Another school year is just around the corner. Students will return to their dorms later this month. Professors are busily putting the final touches on their syllabi and finishing off summer writing projects. Administrators are hurriedly planning budgets, forming strategies, and seeking guidance on what may lie ahead for the new academic year.
Here at the Education Practice at HMBR, we are planning our own new “school year,” of sorts. We have restarted our Higher Ed Law Blog! We look forward to using these pages as a way to connect with you and keep you informed. We plan on bringing you news pieces, hearings announcements, conference recaps, and analytical pieces to keep you up to date on the latest developments in higher education and to give you the advantages you need to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We also expect to start posting on the connection between higher education and related topics, such as labor, healthcare, and others.
As you read our blog, you can continue to rely on HMBR’s deep knowledge of, and multi-disciplinary approach, to higher education, drawing on our experience working in the private as well as the public sector. We continue to be passionate about higher education and helping you achieve your academic, business, and institutional goals.
To get started, here is a list of developments that we are monitoring for the upcoming academic year as well as some suggestions about how we can help you navigate these issues:
Title IX Guidance – As has been widely publicized, the U.S. Department of Education is considering whether and, if so, how to revise its guidance on sexual harassment and sexual assault. While we cannot predict exactly what any new guidance will say, we recommend that your institution be ready with a proactive strategy for communicating to your community your values and commitment to compliance and fairness for all parties. If the Department does issue revised guidance, we will send out a newsletter to you explaining the changes, offering new training sessions, and providing you with a path forward in this latest era of Title IX enforcement.
Academic Freedom and Free Speech – Most experts are predicting another year of high profile free speech controversies on campus. These eruptions can lead to unwanted publicity and disruptive campus upheaval that can negatively impact an institution’s public image and reputation. However, with the right policies, colleges can continue to be a place where free expression is respected and all community members feel valued. HMBR is well-equipped to provide training sessions on academic freedom and free speech issues as well as to provide comprehensive reviews of your campus policies and to assist you in writing new policies or handling specific incidents as they occur.
The Janus Case and Labor Issues – The Supreme Court is likely to hear a challenge that could put an end to the practice of public sector unions charging fees to non-members. The impact of the case could greatly reduce public sector unions’ political authority and potentially have a lasting effect on collective bargaining agreements for public institutions. In addition, the movement to unionize adjunct faculty and graduate students is showing no sign of stopping. HMBR offers a team of attorneys experienced in representing labor unions and management in a full range of labor and employment matters, providing our clients with well-informed perspectives that address complex legal and regulatory requirements as well as your critical business demands.
Additional Issues – New and Revised Financial Aid Regulations; Accreditation Issues and Program Modifications; Undocumented Students, DACA, and “Sanctuary Campuses”; Student Demographic Changes and Its Impact on Populations and Services; International Student Recruitment and Support; Advances in Education Technology and Delivery Systems
HMBR is uniquely positioned on all of these topics and more. We are true problem-solvers with the experience, knowledge, and ability to provide you with comprehensive legal representation to help you successfully overcome the hurdles your institution faces. While the new academic year will definitely have its share of challenges, our attorneys routinely assist clients in structuring and executing a wide range of creative solutions that assist colleges and universities in moving forward and achieving their institutional goals.
We look forward to keeping you informed here at the Higher Ed Law Blog. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like us to post on a topic of interest to you, please feel free to contact us.
Here’s to a successful 2017-2018 Academic Year!