The Times -- They May Be Changin’ New Guidance Gives Hope For Anyone Accused of Sexual Assault or Harassment on a College Campus

For over 5 years, many families have been torn apart by disciplinary procedures at college campuses that were driven by the U.S. Department of Education’s “policy guidance” on the enforcement of a federal law known as “Title IX,” (20 USC sec 1681). On Friday, September 22, 2017, that guidance was withdrawn.

Download Guidance

The April, 2011 letter “guidance on sexual violence” was issued by the Office of Civil Rights under the Obama administration. That document was followed 3 years later by an April, 2014 statement. The 2 documents had the effect of drastically changing the landscape of fighting against a school’s efforts to discipline a student accused of sexual assault or a faculty member or other “member of the campus community” accused of sexual harassment.

  • Use of the Preponderance of the Evidence Standard to Discipline or Expel a Student
  • Denial of Due Process Such as the Right to Cross Examine the Accuser
  • Granting the Accuser Appellate Rights When the Process Determines No Assault/Violation Occurred

At issue for universities was whether federal funding would be jeopardized because of violations of Title IX if the University was deemed to fail to pursue allegations of campus sexual assault “aggressively enough.” Attorney Mike Nichols of East Lansing has handled many such cases and thinks the question now is what will happen at Michigan’s largest university, Michigan State University, in terms of implementing changes that result from withdrawal of the previous guidance. Nichols can be reached at 517 432 9000 or

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.