying I'm stalking him (I was/am not). The Title IX coordinator said that I'm not an employee nor a student at the school, yet she solely decided to treat me as an employee. She was incredibly biased in favor of my ex, and she kept accusing me of doing things, without any evidence or proof. So I thought it would be best to "quit" and just do research with my professor off-campus. I told the coordinator that I was quitting, and she said because of that the university no longer has jurisdiction over the case.

However, two weeks later, she emailed me saying that she realized I had alumni privileges (including access to the school with an alumni ID card). She took away my access until December 2017 without explanation, and said she has to resume the investigation to see if I am permanently going to be barred from the school.

How can she remove my access without any proof or without giving me ANY reason whatsoever? There was NO outcome of the stalking allegations because I quit the school, so how can she take away my access? Also, she stated that she would be treating me as an employee for the entire duration of the case (no one from HR could see me in the system because I wasn't an employee and no one from HR contacted me) nor was I told any of my rights. Also, if she said my status was employee, how can she resume the case when I am no longer affiliated with the school nor am I seeking employment at the school again? How can she resume the case with my status being an alumni and is there such a thing?

1 Answer 1


The basic authority of university staff is summarized here. What seems to be at issue here is whether you have a property right to "access" to the university, as an alumnus. Legal protection of alumnus rights is pretty minimal, contrasted with student or employee rights. There could be a line in the sand pertaining to whether you've paid for something, or are the privileges that you've enjoyed simple part of a PR stunt? If you pay the university for access to university facilities (borrower privileges, for example) then it would be harder to revoke that privilege. Most universities grant a certain level of added privilege, such as an alumnus email account, without any requirement to pay. (They hope to create some good will which translates into donations). So it would really depend on what the basis is for claiming access to university resources, as an alumnus.

There is no general obligation of a university to grant alumni various privileges, but they may have created a reasonable expectation and legal right to such privileges, as part of their advertising: that can only be judged by looking at all of the facts. There might be rules within the university which address alumni, so obviously reading the university rules is important. That is really how you would determine whether the coordinator is overstepping her authority.

If the university admits that it no longer has jurisdiction over you, then that might be the end of the case, unless that was an error based on less than the totality of the facts. If an accused completely and irrevocably severs relations with a university, the university would have no power over the accused. If there is still a relationship, or if the severance is revocable (i.e. you can become a student again), the university retains some power over an accused.

If a student violates the federal regulations pertaining to sex discrimination, the university could be in trouble if they do not address the situation. If the accused leaves the university for a quarter, that does not erase past acts, so the university could be in trouble if they don't address the situation in case of an intervening term off. Thus a legally-viable option would be for a university to permanently remove (unprotected) relations with an accused – not access to transcripts, because of FERPA, but certainly the right to re-enroll or the right to use the library as an alumnus.

Again, though, it would depend on what the university rules say. It is highly unlikely that the coordinator has the authority to find facts and mete out punishment (determine that an accused did the act), and this is usually determined by a committee, subject to approval by higher administration. However, an administrator does have the right to limit an individual's relationship to the university in a manner that protects the university's interest. For example, in the event that a person is accused of sexual harassment, the university can temporarily relieve a person of teaching and advising duties, until the case is resolved and there has been a final finding of fact. In general, universities are very protective of their interests and will absolutely squash anything that they think will get them into legal trouble. All that is necessary is that there be a credible basis for the claim – often, that means simply "an accusation". If a complainant vigorously pursues a case, the university could be in trouble because the law allows punishment (loss of funds) in case of a single past violation of the regulations. Their interest therefore is being sure that they have remediated the situation (the stronger course of action), or the complainant has given up (risky since the complainant can change their mind).


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